Following dreams is such a strange thing.
It sounds so… light and fluffy. A dreamy thing, for someone with their eyes to the clouds, floating through life in search of something as intangible as a dream.
But… that’s not the reality.
Following dreams is hard work. It is facing questions that are hard to ask, making sacrifices and allowing yourself to let go of certain expectations. It is prioritizing things that others may not understand, and figuring out how to survive while doing so.
I am finding that following my dreams also means identifying what those dreams are. In seminary we did a lot of talk around issues of “Calling” and “Discernment.” We read books, and discusses, and wrote reflections, explaining why we were in seminary, what we were “called” to do. And I wrote those papers, and read those books, and participated in those discussions – but it continued to be an uncertain thing. And I began to focus a lot on the journey.
Drawn to metaphors of weaving, and forested lands, I found myself talking about the threads that weave through my life, piecing together to make a whole. Articulating my journey as a meandering path through the woods and hills, meandering here and there in search of the end destination – but not necessarily knowing what the “end” destination was.
And now, out of seminary but not wanting to go into “traditional ministry,” and making some decisions that launched me from one year of transition to another, I am continuing on this meandering path, trying to connect with just what I want that destination to be. But not an end destination, no, rather a stay-over – where is my next resting point?
And in this process I have had to weed things out. I’ve asked hard questions. I’ve had to decide to let go of things that were simply distracting me from what I really wanted and needed to be spending my time on. I’ve had to come to terms with a certain amount of selfishness that I am relatively unaccustomed to. Giving oneself permission to put your best interests first can be very challenging.
And now, now I am facing yet other changes that I would not have expected. I am having to step back, re-evaluate once again. What are the dreams that I want to follow? Am I willing to face the ups-and-downs that come with those dreams? What dreams am I clinging to because they are somehow “safe?” When opportunities and possibilities present themselves, I am trying to open my eyes – I am trying to step back and let myself really reflect on how this might help or hinder. As the dreams are pushing their way through (in sometimes surprising and insistent ways) I am looking at my decisions and figuring out just what needs to be done, what hard work I need to do, in order to make them a reality. What sacrifices am I willing to make, and what choices do I need to make?
And so I still look to the clouds. And I still let my mind wander about to this and that possibility. But I am reminding myself that dreams take work, and I have to put that work in if I want a shot at those dreams.
And that sometimes the path that we need to take in order to reach these dreams is full of surprises and the unexpected, and there is a certain amount of trust that needs to go along with following those dreams. Trusting my gut, listening to the world, and being willing to take the risks of making mistakes along the way, not letting myself get held back by the occasional misstep… and listening and paying attention when the missteps are plentiful.