It’s a study of contrasts and it happened all in one evening. I was watching a video created by a Frederick A. Larson who told his story, shared his research and made his point. He was clearly very invested and enthusiastic about the material he was presenting and I got the feeling that it was a very deep and personal thing he had entered into by preparing the video. And as I watched the fruit of his labor, something in me got a little invigorated by seeing a man live his vision. It made me feel like I could catch a dream again, and live the life I want to live. I caught a sense of the possibilities of my own life in watching him live out the finer possibilities of his.
It wasn’t that much later that evening when I was listening in on a conversation about someone I know. They were talking about how he’s making a living, or I should say, how he’s making a killing. He was quickly becoming very prosperous doing something that I’ve done (a little differently, but the same idea) and something that I’ve considered doing professionally. And they were tossing around big price tags, a high risk investment that was turning a high yield. And it was only seconds later that I caught myself in a growing jealousy, thinking that I should get into that line of work again, I should apply myself and take those risks so that we could live with those financial results. I suddenly felt defined by my bank account, like I hadn’t been successful enough, like I really needed to get back out there and just work harder and harder… because what I’m doing isn’t enough, maybe it never will be… and perhaps *I AM* not enough. It was only a momentary flash, but it was the dark, burdensome ugliness of shame. Spare me.
It was a contrasting observation of two men living their lives, and a flash of feelings and emotions by way of reaction that caught me by surprise. Sometimes we do things just for the money, and most of the time that’s ok… as long as that doesn’t become our primary focus in life. There is one lesson that I’ve learned from my own life and from observation: As long as we do anything in a focused and intentional way, and the motive is just for the money, then there will never be enough. It’s only when we live in our divine purpose that we find that provision and contentment follows, and sometimes those things will be understood in light of the sacrifices required. And when it comes to focus and contentment, one thing is sure, it never comes from comparing ourselves to the other guy, ever. It comes with comparing ourselves today with the person we can potentially grow into if we are focused and intentional. There is time yet, I’ll find my grove.
So what is the nature of “destiny” and a “dream?” What do I want to do when I grow up? These are questions that have long been a part of my internal conversation. Maybe more so at the beginning of another fresh new year packed with potential and possibility like a clean canvas with lots of vibrant paint colors just waiting... Socrates said “An unexamined life is not worth living.” And since every human life is a gift of God and therefore worth living, the message of the quote lies in examining our lives and dreams in light of these gifts we’ve been given.
My life has been in a difficult limbo in recent years, I’ve walked away from some dreams, put some stuff on the back burner that should never have languished there. I thought it was the right thing to do but it led me to a dangerous place. And as I reconsider what it means to dream and consider opportunities and visions for my future… there is something in me that wants to really get it right this time. I don’t want to take on something that will always leave me feeling that the balance of my checking account somehow determines my worth. It’s not true and the more I work under that assumption the more it will hollow out the place where my heart once was. I’ve seen people I really care about live in that place and my heart has broken over the way they feel stuck, broken and defined by what they are not. It has a way of breaking a human spirit and heart. Lord, have mercy.
There was a season of my life and work that felt very alive and vibrant to me. There was something of destiny in my work, and I sensed the same thing in the speaker in the video. There were people who came to me who were clearly inspired by what I had done and was doing. There was something incredibly life giving and purpose-full in that time of my life. I’m sad that I’m not there, that I gave away a few years of my life. But I’ll find a way to go back there, if it kills me, and I’m no stranger to sacrifice. I think that as I go back to my roots, back to the basics of who I am and who I’m called to become… that I’ll find my path again. And it won’t be under some shadow of insecurity or keeping up with someone else, or the burdensome laborious process of doing something just for the money or for the shame of who I am not and will never be. I’ll be focusing on who I am rather than who I am not, and I’ll be doing what I love as an artist, because I was born to, and because it’s an expression of who God made me to be.
I haven’t made any resolutions this year, though I could think of a few that it would benefit me to make. Try to get some sleep now and then, get back in shape, read more... But all I really want at this point is to be like the guy in the video who was clearly living his destiny, he was an inspiration to me. And that’s the gift I want to give myself for Christmas in 2010. I want to be able to look back on this year and know that it counted for something, that I took myself and my destiny off the back burner and got back into the race. So my resolution this year is: “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize..." Philippians 3:13-14
Thanks for dropping by my blog, thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. I welcome your comments, as always. Do what it takes to live the dream, let me know how it's going.
Creating with love,