Whether or not it was meant to be, the application process is quite a time of truly defining who you are. Lately I've been struggling with a way to adequately describe to people who I am - my interests, my motivations, my passion. There are so many different ways I can try to frame it, but when it comes down to it, there's really only one explanation: I've given my life to God. You may laugh at this, if you don't know me very well, but it's true. It's the only thing that fully describes why I work so hard at what I do and why I love it so much. God blessed me in so many ways, and he made me somewhat intelligent, and so what else could I do but give my life over to God? It makes so much sense...everything I learn, everything I see in life, can be described through faith. But it just so happens that at some point along the way, "career development counselors" told me to leave religiously-affiliated "stuff" off my resume. And it also just so happens that I began to grow a faith that was more spiritual than bound by the narrow-mindedness of the church. And for these reasons, most of the time, I really don't talk about my faith. "Preach the Gospel at all times...if necessary, use words" was the maxim ingrained in me by the Franciscans. But upon reading my friend David's blogpost, and upon reaching this point in my life where I'm on a quest to make sense of my life for people who can't see inside my mind, this is the only logical explanation I can come up with. Public health teaches me there are disparities in this world. Terrible inequities. That the only way to truly make change is by paying attention to grassroots, bottom-up approaches (in addition to influencing policy through top-down approaches, of course). Through honesty. And dialogue. And integrity. And then, Shane Claiborne preaches of being an "ordinary radical" (keep in mind the root of "radical" means root...no pun intended...ha). Of loving our neighbors. Of having this passion, this fire, that cannot be quenched:
"There is a movement bubbling up that goes beyond cynicism and celebrates a new way of living, a generation that stops complaining about the church it sees and becomes the church it dreams of. And this little revolution is irresistible. It is a contagious revolution that dances, laughs, and loves." ~Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution
Every day I live and learn on this journey is a humbling experience. It makes me feel like my life is purposeful, and that makes me come alive. I am reminded every day of just how much parallel there is between the stuff that works in public health, and Shane Claiborne's irresistible revolution. So next time I'm about to go jogging with my professor on the streets of Puebla in the early hours of a chilly, Mexican morning (theoretically) and she asks me to explain myself, to explain the passion she sees in me, that's all I have to say - I've given my life to God. Screw the political correctness of it all.