confession

MD means "My Daddy"

A long time ago…

I have a confession. I really, really, really wanted to lie to you in my last post.

I wanted to tell you my dad was a plumber. Or a roofer. Or a trash collector. Anything, anything but a doctor.

Why? you might ask. Are you ashamed of what your parents do?

Absolutely not. I am incredibly proud of both of my parents. My dad is known around town as one of the best docs in the area. Neither one of my parents came from money. They worked hard to get where they are. And they still work hard. My dad gets up between 4 and 5 a.m. and works 14 to 16 hours almost every day.

He has my entire life.

But I’ve always hated the connotation of being a “doctor’s kid.”

Doctor’s kids are assumed to be rich. Spoiled. Wasteful. Growing up, although I went to a small school where I was never teased for wearing glasses (I wear contacts now), the fact that I was a “doctor’s kid” did not escape me. I was “well off.” And everybody knew.

What people didn’t know, or cared to overlook, was the fact that nothing was ever handed to me or my brother on a platter. Because my parents worked to get to where they are, they taught me the value of hard work and going after your dreams. Sure I never had to worry about food, but I wasn’t spoon fed, either.

Having lived in Asia, I’ve come to see how lucky the vast majority of Americans are—at least when it comes to our standard of living. We have soft beds and air-conditioning and heating. We’re not worried about mosquitoes—we have screens to keep them out.

If I want to do anything with my life, it is to make the lives of others better. God has blessed me with loving parents and my health and a gift: the ability to write. As impractical as it may seem, or at least as unstable, I hope to use my gift for good. It is hard to support yourself as a “writer.” But I hope that, by writing, I can make something better for someone else.

This world is too big and too beautiful to let your heart break without trying to do something to help.

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11 thoughts on “confession

  1. Elyse says:

    You already are making lives better, more than you know. Most anyone who makes a difference follows the less common path. Keep on…

    “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    • Jessica says:

      I love that quote, Elyse. Thanks for commenting. It’s good to know I’m making a difference—even if it’s a small one. Somehow I don’t think I’ll ever follow the more common road. At least I haven’t in my life thus far…

  2. Heath Capps says:

    Amen. You should never feel guilty for where you were born. They worked hard, and God blessed them. No shame in that!

  3. Shannon says:

    I love this and will ask Carlen to read it!! He will appreciate and can relate to what you said!! Hugs :)

  4. dinkerson says:

    Never knew about that attitude. How strange, the hating bastards.
    Down with ‘em.
    Life, here in America, is largely what you make of it. Steph and I are not rich, but we do well because we understand money, and make the most of it.
    I never really give much thought to hating or pitying anybody else around me.
    I was a preachers kid, so I suppose I do understand something of preconceived notions.

    • Jessica says:

      You never knew? It’s pretty prevalent. But it’s true. Life is largely what you make of it. Some people come from rougher backgrounds than others, but your background is not something you can control or for which you should be blamed. Your attitude, on the other hand, is.

  5. Very funny as my dad is a librarian and I always envied the kids who could say their father was a doctor …

    Then he became a library director and is instrumental in bringing about more resources for freedom of speech in Hong Kong and China – and I am more proud of proclaiming his profession.

    Very true what you say about Asia. I have many times felt American Guilt as I sit in a four-star hotel in Asia and look across the street to the grass hut, outside bathroom, and a family of about 10 all sharing the same square footage of the air-conditioned and insect-free room where I sit alone.

    • Jessica says:

      Yes, yes, and yes. I know that feeling all too well. I talk about it in my post “success, or something like it,” as well…

      The thing about life is: no one gets to choose their station — at least not the one they’re born into. What we get to choose is what we do with it. How will we live? How will we treat others?… And those of us born into greater privilege have greater responsibility. I think we owe it to the world to look outside ourselves as much as possible. Maslow wasn’t crazy when he created that hierarchy…

      It is funny, though — how the grass is always greener on the other side. I never wanted to be perceived as a “rich kid” (as doctors’ kids often are), and for that reason I’m glad neither of my parents came from wealthy homes. They both worked hard to get to where they are and taught me those same values. Most people who meet me would never guess I once lived in a 6,000-square-foot home. (Which, incidentally, I never want to do again. Too much to take care of! I’d be happy in a hut, thank you. The less I own, the better.)

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