Why You Need a Lindsay

You need a Lindsay. And I’m going to tell you why.

The love of my sister Lindsay AMAZES me. She is one of the greatest gifts in my life. Do you know why? She gives me the most precious of things: unconditional love, and the complete freedom to be myself.

If you’re like me, you sometimes wonder if you’re really unconditionally loved. Yes, people love you: family, spouses, etc.  But let’s be honest. Do you ever feel like they only love you because it’s in their job description? Or perhaps you think they might love you NOW, but if they EVER discovered X, Y, and Z, they would turn and run as fast as they could. Or maybe you feel like if you stop living up to EXACTLY who and what they want you to be, then they will see how unworthy you are of love.

But that’s the thing about unconditional love. THERE ARE NO CLAUSES. There is no job description that they have to live up to. They might discover X, Y, and Z, or maybe they already know it—and it DOESN’T MATTER. And maybe you stop living up to who and what they think you should be, just to discover 1) They never thought that in the first place, and 2) They are just so glad that you’re being YOU that it doesn’t matter HOW you do it.

That’s the second part: freedom to be yourself. This is what I have learned from my sister Lindsay. ImageI can be the exact mess of a person I am, and she still somehow loves me. Not just loves me, but thinks I’m AWESOME. (No, I’m serious, she really does. No bribes or anything.) She thinks my silly words are brilliant and my lame jokes are hilarious. Some days I am depressed and moody and stressed. That’s ok with her. It’s just a good excuse to go get ice cream so we can eat it and talk, cry, or whatever. I can express my worst feelings and most terrible thoughts, and Lindsay listens and wants to hear more. That’s a GIFT, people. It’s hard to find.

But it CAN be found. So here’s your challenge: start looking for your Lindsays. You may not think you can find that love and freedom, but I believe you can. It may be someone you already know, but you simply haven’t realized it yet. Stop trying to fit into their “perception” of you and let them love your imperfections.

So risk some things. Be a little silly. Say something dumb. Let people see the real you…because very possibly, they will LOVE it. That’s what I’m learning from my sister.

I am praying you find your Lindsay, too. And then, be a Lindsay for someone else.

I’m a stuck-up American

Sigh. Yes, I admit it. I used to talk about “stuck-up Americans” and roll my eyes at them. How silly they were! Shallow, materialistic, thinking America was the best thing since sliced bread. Yup, I was go glad I wasn’t a stuck-up American.

I suppose I should explain that. You see, I didn’t grow up in America. We moved overseas when I was three years old, and I spent most of my life in Southeast Asia. Occasionally, my family and I would come home for a year or a few months in the summer. When I was seven, we were in Virginia for a year. When I was ten, we lived in Georgia for a semester. When I was 14, we were in Texas for a year. And then there were the various summers when we’d come home for a few months. But all in all, I was more Asian than anything.

And I was proud of that. I didn’t really like America. I really did think they were self-centered. I didn’t like going back for visits, except to see family and enjoy American food and malls for a while (although then I was ready to go back to rice and street-side stalls).  Granted, now I can understand that a lot of my distaste for America, especially at a young age, was that I didn’t like getting taken away from my “home” in Asia, and I had to blame it on something. So I chose to blame it on the whole country of America.

Then–either shortly before I came back to the States at 18, or perhaps once I had started going to college here–I came to realize something. My disdain for America and for the people that lived here…well, how stuck-up was that? The country that annoyed me was the very one that gave me the freedoms I took for granted. As much as I loved the countries I grew up in, I had to admit that no one there had quite the same freedoms that I did.

So yes, I finally had to admit it. I truly was a stuck-up American, because I was an American who didn’t even appreciate what my country gave me.

Thus, I would like to ask all the Americans I slandered to forgive me. I would like to apologize to my poor country that I made fun of. It doesn’t mean Asia’s not still a part of me. But having lived the last 6 years in America now (wow! has it really been that long?), I’m starting to realize this place isn’t as bad as I thought it was. I thank God for the freedoms He has given me, and today I specifically thank Him–and the men and women who have protected our country–for the freedom of being an American. And yes, even a stuck-up one.

Happy 4th of July.