In his homily at the Class of 2005's Baccalaureate Mass, LMU's President Fr. Robert Lawton, S.J., said: ''So what is the answer to this deep insecurity we all feel? The answer, I think, is to embrace the adventure of becoming deeply, and fully, ourselves. This is what God is really calling us to. It seems like the riskiest of all journeys, this journey to be oneself. But it's ultimately the journey that leads us to happiness, that leads us into God's dreams for us.''
Why do you think Fr. Lawton says the ''journey to be oneself'' seems the riskiest of all journeys? What risks lie ahead in your college career as you embark on the ''adventure'' of discovering and becoming yourself?
I am no stranger to failure; my greatest failure lying in my personal deprecation. As a child with a different background than my fellow peers, I made blending in to be my specialty. It was not until latter years that I realized I was only fooling myself. Deteriorating the superficial façade I had worn for so many years was a painstakingly difficult risk, but this allowed me to embrace the beauty of my persona.
Insecurity dwells in distinctive forms among individuals; however, this insecurity is rooted to the same cause. As Fr. Robert Lawton states, our insecurities lie in the risk of being ourselves. There is always the conundrum of acceptance, and if we travel down one path, there lies the unknown variable of the life we may have pursued down another. Individuals are uniquely beautiful, each with their own ambitions; therefore, there is no correct answer in choosing a path to follow. This creates a fear of the unknown which is stressful for many individuals; it certainly is for me. Difficult as it may be, if one puts their trust in God and sets forth on the path they believe is best, all else will fall into place.
Throughout this journey we all partake, plans will be alternated, callings misread, and paths reformed for the better. I like to call such circumstances detours. There have been several detours in my life, and it would be a lie to say that I am now fully myself because of them. It would also be a lie to say they did not help. Being the shy, quiet girl in elementary school enveloped an emptiness which I had grown accustomed to. This was not the light I wanted to be viewed in, so I made a change for the better by turning off auto-pilot to become an active individual. This seemingly negligible event has always flashed before my eyes in light of all the decisions I have made thereafter, reminding me to be true to myself despite what others may think; helping me peel past my first layer.
As a high school senior, I am constantly exhorted with advice to focus on what careers are most lucrative in this economy, what majors will make me competitive for the job market, and which colleges will make me most successful. But success cannot be measured in the degree that we hold, or the paycheck that we receive; it is measured by the happiness in our heart. The individual veiled behind all the propagation and insecurity will be driven to success by listening to their own passion and achieving their own dreams.
Passion will drive me through my pre-dental route in college, the next step in my boundless journey to myself. With this next step comes great responsibility which harbors inevitable risk. Times will come where I will question if I am worthy of the task I have taken, but my past triumphs will keep me anchored and strong. Peeling past layers that are yet to be discovered may be intimidating, but ultimately it is exciting. Despite all other unknown variables I will face in my future, I will remember the risks that I have taken to be the individual I am today.