I hope the title of today’s post hasn’t mislead you. Though I could talk at length about nighttime musings over a blue faced Mel Gibson, commando beneath a kilt, this Writing Wednesday is rooted in something a little more sentimental: your dreams. And I’m not talking about the little desires, like dropping 20 pounds before swimsuit season, I mean your BIG dreams. The life changers.
Life ambitions are wonderful things. They fill us with hope. Determination. Purpose. They give us direction, and a will to keep striving forward, because they are always just a couple steps ahead of us. I have been working toward becoming a published writer since I was five years old. There have always been stories living in my head, and my dream is for them to make their way into bookstores, so they can live in other people’s heads and hearts. There have been numerous obstacles in my path, some of my own making, and though at times I was prevented from actively pursuing my goal, I have never lost sight of it. My stories have been my light in the darkest of times. When I was helpless to change my own circumstances, I could weave worlds in my imagination, where I could dictate how much darkness and how much light. How much love and how much pain. A dream like that holds a place of importance in your life that is indescribable.
But what if there were no longer any obstacles? What if you were given an opportunity that would help your dream become a reality? I was recently offered a vehicle to help me achieve my greatest want; the completion and publication of my first novel. I was inundated with joy, openly sobbing with appreciation and thanks. But the thing that I didn’t expect: a paralyzing sense of fear. There had always been a hundred things standing in between me and my dream. Now that I was given a direct line to it, I began to suffocate under the weight of the fear of failure. This dream is a validation of my entire life. What will it say about me if I fail?
So, for a few days, I didn’t write. I immersed myself in the safety of motherhood, and spent a weekend doing nothing but playing with my children. We were sitting on the couch watching one of our favorite movies, We Bought a Zoo. Matt Damon’s character is sitting in front of the tiger cage with his son, imparting life wisdom, when he said one of my favorite movie quotes of all time: “All you need is twenty seconds of incredibly embarrassing bravery, and then I promise, good things will happen.” I took a few minutes to ponder that, and then I realized something. I’d already done that.
Love is a dream. It can definitely be a life changer. And I lived that dream for 17 years before it crashed and burned into the corner of Heartache and Failure. For a while, I didn’t think the damage would ever heal. Real love leaves marks on your soul. Heartbreak is a walk in the park compared to a scarred soul. But a funny thing happened. When I wasn’t looking, the fingertips of love started to tickle at my heart. It was both wonderful and terrifying. And monumental. I could still love. And in the wake of the importance of that, I took my twenty seconds of incredibly embarrassing bravery and I said it. I swung for the fences, but only managed to come up with a single. I took my base with a smile, because even though it didn’t turn out to be the home run that I wanted, I still get to play the game.
Disappointment always stings. But the best things in life, the ones we really want, are worth the bravery, even when the answer is no. You can’t always ensure that things will work out like you want them to, but the disappointment of never having tried, or asked, is a far worse outcome to live with. One thing that all my past failures have given me is clarity. I no longer take things for granted. Not moments, not people. I appreciate my blessings with zeal, and accept my disappointments with a gracious heart. I love my family and friends with a boundless capacity that I will never give them reason to doubt.
So keep swinging for the fences. If you keep trying, eventually you’re going to hit one out of the park. Keep a dream in your head and the hope for it in your heart. Find an opportunity for your 20 seconds of bravery, and implore it. Good things will happen. Even if it’s just the realization of how strong you can be.
Have a brave heart. And should you come across an opportunity that involves blue faces and commando wearing kiltsman, you should see where that takes you. 🙂
I, for one, will keep writing.