Eight years ago I was driving down the Haupstrasse in Stuttgart, Germany when I heard an announcement on the Armed Forces Network (AFN) radio station. I was so excited by the program that was advertised that I double parked outside my house (angering my German neighbors in the process) so that I could run inside and google it. Sadly, I found out that I was too late to apply for that year’s application. But It didn’t matter because this one moment of revelation was the spark that caused a radical life change that took me 8 years to accomplish.
And here I am in the middle of doing that thing that I dreamt and prayed for so long ago. The thing that in all reality I had to fight to do, and do you want to know the truth? It’s not quite what I expected.
At this exact moment, I am three weeks into grad-like school and already tired of it. I have no idea what my purpose is for being here or why this couldn’t have been accomplished through some other — read: more amenable to me –method. I am tired of speaking Spanish like a sixth grader and completely annoyed that I have so little time to myself to write and think. I am utterly frustrated by this part of my dream. In fact, I’d like to fast forward this whole year and get to the good stuff already.
Which was the entire point of this post. I was just going to rant and complain about how “living one’s dreams” isn’t all it’s cracked to be. But then I remembered this quote by C.S. Lewis which I referenced in my very first blog post written in the midst — in the trenches — of trying to achieve this particular dream:
This is what I wrote:
My actual real life? Not so razzle-dazzle. Somewhere in between my daydreams, I exist in a life that has very little luster and shine to it (trust me, you don’t want to see a picture of what I normally look like). A place where my very real day job has taken my actual life hostage and appears to be holding it indefinitely for an unspecified amount of ransom; a life where I have no shortage of tasks and little time for anything else. And each day there is something or someone that nicks and scrapes away at the faded and peeling remains of glitter barely attached to my daily life-a death by a 1000 paper cuts.
This is actually not a diatribe about my job (I actually kind of enjoy it and am grateful to have it). Nor is it an attempt to quit my job and in essence, escape to “follow my bliss.” But rather, in the gist of the C.S Lewis quote, this is an attempt to find my bliss exactly where I am today. To receive the Gift of Life (and all of the things that come with it!) that God sends daily. To make a mundane, ordinary life a bit more, well… sparkly.
This year and the one that preceded it (and by God’s grace all the ones that follow) are proof that having a vision and goals for your life is powerful and that dreams really *can* come true. This frustration –this annoyance — is only temporary and it’s an important and normal part of the process. This *is* my “real life” in all of it’s frozen pizza eating, Spanish mangling, man-avoiding, school exhausting complexity. This is my dream.
And it is not perfect and it is not always fun, but I am grateful for this dream that came to me while driving down the main street in my German town. I am grateful for this dream (even though at this very moment I am exhausted by it) because it is mine. Mostly, I am grateful for a faithful God who created me so distinctly. For a God who dreamt this dream for me long before I was able to dream it myself. And so, I will take my own advice and attempt to make this mundane, ordinary part of my dream a bit more sparkly.
Know that your dream might not turn out exactly how you imagined it, but it’s still worth dreaming.