Last weekend, on my way home from a wedding, I sat in my car and reflected on the day. I spent most of the afternoon hanging out with a great friend and learning so much…in addition to doing what I love: taking pictures. I don’t know if it was the melodic tunes of The Fray lightly permeating the car speakers, the moon shining down through my sunroof, or just the time spent thinking about my station in life, but I completely caught up with emotion. I was so moved with appreciation I picked up my cell phone and called my father.
It was 11:30 pm, but I knew he’d be awake. Reading a historical biography, watching the Food Network, or making a late-night snack was what he’d be doing at that hour.
Hi Papi…I know it’s late…
Don’t worry about it. Is everything okay?
Yes…um…I guess…I guess I just wanted to call and let you know I’m happy. I’m really, really happy.
While I grew up, my father did everything—and anything—to make ends meet. Money was always scarce and it was normal to have government peanut butter and butter in our kitchen. We were financially constrained, but our family was happy. During the holidays, my father would work three jobs to ensure there were a few gifts under the tree. At a young age, I asked why he was tired and worked so hard and he replied, I do this so you don’t have to. He took me by the shoulders and looked me in my eyes and said, Jasmine, I do all of this so you don’t ever have to take a job you don’t love…I work hard to make sure you never have to ‘work’ a day in your life. Never do something you don’t want to do.
When I called him last week, I wanted him to know it was worth it. All his dreams are coming into fruition. I truly love what I do.
This afternoon, many years after my father’s three-job days, my church celebrated its 15 year anniversary. My father (who also happens to also be my pastor) hosted a celebration to commemorate its amazing growth. It’s now one of the largest churches in Southern California and a beacon of light in East Los Angeles. It is truly amazing to see how far God has brought our family! Today, as my father was thanking the congregation for their devotion and faith, he turned to his family as we sat in the front row and said, I want to thank my family…I’m nothing without them. They help me love what God has called me to do.
Life has come full circle. My father and I are both doing what we love and feel extraordinarily blessed. And knowing how much we love what we do, I’m happy to know we may never have to ‘work’ another day in our lives.