This summer is one of transition for me. One day per week, I do what I love and what I’ve wanted to do since I was a small child.
The other four days? Not so much.
I feel like one of the Hungarian cowboys I saw last month. Each leg placed firmly on the back of a separate horse, I’m trying my best to keep the horses from snapping me in two.
Finally, I get a taste of living the dream that I’ve spent the last decade preparing for. I should be happy, right? Yet I end up more frustrated than before. How much can I really accomplish in one day when my pile of writing projects seems to grow by the minute?
A taste just isn’t enough. Not when it’s your lifelong dream.
I want more.
Shortly after I moved back to the States after ten years away, I returned to the place where my childhood dream was born. And I remembered.
That day I sat on a swing just like the one my Grandpop made me, on a rough plank of wood and holding onto rope handles. As I swung out over the Choptank River, I imagined myself doing that thirty years earlier, in the same spot.
I used to fill notebook after notebook with stories on that riverbank, and it was on my swing that I vowed to become a writer when I grew up. I wanted to give back something beautiful to the world in words. I remembered feeling certain that this was what I was born to do. Looking back, I think it was God’s voice calling to me from my river and giving approval to my dream.
When I returned to my river all those years later and remembered, I had to admit I hadn’t done anything to answer that nudge. I knew I hadn’t wasted my life; I had invested it in something significant, worth the deferment of my dream.
But I also knew it was time to make a change. Time to stop deferring and get on with it.
Since then, I’ve plodded towards my goal. Learning. Honing the craft. Writing. Being sharpened by other writers.
Now that I’m poised to start (soon!) to live my dream full-time, I’m filled with questions.
Have I been looking for something that just doesn’t exist? I know there is no ideal situation in life. Good and bad gets shaken together. Our task is to accept it all without losing our equilibrium and authenticity.
Is the dream even possible? Have you ever lived your dream? Or do you still wait for it to come true?
Maybe life is one long preparation for what you hope to do with it. You might catch hold of your dream for a second every so often, but it’s like grabbing a fish. It wriggles out of your grasp.
Sometimes the quest for that elusive dream blinds you so you don’t appreciate all the good things you do have. I know I’m guilty of that.
In the process of preparing for the dreams he gives you, God stretches you and uses you and points you in new directions. Better directions sometimes. You are introduced to new people. People who become so important to you, you can’t imagine life without them.
You find that all along, hidden even to yourself, you’ve been quietly living your dream. Unaware.
I’m not getting ready to start living my dream. Living is my dream. And I’m alive right now.
How do I stay upright on the back of the two horses? I do what I know to do. I do the next thing.
I keep plodding, aiming for the goal. As I go, I try not to miss the disguised blessings in what I have now.
The dream may be elusive, but it’s yours. You still gotta try!