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I’ve been noticing some hesitancy on my part as I’m blessed with amazing opportunities that bring me closer to my goals of meaningful employment and coming back to France. Yet somehow, I find ways to hold myself back and don’t act immediately.  There’s something to be said for reflection, taking one’s time, and being committed to the course.  However, I think I might be experiencing a bit of fear of success, or guilt.

All over the world, people are starving, women half my age are suffering in sexual slavery, patriots are imprisoned when they speak out for freedom, and soldiers die in Iraq and Afghanistan, for my freedom (arguably) and for the United States (unquestionably).  Here in the United States, people suffer in much the same ways they do in “third world” countries.  And closer to home, I see people with very similar economic situations, but less supportive families. I know there are people who can’t find a co-signer on a Stafford loan or a way to scare up the money to enroll in community college without working 40 hours a week on top of being a student. I know people with all the resources and love in the world, but with limbs that don’t work.

In this world that is crying for justice, for peace, for compassion, sometimes it makes me feel guilty and vain to want to be happy. Though my sadness or settling for less won’t help anyone in real need, it might alleviate the burden on people who just never went for their dreams, or maybe didn’t have the support. It might make me see people not just as victims of circumstances, but masters of their fates, and that will change my relationships and the way I see people. There are people who say they just don’t have the drive. Of all my resources, I’d have to say that is the one that has made the difference, that has put me where I want to be.

I must believe, I must act, I mus tcreate a life  where yes, I am worthy of all the good things God chooses to send my way. Even if I didn’t do it all by myself. Even if I just got lucky some places along the way. Even if I didn’t “earn” though blood sweat and tears all of my natural gifts. It’s easy to forget the work I put in along the way when I see others struggling, and the moments of personal strength I’ve had to show when times didn’t seem quite so good, though I am exceptionally blessed with a great family and coming from this country.

did I try hard enough? Do I really deserve it?

No.

Some things come from the grace of God, not from personal merit.  I suppose it is possibile to try and try and try and not get what you want. maybe you just weren’t meant to have it. Maybe God was saving you for better things.

Life is very complicated. I can’t explain why men are born equal and don’t remain so. It grieves my heart every day to see the imbalances and the tilt of the playing field in the land of opportunity.  I know how my life would have been different if I had lived a few towns over, and I know how blessed I am to have two great parents who love each other and a wonderful support system.

I guess I did something too though. Nobody ever forced me to study hard, nobody ever told me what to go for.

Sometimes I ask, why can’t my dream just make everybody happy in my life? All the people who love and sacrifice for me? As in, why did I have to go to France? Do I really have to go back just because I want to if a good opportunity comes? Shouldn’t I accept a little misery and put someone else first and just get used to it? Isn’t it a childish fancy, shouldn’t I be happy with anywhere, shouldn’t I just be grateful for what I have and stop reaching for me? Just be happy to live in a rich country and be middle class and do something acceptable. Why do i have to be differnent? Why can’t I want the same thing as everyone else, and why do I deserve it?

I guess it comes down to this.  I “deserve” to do the work of God, and to live as a child of God. I’m pretty sure God loves us and wants us to be happy. Even if we don’t think of God in such a anthromorphic way, even if He/She/The One is beyond our imagination, doesn’t beauty, doesn’t goodness point to something greater and benevolent? It is so hard.

I can’t solve the problem of evil by failing to achieve my goals, but I can be a good person. Does my dream itself count as “good’? Can it possibly redeem me for all the manifold privileges of my existence, that I did nothing in this life to deserve?

Is happiness good in itself, deep, satisfying, meaningful, personal happiness? Am I not doing a dishonor to those in chains by not making the most of my freedom? Am I not slighting their human agency by even thinking that way.

I do feel guilt about privilege. in the world I’d like to bring about, everyone would live with the advantages I’ve had and more. i do want my career to be about helping others and correcting the imbalances in the force as much as one mere mortal can do. But even so, does everyone have to go work at a non profit in order to assuage guilt? Will thst save the world, and moust saving the world be our only duty? How about the joy of hearing French foll of your tongue, and the light in youer eyes when you put two interesting ideas togther. How about just joy being an end in itslef?

I know  a lot of people, young women especilly, who have similar feelings and similar career goals. But i don’t think making this guilt center stage and the shame it engenders the ringmaster a service to the world.  I hate to say the greatest service to the world is realizing one’s own dreams but I don’t think it’s so far from the truth either. As long as the methods are good and you spread some good around while you are doing it, and after.

I rhink sometimes, maybe I’m just lazy. Maybe it’s all my own fault.

But nobody’s perfect either.

I don’t know the answer to all these questions yet, but I know that sometimes you have to do the step that’s right in front of you, and trust God.

When does freedom come, from the struggle within? It depends, you are the guard, the prison, and the prisoner, but stop being the judge. Stop comparing.  Be the person God called you to be, not a miserable person in the name of being nice.

Be conscious of others, but attend to the self?

be grateful, kind, accepting, perservering?

Trust God, and live into the questions.

Love,

MJ

 

 

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