We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rethinking the American Dream

By Kylie Noe
Junior Nursing Student, Loyola University Chicago

Visiting the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (Washington, DC) last year had a huge impact on my life and altered my sense of what it means to live the “American dream”. I was floored by the way Colleen, Art, and Kathy were living their lives and how radically different it was than what most would consider the “American Dream”. I think often times people (myself included) define the “American Dream” as getting married, having children, and being financially successful in our career of choice. I think I often associate these things with the “American Dream” because this is the atmosphere in which I was raised – my parents are happily married, I’ve lived in the suburbs my entire life, my parents have both been successful in their jobs, and I have never had to worry about whether I will have clothes to wear, food to eat, or a place to sleep at night. I have been undoubtedly sheltered my entire life. I like to refer to this as living in a “suburban bubble”. Experiences I have had, such as missions trips to South Dakota, Mexico, and Ghana, and visiting places such as Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and Jonah House (Baltimore), have allowed me to reach outside this “suburban bubble” and crave a “life uncommon”. I am still often seduced by this “American Dream” however, because it’s comfortable, familiar, and all I’ve ever really known. It’s easier to put my life in this context than to seek the uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and unknown.

I want to change my idea and the way I perceive the “American Dream”. I want to find the courage to seek my own “American Dream”, which could be radically different than the way I was raised or the way my parents define the “American Dream”. I want to satisfy what’s in my heart. I want to live with passion, courage, and love. I want to live my faith. I know I could find happiness in what’s comfortable and familiar – in living a life than is not drastically different than the one I’ve grown up in or that I am currently living, but I think I would have to spend a great deal of time ignoring the fact that “something is missing”, that I never really challenged myself, and what I fear the most: that I ignored the life that God was calling me to lead. So I continue to pray for courage, and for an open heart and mind. And out of frustration and desperation, I often ask God to make it abundantly clear what it is I am supposed to do. Again, I’m looking for a clear cut message that I fear (and know) will never come.

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