August 21, 2009… “When you were born, just as with your siblings, I promised myself that I would let you fly free when the time was right… and here we are as you take flight to the next adventure in your life to lead you to your desired destination. May you keep your goals before you and travel this road toward independence knowing we’re still here” (Kathy Worsdale).
Before I address this quote, I would like to give a quick shout out to my father who will be celebrating his birthday today. Happy birthday, dad! I miss you and hope you have a great day!
Now to the piece of resistance. For those of you who do not know, the quote above was written to me on a card when I went to college four years ago. This card was given to me by Kathy, who is otherwise known as my wonderful, loving mother. The card has traveled with me from the East Coast to the West Coast for countless miles, and this year it has decided to make the trip again. Family is something I value tremendously, and I love every minute I get to spend with them. Being far away from home and family is scary, and often I find myself questioning why I do it. But with the distance and time, I have come to learn that there is family out there I have not even met yet.
People are probably wondering what I mean by that statement. Your family can’t be that big right? Well I do come from a family where there are a lot of people, but the kin I think of now is completely different. A major component of the Lasallian Volunteers includes community living. Right now, our community is composed of four volunteers, two community directors, a teacher and of course our dog. Each of us brings a diverse background and different opinions to our environment. But the one thought we all have in common is that we are not just living in a house together. This is not a college dorm. Yes, we did choose to live in an intentional community. No, we are not crazy…well maybe just a little bit. But the one idea all of us share is that our community is a family.
Without embracing the distance, I would have never found my new family. At first, I was afraid. To be completely honest, I always carry a little bit of fear. But my mom, dad and siblings always encourage me to keep going on adventures. Through the journeys of the past, I have found the true definition of family. They will be there whenever, always have your back and forever be in your heart. Looking at the new members of my family, my anxiety is dissipated. The community makes up another home that I have the pleasure to reside in. Life has a way of bringing people into your world that teach you what you need to know at the time. The individuals in my community continue to demonstrate that family comes in various ways and from many different places.
Before I part, there was one more thought I had when reflecting upon my experience as a LV thus far. Besides having a home away from home, I thought a lot about the unknowns associated with this program. It can be nerve-racking to be in new situations in general. The LV program is extremely demanding, and the year can be very unpredictable. But with the unfamiliar comes education and opportunity. For the next year, I will carry not only the words of my mother, but also Neil Gaiman:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever” (Neil Gaiman).
Katie Worsdale, 13-14, De La Salle North Catholic, Portland, OR