Responsibility is not a bad word anymore.
When I was a teenager, responsibility was something to be avoided—a clear and present danger to wild, all-night parties, hanging out with friends and basic youth freedom—I couldn’t tell my parents EVERYTHING, could I? I needed to create “arenas of privacy.” I’LL DECIDE who knows what about me, what information flows are going in and out about my life, who’s a best friend, acquaintance or stranger; it was necessary to keep control! All embarrassment had to be lived down. All coolness had to be played up to the max!
However, the crunch came when I laid in bed one night when I was 26 and thought about the tendency of London Underground passengers to ignore passengers who fall down with a heart attack or get attacked by robbers, continuing to read their copies of the London Evening Standard and pretending nothing was happening. I was shocked and realized that my life in the big city, so important to me, was important to no one else. Nobody would miss me or even know I was gone if I died right then. Terrible!
I began to think that it would be really nice if some other human being could care about my life and dreams. At first, I thought I needed to get a male friend but a few days later, I decided that some of the issues I wanted to talk to him about were kind of personal—about relationships, sex and all that. I wouldn’t like a guy to know that stuff. I also would really like it if that person could hang around for a long time, possibly for the rest of my life. So, finally, after more than quarter of a century, my IQ of about 126 came to the conclusion that I wanted a relationship with a woman—a girlfriend!
I was also suffering from anxiety. I struggled with this until one day, I picked up the King James Bible 1611 from a bookshop on the Fulham Road. That was the start of my adventure in faith with God.
A few months later, I decided to return and purchase that Bible. I tried to read it but it was heavy-going at first. I intended to read it from cover to cover. I made great progress on Genesis and Exodus but then dramatically slowed down on Leviticus. So, I made a simple commitment—I would just focus on trying to keep sacred the Ten Commandments in my life—nothing else.
Most difficult, was trying not to tell lies. I usually just told “white lies,” but choosing to shut up or else live up to my promises was tough. However, I persevered.
After some months of this, I still had no idea where I was going, but I began to be able to look back at the path I had traveled and saw a pattern emerging. There was a general trend to becoming a good person, one that hadn’t been there before. Further, I knew that I had made no deliberate decision to carve out such a path. I decided to logically extrapolate this trend into the future and felt that it could lead to high levels of holiness and possibly heaven if I kept it up. So, I continued!
I began to ask God for instructions. At first, it was difficult to listen to my heart and figure out which message was the Holy Spirit and which was just me wanting to do what I wanted. However, I began to feel which one was correct. I then used the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes of Christ to guide my behavior and anything I wasn’t sure about, I submitted to the Holy Spirit. Using dichotomous key (“Do you want me to do this or that?”) I envisioned doing the thing I wanted to ask about. A light, happy feeling meant that it was the Will of God for me. A heavy, ominous, dark feeling meant it was not. I repeated this several times to make sure I got the same result. Sure enough, following all the happy, light feelings resulted in greater holiness and life improvement.
This led to the development of the supernatural virtue of Hope. Now I could have a reasonable expectation of eternal life if I kept up this practice. It occurred to me that I should submit all my future plans to Him. This led to my leaving London and gaining a position on a cruise ship sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida. During my single days, I kept up my practice. There were times when I felt concerned about some of the stuff God was showing me. Some crew members smoked and drank. A Social Hostess had previously worked as a pole dancer, prostitute and porn star. One bisexual woman had had sex with three men in one night. In my travels, I met pot smokers, drug addicts, former Colombian bounty hunters, tramps and down-and-outs; plus I was homeless for two nights in Australia. However, I never did any of the things the other people did. I was still a virgin and just turned up to the parties I was invited to. I met gays and lesbians and all kinds of people.
Later, I ended up in Vietnam, where I met my wife. We got married in the Catholic Church and were virgins on our wedding day. We had a baby boy the next year and I became a high school teacher for Vietnamese teens.
I loved my job taking care of my students and felt very happy. However, in 2012, some of them began to develop antisocial behaviors. They started smoking shisha, then tobacco. Next came alcohol consumption, underage sex and teen pregnancy. Two students were murdered and some of my teens started to identify, as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Now one former Grade 12 student has chosen to become a prostitute and uploads sexy videos to porn sites. I was surprised to find my previous experience in my 20’s had been ideal for taking care of them and giving appropriate advice. Other teachers with less life experience felt intimidated by some of the students’ behavior and didn’t want to get involved.
Now, I am planning to set up an after-school activity centre focused on giving them the skills and attitudes to find success in life and to make their dreams come true.
It’s a big responsibility, but I’m not scared of that any more. I have great faith everything that has happened to me has purpose in God’s plan. I feel delighted at how things have turned out and I am excited about the future.
So, don’t be afraid of getting older or facing responsibility. Understand everything that has happened to you can help others. Have a strong belief that even the most negative things can create character and give meaning and hope to other people who need it. Safe in this regard, we can then move forward in confidence to face the future.
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