For example, Emma is at San Diego State studying journalism and media studies. “I’m not even sure I want to do that, but I had to pick something, so I wasn’t undecided.” Turns out Emma really just wanted to be at a school near the ocean. This isn’t because she is shallow or short sighted, but because she surfs, and loves the ocean. And when one is trying to figure out one’s life you just have to start where you feel the freest, right?
“How can you choose if I don’t know what I want?” Her question is so logical. Unfortunately, in her world, there’s so much pressure to have your entire life planned out. She is right to suggest that “we should have to do a bunch of different internships so we can so we can find our passion and what we love.”
Other than surfing and the beach, Emma loves to paint. In fact, she showed me a colorful fish she painted today. I was impressed. She also thinks it would be cool to do a podcast. And write a book. These are genuine dreams. Real passions.
I’ll admit, there was a part of me that wanted to shepherd her, give her advice or help point her in the “right” direction. But instead of trying to be a parent to her, I decided to just ask a bunch of random questions to help Emma see herself, and the world, from a different perspective.
Here are some fun facts about Emma that I think help to give her young story some color and texture:
ME: If you could be any animal what would it be?
Emma: An animal in the water but nothing that can easily get killed. So I guess a dolphin. I also like giraffes, I just don’t want to be one.
ME: If you could ask a giraffe a question what would you ask?
Emma: I have no idea. But I do think animals hate humans.
ME: What was your favorite Halloween costume?
Emma: When I was 12 I dressed up like a chef, with this fake mustache and checkered pants. I put flour on my face. But I just really wanted to wear a fake mustache, so I went as a chef.
ME: What did you eat for breakfast?
Emma: Avocado toast and coffee. It was after I worked out. I did like 40 minutes of aerobic and thought that was enough. So I had breakfast.
ME: Who taught you how to drive?
Emma: My Uncle Joe. I was like 13. It was in his pickup truck.
ME: Have you ever shot a crossbow?
Emma: Like a bow and arrow?
ME: No, like a crossbow.
Emma: Um, then no.
Emma is from a town outside Hartford, CT. She is the second of four kids in her family. Her parents divorced right before she started high school. She learned how to surf that following summer, at the beach in Rhode Island. Her favorite color is blue, “Like the ocean.”
She may not know what she wants to be but she is leaving herself open to find it. And finds a way to do it. When she moved to California she left her old surfboard behind and bought a new “used” one. “It’s not perfect. It has a lot of dings.”
Isn’t that life? We keep moving forward, one wave at a time. Each one will be different and new. Each wave is just a new adventure awaiting. We are not perfect. We all have some dings. But let's not forget each one tells a story about where we've been and what we did. Emma is paddling out to find hers in the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, she was smart enough to pack a wetsuit.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”