I have some amazingly accomplished friends. Among the group from high school and college years are a teacher turned judge, a computer programmer turned clinical psychologist, a college professor, an executive for a large global corporation, plus quite a few Masters Degrees and PhD’s thrown in for good measure. I am immensely and perpetually proud of these women, who all came from blue collar backgrounds, but through education, hard work and personal integrity, have reached such vocational heights and are still climbing. Then there is me; the proverbial runt of the litter, who despite education, hard work and personal integrity, am approaching 50 years old, and still trying to be, what I’ve always thought I was meant to be when I grew up.
Culture and society dictates that just about now I should be disappointed, depressed and on medication, and yes, there have been moments when I have been tempted to walk that line, but a cup of truth, a dash of faith in plan and purpose, and a pinch of stubborn belief in perfect love, grace and mercy, soon have me whipping up a different batter for life. At the present time, life finds me experiencing that unique combination of thrill and terror that usually only occurs when I have foolishly let somebody talk me into going on a roller coaster. This particular runt has every intention of finishing well by fulfilling God’s plan and purpose, even if the path has more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street, with more treacherous potholes than your average Jamaican road.
My cup of truth includes choices I have made dictated by fear, and failure that have had painful consequences. But sometimes I have made choices that resulted in great blessing. For example, I am privileged to be mother to three wonderfully unique and highly entertaining children who have radically transformed my idea of what love looks like. You see, I love my crazy children the way God loves me; unconditionally. Their choices and decisions may scare me, frustrate me, or give me stubborn gray hairs, but they will never alter my unconditional love for them, or my unwavering commitment to do what is best for them, whether they like me or not.
Something else true is that if I’m not dead, I’m not done. The passage of time may appear to put limitations on some dreams, unless you believe in an omniscient (all-knowing) God. He always knows exactly how long it will take you to get on the right path to fulfill your purpose, so any and all time ‘delays’ and ‘failures’ have already been factored into His plan for your life. So, as my son would say,
One of my best friends was a teacher for many, many years, and a very good one. Everyone in our circle knew one thing for sure: Do not ever lie to Jean-anne Rochelle*. It was almost hilarious to watch someone try to get some fabricated story past those piercing eyes that saw right through you, and just knew! Her accuracy in reading people and situations was borderline scary, so none of us was surprised when she left teaching to become first a lawyer, and then a judge. Criminals beware!
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Faith is belief in action. Belief is acknowledging that an airplane will fly, maybe because you understand the physics behind it, or maybe you saw one take off at an airport. Faith is walking on to that airplane, taking a seat, even if you feel afraid, and letting it take off with all of your body parts inside.
I was still a young girl when I began to believe I was meant to be a writer and a motivational speaker. This year I turn 50, and thus far I have self-published one book that is at best, mediocre and have spoken at a handful of retreats. People are always telling me, “You should write a book!” or “You should be a motivational speaker!” They couldn’t know that life had long since turned those dreams into dry bones and ashes.
Then came Saturday, May 5, 2012 and I was sitting at lunch with some women, most of whom I had never met before; at a retreat I had not planned to even attend. Suddenly a conversation between the women on either side of me about pursuing their dreams against all odds, flashed like lightning into the deepest, most hidden places in my heart, resurrecting dreams long dead and buried. Before long, I was bawling like a baby and these poor women had no idea why, or what to do with me. It seems there are always tears shed at women’s retreats, but who bawls at lunch?!
Nevertheless there it was; after years of denial and failure, I still believed I was meant to be a writer and a motivational speaker. Before day’s end I had finished the introduction to a new book, and was profusely blaming the friend who had invited me to the retreat for interrupting my apathy. She’s already been warned that I am holding her fully responsible for the consequences of me believing in my dreams again.
“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come out of it.” Matt Damon in We Bought A Zoo.
Twenty seconds of insane courage?! Try 20 gazillion seconds! Finally, my faith took action in the form of a getting wise counsel, making a financial plan, resigning my job after almost 11 years, starting a new book, then creating and writing this blog. I have no idea where this road will lead but I do have stubborn belief in the love, grace and mercy of God; that He is the Giver of gifts for meaning and purpose, the Maker of plans and Fulfiller of dreams, that He is able to keep me from falling, and that sometimes the journey is the destination. So this is me, the runt of the litter, …just living the thing.
*Not her real name to protect her privacy, because of her job.