I am a simple man. I like my music loud, my drinks cold and my tea sweet. I never aspired for anything, so when I decided to give a year of my life to share with people my faith as well as travel it was a huge shock to family as well as my friends and myself.
Growing up, I was moderately Catholic, I went to church with my family when it was convenient and I received my sacraments, but that was really all that I did. Again, I didn’t aspire to do anything, and I really didn’t want anything from life except just to “be.” My grades were high enough to pass, just above the failure line. I played sports and did theatre, but I was always “good enough,” and actually ended up quitting all of them eventually.
One day I was chatting with my best friend about college and what university he was going to, and I had said that I was perfectly content working at McDonald’s for the rest of my life. I HAD SAID THAT I WAS PERFECTLY CONTENT WITH WORKING AT MCDONALD’S FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Again, I am not hating on people that work at McDonald’s, I actually have close friends are managers and cashiers. Don’t believe me? Hit me up on Facebook and I’ll show you, but I digress. I told my best friend that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life, and he said he wasn’t going to let that happen and for me to actually go after what I wanted, but I didn’t want anything!
What could I do if all I wanted to just “be”? Him telling me that challenged my entire reality because he knew as well that he needed to LIVE to live his life and he was. Now, this took a year to actually sink into my head, so in this time I was wasting my first year of college. But when that reality kicked in, I knew I needed to do something. I just didn’t know what, so what did I do? I prayed. I actually got on my knees and said, “God, I don’t know what I am supposed to do with myself, but if you are real, and everything that I learned in religion class is true, and you do want the best for me, you’re gonna have to help me out here.”
Now, there was no voice that came from the sky, nor angels that materialized and comforted me, nor did God’s hand appear and point to where he wanted me to go. No, none of that, but I did get a sense of peace in knowing that I actually put forth effort into something, that I actually tried for once. The beautiful thing about God (that people joke about all the time, but is all too true) is that he answers prayers in HIS way. I wanted an immediate answer, but what He gave me was peace. Let me explain: I wanted something, and He wanted to give me something. Often, what we want is NOT what He wants to give, so when we stop trying to do things on our own, He gives us what He’s been trying to give all along. He gave me peace (instead of an immediate answer) in return for giving Him my question because He wanted me to know that no matter what I am going through I can find peace in Him.
With this newfound peace and “relationship” with God, I knew that I needed to make changes in my life. I knew that being “good enough” in anything was not good enough, but I knew that where I was in life there was no outlet for me to actually start trying to be better. I needed a change of scenery.
Now for me, what the change of scenery happened to be was voluntee
ring with NET Ministries. I left my home in Texas to travel the country (and later the world) because that was what I needed and what God knew would work with and in me. NET gave me an opportunity to have a clean slate, while still working on different things that I’ve struggled with in the past. I finally had goals. I had and still have things that I want to aspire to.
I love what I do, but I know very well that volunteering a year (four years for me now) of your life is a major commitment. Very few people can do it. Would I recommend it? Oh heck yea, in a heartbeat. Right now I’m talking to those that are in the position that I was in where I needed a change. I am talking to those that want to be better, and want to do better. Do it. If it means you need to leave where you are, do it. What do you have to lose? If you doing and being better means applying to NET then fantastic, and I am looking forward to hearing from you! All I am saying is if you need and want change then seek it out.
“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”
--Saint Gerard Majella