35 Replies to “walk your own path”

  1. Thankfully both my kids did and I’m now struggling to keep up with them. I sometimes wonder if I’d have ever moved away from a narrow evangelical faith without them.

  2. Yes!

    Make it up as you go along. Who knows what you’ll end up with. Chances are it’ll look nothing like Biblical faith.

    But hey…be your own person and have a ball.

  3. I like this David…very much.

    I have indeed walked away from the legalistic fundamental version of religion. But in doing so I have found that I am closer to the true Jesus than was ever possible in that environment. Yes scripture does introduce us to Jesus and teaches us many things about Him. Especially the thing that mattered most to Him…LOVE.

    My parents faith is love hungry. It is like a starving child given just enough to eat to barely keep it alive. Yes there is life there…but it is set in the midst of terrible suffering. I love my parents…but when I walked away from their faith I walked into the loving embrace of my Lord.

    “Make it up as I go along”? What gets me the most Steve, is that I really don’t think you understand the arrogance within you to make such a statement.

  4. Is it just a coincidence that after he tells his parents the news, the gray is gone? Maybe the burden he was carrying was how to tell them the news and now that he’s done that, he’s relieved. Sometimes, we don’t know the undue burdens we put on others.

  5. I choose to interpret the cartoon thusly: The path the child finds is parallel to Bennie Hinn’s. His parents are so overwhelmed that they are instantly slain in the spirit.

    My socks are officially blessed off. Where can I send my seed gift offering? :p

  6. @Steve:

    Is there only one way to arrive that the same conclusions?

    And who says the parents have anything close to what you would consider a “Biblical faith”?

    All we know if that the kid is refusing to believe something just because his parents do. All David put in his comment is not to conform for the sake of conformity.

    The fact that you automatically equalted that with walking away from “right” towards “wrong” only speaks volumes about your attitude towards authority.

    Why do you believe what you do? Only because you were told to? Would you want the fact that you believe something to be the sole basis for someone else’s beliefs?

  7. @Steve Martin: Exactly! I always used to associate “walk your own path” with “make it up as you go”. Now your comment makes me see that “make it up as you go” is just another path choice.
    I’m with Steve – I don’t think that is the right path.
    I’m with David – we all end up picking a path. I’m going to make sure it isn’t just because I’ve inherited it.

    PS – I like how the shadow falls on the child in the first frame. Or is he just a shade of grey?

  8. The picture speaks to me of the healthy beginnings of spiritual maturity – moving away from the ‘apron strings’ of our parents’ faith and starting on our own. A pity about the oldies response. Was it Muggeridge who said that it took a man (or woman of course) until about the age of thirty to work out his faith? Or maybe it was CS Lewis.

  9. And who says the parents have anything close to what you would consider a “Biblical faith”?

    All we know if that the kid is refusing to believe something just because his parents do. All David put in his comment is not to conform for the sake of conformity.

    Christine, perhaps David could have made it more open-ended by having a couple covered in tattoos and earrings, or simply wearing jeans, etc. Or perhaps it could have been a same sex couple etc.

  10. Spiritual Path, Sexual Preferences, Race of your new Partner, Political Path, or Diet Choice.

    They can all knock parents off their feet!!

    I am waiting for it to happen to me. (my kids are still young)

  11. Or also disturbing, Sabio, they can go off and die in a thousand different ways.

    Everyone might consider winter driving lessons for their adolescents, especially in climates as we have here in Canada.

  12. @Brigitte…

    Your comment to Christine, about David’s cartoon, in fact would not make it more open, it would make it more narrow. By not giving more context, the cartoon can be understood from a number of different perspectives.

    What someone wears, or their sexual orientation, really has nothing to do with it… what is being commented on is when a child grows into their own autonomy of finding out what their own beliefs and understandings are, seperate from just mimicing their parents. And, how parents can find this shocking.

    As well, I’ll leave it to Sabio if he has any personal response to your remark, but I found it distressing in a general way. The majority of parents I know are concerned about their child’s well being and safety. When I see a parent remark in a light hearted way about the coming challenges a child will bring, I find it chilling that you immediately remind him that they may not grow to that point. I don’t have children, and I am still aware of the fragility of life when it comes not only to my neices and nephews, but to children in general.

    Winter driving lesson suggestions need not be tied into reminders that your child can die a thousand different ways, nor does it make a lot of sense to suggest it not just at the end of winter, but literally at the very first days of spring, and a record-breakingly hot spring at that.

    Maybe I’m oversensitive because I woke up to a phone ringing at 4am last night. It was a wrong number, but my first thought coming out of a sound sleep, was fear that something had happened to my mother, who is in her eighties, followed quickly and more fearfully, that something had happened to one of my neices or nephews. I’ve had a nephew almost die on my twice (bends from a diving accident, hit while biking by an extremely drunk mini van driver).

    Besides that, I know people that have lost a child. It is something one doesn’t ever get over, and it is one of the top fears of most parents. I don’t think any of us need reminders of how easy it is for them to die, or the many ways they can. Besides all the usual things, we only need watch the nightly news to see that kids are killing themselves at younger ages, and that getting gunned down for no reason by people that are supposed to help keep you safe, can happen even in upscale neighborhoods. We are lucky to live in a country where our children aren’t dying as casualities of war, as civilians and as child soldiers themselves.

    Do you really think any of us don’t know that there are a thousand different ways, and that it is disturbing? We don’t need reminders, and I find it upsetting that you’d bring it up when someone has shared light heartedly about the future they see having with their children.

  13. Nancy you probably don’t know that I lost my 18 year old son in a car accident. He was the passenger on a day when it was -40 degrees on icy roads. I think winter driving lessons need to be promoted. These are facts of life. The death rate on Alberta country roads is very high.

    What I find kind of astounding around here, at times, is the name and adjective calling that happens at the drop of a hat all the while protesting the actual or supposed insensitivities inflicted by others.

    If you had flicked over to my blog briefly, you could have known this about me before chastising me.

  14. Steve – judge much?

    I don’t see anything about “making it up as you go along” here:

    “The pressure to conform starts at home. So it is at home where you must decide to discover and walk your own path.

    It may be met with confusion, fear and sometimes even anger.

    Nevertheless, you must walk it.”

    I do, however, see encouragement to not take the path of conformity for the sake of conformity – even when it’s the easy thing to do, at least in the short term.

    This is where I’d say that a quote from someone whose words you may be familiar with applies:

    “What does it profit a man if he gains the world but forfeits his soul?”

    Indeed – what profit is there in giving in to “peer pressure” or other social or family pressure to conform to expectations regardless of how much easier it may be on the surface if, in that process, you lie to yourself and therefore to your God about things that are truly important? Don’t confuse this with defending the following of shallow or selfish short-sighted whims – that’s not what is meant in this context.

    It appears that you like to throw out knee-jerk commentary to make some kind of righteous point. That may or may not be your intention, but it sure reads that way.

  15. Brigitte, you also have my sympathies.

    As I read Nancy’s comment, I remembered about your son. (Before that, your comment had seemed as strange and out of place to me as anyone.) She didn’t know; she had no context. It happens to all of us. I think you can tell by Nancy’s comment that she’s in a different place – not grief, but fear. It is a sensitive subject for her as well.

    But Nancy didn’t say anything about you personally. She didn’t call you any names. She told you how she felt about your comment. She said things about your comment and how it affected her. And she explained why and why she would be sensitive to the issue, particularly today. Not to say she wouldn’t have reacted differently had she known. She probably would have. But she wasn’t eager to insult you. You seemed eager to accuse her of it.

    I hear your grief, Bigitte. It sounds like everything in your life still everyday aches with the hole. And everything that is said about children and families and growing up – it all becomes entirely personal. Sabio’s kids growing up becomes about your son not. You want to talk about your family and – well, I only see the biases, not the hurt, not the need to simply talk about it.

    But we don’t know that about you at the start. We don’t understand what you want or what you are looking for. While passionate and emotional at times, the discussions here are debates as well, with lively give and take, with reasoned argument. People are eager to call each other on the out-of-place or strange-seeming. And most of us like it that way – both calling others on it and being called on it ourselves. It’s why we’re here.

    If you just need or want to talk, a blog can be a bad place. But if you do want to try it here, just say so first. People here can also be very compassionate if you give them a chance.

  16. Part of me is leaving an open question: what is worse? What do we really fear? What should we really fear? What would really bowl us over as parents? What are the things that matter, in what order?

    In small town, rural Canada, the young people once they get their hands on a driver’s licence, pile into cheap old cars, and head for whatever excitement they feel they have been deprived of all these growing up years. The choices are often not good along with the transportation methods, which can combine to a sudden tragedy quite easily–and regularly does. Spiritual issues, growing up issues, freedom issues, transportation issues all combine. My father called it the “dangerous years.”

    What do we do with these fears? What do we do with any of them? — I could not sleep at night till everyone was home safe. I prayed my little heart out and still we had a tragic accident. I took my concerns to the people in the neighborhood and the parents of friends, but I was just a staid, worried, conservative worry-wart, whose phone calls did not even require returning.

    Anyhow, there are people in Canada advocating more in-depth driver training, including during winter months. The young man who drove when both Stefan and he were T-boned with a water truck was in his first winter season of driving. Going off the brakes and steering into the ditch might have saved them. Hence, advocating for better driver training is something we can do.

  17. It can be so much harder to lose someone when it seems preventible. In general, it’s the “what if only…”s that tend to haunt us. And how do we let ourselves do or feel anything else when there are so many potentially preventable tragedies still out there? It can overwhelm are ability to enjoy or appreciate what’s left, or to let ourselves rest from the crusade of “never again”. I’m no better at understanding or dealing with death and suffering.

    I’ve seen people have such varied reactions to even very similar tradegies. Those who continue on, sad, but with almost a heart-breakingly touching grief that is thankful simply for the time that was had, and appreciates their own mourning almost, as a testimony to love. I’ve seen others become shadows of themselves for years, seeming never to recover from abject grief, soul-sucking misery. And I’ve heard of still others, a common story, where anger and determination masks, or at least distracts from grief, the need to do something, change it, fix it.

    The closest I’ve come to understanding that the relative suddeness and a person’s state of mind before a tragedy could be contributing factors. For the first cause, I saw an acceptance of the inevitable, a long(er) period to process what was coming. For the second, some warning, some time, but a complete denial of the inevitable, believing for a miracle to the tragic end. For the last, sudden, no warning, except the regular ever-present dangers we all face, or, more accurately that we avoid facing. But, I’m not an expert. My sample group is small, so it’s an observation to be taken with a few heaping helpings of salt.

  18. I remember well my own father teaching me to drive. He believed in the destructive powers of cold Canadian winters, but also in the freedom and independence of driving. He wanted his daughter safe, but he didn’t want her facing the dependence on others that women, who used to be less likely to learn to drive at all, often faced.

    He took me to get my permit the first day I could. He was more eager than I was (and I was excited). It was mid-winter, snow and ice. That same day I was practicing in a vacant lot, with ice patches… while he bounced a rubber ball off the dash singing sea shanties. He wanted me to learn to deal with distraction. As soon as I could stop and go, he told me to get out on the road (one of the busiest and fastest in our city), and through the most accident-prone intersection at the time – and kept singing, pretending like he was watching what I was doing (but of course I knew he was).

    I went to defensive driver training besides, which was only moderately helpful, but it’s mostly that first day I remember, facing my own fears and axieties about ice and speed on the open road. I had someone demonstrate such complete faith in me, knowingly trust my ability completely.

    Friends were not always so lucky. Parents who weren’t as involved. Many who became more anxious, less confident drivers, who had accidents and many more close calls. Some of which I was there for. But there was little I could do.

  19. Your welcome, Brigitte.

    Few other things seem to matter in the face of grief and loss. We learn to put away our differences and conflicts and simply “be” for each other. “Spiritual Path, Sexual Preferences, Race of your new Partner, Political Path, or Diet Choice” suddenly pale in comparison. They seem impotent to move us in the face of our obvious mortality.

    It is that reminder of mortality that should move us to always strive to put aside our differences, embrace our common humanity as “fellow travellers to the grave”. It should help us seize each moment and live in the now.

    But instead, it can be paralyzing. Building lives we may not live. Starting things we may never finish. Investing in futures that may never come. Loving people only to perhaps leave them behind.

    But if we do not do these things, take the leap, our old age will come with the regret of being too afraid to ever live.

  20. In case you can tell, I lost someone myself about six months ago. Not a child, not like what you’re going through. But a closer, more sudden loss than I’ve felt before. The first close to me in so long and as an adult, when I was old enough to have it make me face my own mortality. I’ve thought more on grief and death this past while than I may have in all my life before. It changes you.

  21. As unpleasant as it is, at some point, sooner or later, our “spiritual path”, our own lives and our communal lives meet our mortality.

  22. Brigitte… I offer my sincere condolences.

    It was not my intent to attack you as a person, but more of a perplexed and angry disbelief that you would (to my mind and understanding at the time) toss out a statement so lightly.

    In fact, it was just the opposite, it was that the seriousness is always there, there is no ‘light-hearted joy ride in a car’ youthful moments, because that is not the reality.

    I can understand only on one level, in that I am often overcome by sadness by much of what happens in the world, and that other people often seem immune to. That said, I can be as crass and oblivious and mindless as the next person at times. I’m nothing if not contradictory in nature.

    You might be suprised to know that I had actually written more, but as long as my posts are, they are usually cut down some from the original. I had actually gone on more about the idea of winter driving lessons being a good idea, and that I didn’t even know they existed, and that not only kids, but adults, should take them. I used to use all-season tires on my car, til I actually saw demonstrations of stopping distances with winter tires vs all-eeason…from that time forward I changed between all-season/sumer tires to winter tires every year.

    Life is capricious. I have been lucky than most, in most things. That said, no one usually gets to live very long without racking up some horrofic events along the way, of one kind or another.

    I’ve often taken refuge in an old Russian tale, about the village where everyone complained about their troubles all the time, and complained about those that seemed to have it easier than they. An old womam visited the town and gave everyone a cloth bag. She told them to speak their troubles into the bag, and then before bed, hang it on the fence in the village square. In the morning, they were to get up, and go take a bag that had been left there by someone else. In the morning everyone rushed out, but it was not that they were eager to find out what their new troubles were, but to get their own bag back, for fear that they’d pick something worse.

    The story is double-sided, the majority of us fall in the middle with more troubles than some, and less than others. We do not necessarily want to gamble to have less, only to recieve more. It also speaks to us sticking with what is familiar, even when given a chance to change.

    I find it difficult dealing with depression when I have had what I would call truly horrorific events in my life. I sometimes would rather lose a leg, than have to deal with the mental health issues that make no sense.

    I can’t not only understand losing a child, I can’t even comprehend what it must be like to be a parent. I have never felt ‘less a woman’ for not having any, but, I sometimes feel … incomplete… as a person. I feel like I never grew up in some ways. I would have worded things very differently if I had known of your lose. At the same time, there was no expectation that I should have known. I have, from time to time, looked at other people’s blogs, and had only looked at yours for the first time a few weeks ago. However, I had only read a bit when I followed a link to one of your commenters, and hadn’t yet read about your loss. I’m like that at times, with people’s blogs, reading a bit here and there, and with some people eventually reading more. I only recently backtracked to read some of David’s Ztheory posts, and only a few of those so far.

    I also know that I have issues about blogging/commenting… that there are times I am working out my own issues, or acting out because of my own issues, that may have nothing at heart to do with the posted blog or the other people commenting. It’s somethig I’m aware of and still struggling to understand and address.

    I don’t know how much of this has made any sense to you, and my only real concern is for you to know that I truly did not mean to be insulting to you, and that I am saddened to know that you have to live with the loss of a child. As I said in my post, I know of people who have lost a child, and regardless of the different ways it has been processed or dealt with, it is never something you are ‘over’.

    You may find it odd that a non-believer would have it come to mind to end with ‘Peace in Christ’ and all I can tell you, is that it seems the right thing to say, and represents the best of everything Christianity had, and has, meant to me. And so I end with,

    may you have Peace in Christ.

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