Wednesday, July 30, 2014

If Not Now, When?

It seems like most of my life I’ve spent a majority of my time “waiting”.  Especially when it comes to my dreams.  I allowed life, responsibility, duty, and compromise to get in the way.  For nearly twenty years I was “waiting on the Lord” to move in my life for things to happen, believing that He would open a path for me.   Before that, I waited on Karma.  Living in a dark, ugly world full of hate and lies, I chose to follow a higher standard of excellence, believing if I tried hard enough, worked hard enough, studied hard enough, I could change my stars.  My Pastor used to say, “You’re working way too hard for what God wants to give you.” Wanting to give me something and actually doing it are two different things.  Maybe… just maybe …He wanted me to fight for it, to take a chance, to leap into the unknown – to get it myself? Maybe.

Do you know what happened to and for my dreams in all that waiting?  NOTHING.  I spent all that time doing something else, hoping for that magical  opportunity to open and change my world.  All I’ve got to show for it is a long wait period of back-breaking sacrifices, and one disappointment after another as I watched my dreams slip through my fingers, one after another.  Not all of them, but most.  I’ve had a picture perfect life for the last two decades.  But, pictures don’t always present the whole truth.  It would really depend on your definition of what a perfect life consisted.  Is it what you achieved?  Is it what you’ve collected?  Is it what you possess?  Is it how you look, where you live, how much money you make, what church you attend, what titles you’ve received, what car you drive, what invitations you get, or how many Christmas cards you collect?

Now as I look back, I don’t understand how I believed in either of those concepts in the first place.  I knew better, yet I believed.  I had full faith that if I just obeyed, if I was good, if I diligently prayed, if I spent my time and talent helping others, then God – or even Karma – would swoop down and magically open all those great doors of opportunity. It’s what I was promised would happen.  I mean, after all, there were countless of testimony regularly voiced of how God did this and that for others, and how miraculously things just fell into place and dreams were realized, or how Karma (both good and bad) always paid her debts.  I prayed the same dream prayers over and over and over, yet never saw them manifest in ANY way, especially when it came to relationships.  Of all the hard work I did, I just couldn’t seem to get ahead.  Life (Karma) always seemed to come in and throw something in my path that kept me from really taking off.  Nothing changed.  I was still unwanted, unloved and undesired. I couldn’t be successful enough, pretty enough, or good enough to change anything.

Don’t get me wrong.  I had many successes.  I worked with a spirit of excellence and mastered just about everything I put my hands to do – the problem was – I was doing everything else for everyone else, except me – believing that would lead to my own dream fulfillment.  Then, when I took the chance on ME… all those who supported, encouraged, and bragged about all the things I did for them disappeared or remained silent in and for my pursuits.  I was supported as long as it didn’t interfere with all those ‘other’ things I did, as long as it didn’t cause an interruption or hardship or sacrifice on anyone else’s part – I was good to go.  But, the moment my dream, my wants, or my desires caused any form of inconvenience, if it was different, or became a sacrifice for someone else – that support disappeared, often replaced by resentment, opposition, and judgment. When I started being ‘me’, and not who I was expected to be, I suddenly became the rebellious one.  As long as I looked and acted like everyone else around me, I was loved.  But have an individual and differing thought … that love and support disappeared.

 I just wanted someone to believe in me, the same way I believed in them.  I struggled with believing  in myself.  People let me down.  But a funny thing happened… I quit waiting.  I quit believing that I could do anything good enough to make a difference with anything.  No, I no longer expected those doors to magically, supernaturally, or karmatically open on their own in response to my goodness, faithfulness or obedience.  I found those doors on my own and kicked those fuckers down. Did it cost me anything?  Yes, it cost me everything.

When is the time to chase my dreams or work on fulfilling my wants and desires?  NOW.  I still have faith – faith that I’m brave enough to chase what I want in and out of this life.  Have I found everything? No.  Has everything worked out exactly as I planned? No.  Have I found that happiness I desired for so long?  Some, but there’s more.  Am I loved, wanted and desired?  Not yet. But I’m living. I’m moving.  I’m doing.  I’m falling.  I’m getting back up. I’m missing the mark.  I’m hitting my target.  The point is … I’m living in the now. I’ve done more in the last two years for myself than the last forty-one combined.  It’s not all easy, a bed of roses, or happens perfectly. On the contrary, it’s often painful, I make mistakes, I get hurt, I fall down, and I spend a lot of time crying – but I’m moving, I’m doing, and I’m experiencing life – not letting it waste away waiting for some outside or unknown force to open a path for me. I live in the NOW.

My life is now one big verb, not an adjective.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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