Texas is a hot but breezy state full of long-horned cattle and large-hatted cowboys. Bay City is as small a town as TX is big so it has the all-too familiar flavor of the small towns I’ve known.
I drove around the countryside with my sister-in-law yesterday chatting about the ups and downs of small-town life. She is about to graduate and therefore about to step out into that frightening and wonderful open space. Our trip was inspired by the digital SLR camera Drew surprised me with the day we arrived at his parents’ house in Texas. Jenny needed senior photos and I needed practice using the fancy SLR.
SLR camera’s are funny gadgets not too unlike …graduating. Let me explain. While I can take a beautiful photo using the camera’s handy, built-in, automatic settings, I can go a step beyond that and make a few decisions on my own: where should the aperture be set at? Where shall I set the ISO (light sensitivity)? How about the shutter speed?
Sometimes I feel like my post-high-school decisions were made a bit like automatic photography. I made the decisions that seemed standard for my age-group. These were not bad decisions, and they blessed me deeply, but I didn’t handle the components of my decisions personally. I decided to go to college, but didn’t think much about finances. My parents, bless their hearts, helped me figure out how to afford college but I never quite grasped the decision and handled it as my own responsibility. I wasn’t fully grateful of the help they were giving me.
Post-college decisions have been a bit more hands-on. They have played out like the awkward trial and error experimentation of a manual SLR camera.
Here in America we are so lucky to be cushioned in grace for our decisions. Especially growing up in the unconditionally loving family I was blessed with, I had the freedom to be fickle or the freedom to be careless. I had the freedom to learn how to save money and learn how to value a job over free time. My parents were forgiving, and the society around me is full of safety mats to accommodate my learning. What would it be like to live outside of this forgiving environment?
My sister in law and I had a lovely time. I am embarking on a journey and she is too. I pray her experience will be just as full of grace and encouragement as mine was, allowing for phases of auto-pilot and phases of trial and error as well.