Updated: Aug 30
By Caleb Brooks
“Are you actually vegan? How long during the school year are you away from your phone? Do you actually talk about God like He’s a person? I don’t think that I could be that good.” These were all questions and comments made by my co-worker this summer.
All of my life I’ve lived in a bubble. A sphere of influence. I’ve grown up knowing only the tiny conservative Seventh-day Adventist world. This summer was an eye-opening experience into the outside world. I had the opportunity to see what people actually looked like outside of a relationship with God. Because of the environment and culture I was in, I stood out.
While pulling weeds under the ever-shining Alaskan sun, my coworker and I talked about our schools. I explained how I attend a boarding academy which provides a vegan diet. Her thoughts of a normal school quickly changed to a weird, distant, and fanatical “vegan dorm-school!” Compared to a typical public school, the standards of my school and life were drastically different.
Our differences continued to perplex her until one day she finally asked me about some of them. “What's wrong with blue hair? Why can’t you wear shorts?” She asked me about my lifestyle, and what my school was like. She couldn’t believe that a school full of teenagers could survive in a “vegan-dorm-school,” without their phones, with only 30ish kids in the school, and not being able to dye their hair any color they want. I explained it isn’t those things that make me want to go to my school. It’s the relationship that I have with my best friend, Jesus, and the relationship that I have with all of my classmates that think the same way. She was relieved to hear that my school was a place where you develop your character, not some boring, rule bound,“vegan-dorm-school.”
In reality, she showed me an extraordinary truth. We don’t have to fret about following every single thing in the handbook, or complain about all the “hideous” rules. What we actually need to focus on is finding a relationship with Christ. I am not here to follow rules. I am here to follow Christ and find a personal relationship with Him. I don’t have to live in a bubble, cut off from the outside world. I just have to stay close to Jesus.