Last night my dad and I had dinner. We always get together once a month to catch up and enjoy eachother’s company. We compared our busy schedules, playing a cordial game of “whose fish is bigger” in the process. He works 12 hour days with an hour commute each way, so basically he won, but I still threw in that a lot of my spare time ends up going to my baby sister. She’s only five (almost six!) and we’re 17 years apart, so I’ve been more of a parent to her than a sibling.
Given the circumstances of how she came into the world, my father’s side of the family has always had concern that assisting my mother with my sister would eclipse or possibly even eliminate my chance at having my own life, a “normal” college experience, etc.
Without going into too much detail about the past, my parents have been divorced since I was two, it was an ugly divorce, and only in the last decade-ish have the two sides been able to show any genuine cordiality to one another. I was the only child, nearly the only grandchild, and much interest had always been shown in my life, upbringing and future.
So last night when the topic of my sister came up again, my dad reiterated what my grandfather had (a tad less politely) expressed around the time of her birth: that he wanted me to have my own life.
“You’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty with her. She’s not your responsibility.”
My dad, like my grandpa, means the best and only speaks out of concern for me, but sometimes I pity the way he views the world.
It’s true that she’s not my responsibility. I didn’t give birth to her. Neither is my mother my responsibility. I would be within my rights to go off and do my own thing. There’s no one I know, not even my mother, who would fault me if I did.
No one but myself.
I got to thinking, how does one even measure responsibility? After all the things my mother has gone through on my behalf, how can I decide when I’ve given enough of myself to even the scales? How can I determine when I’ve done enough for my defenseless sister? Does enough even exist? For all intents and purposes, they’re “widows and orphans” such as the Bible would require the Lord’s people to care for.
And what does it mean to have my own life? Aren’t I supposed to lay that down at the feet of Christ for Him to direct as He pleases? As of right now, He hasn’t opened any doors for me to go elsewhere, so I don’t see why I should even consider striking out until He does.
I explained to my dad as matter of factly as possible that what matters to me is my family, that all the people whom I admire the were those who put others in front of themselves, that building treasure in heaven was the goal, not treasure on Earth.
My last word on the matter was that if the worst thing people could find to say about my lifestyle was that I was going above and beyond for others (even though I certainly don’t think I’ve come close to that), then that was all right with me.
What are you living for?