We live in a culture driven by the desire for success as calculated by popularity and wealth. These messages form our value systems as they stream through television and computer screens. While some climb up to the top of the dog pile and wave the flag of success, most people labor in jobs they hate with their dreams evaporating over the fires used to cook their food…back breaking, uninspired hard work! Back and forth they drudge in a long line of others struggling to accept a dreary existence.
For some, the desire for creativity captures the heart and hope blooms. Exploration is as sweet and innocent as that first crush. We feel alive again!
Then the idea dawns, “Maybe I could make a living at what I love?” Awe…and in that moment, seeds of discontent burrow down into the earth of one’s heart. We begin to sell our souls for “what might be” in exchange for making the most of “what is.” Serenity sprouts wings of flight!
Aspiring to become a published writer qualifies as my fourth career ambition. This morning I reflected upon some similarities observed in each of these worlds I have pursued in terms of my struggle to find and define meaning and purpose.
Whether fulltime ministry, an arts and crafts business, public education, or the world of publishing, limited positions existed at the top and a whole lot of people aspired to claim them, fierce competition to be sure. This is the appeal of American Idol, one from among us common folk makes it to the top!
But what if your destiny does not run parallel with popularity? Can you handle that? I have asked myself this question repeatedly over the years as my path detoured away from positions of power and settled along a reflective yet often obscure path.
I vividly remember the words of an old salty prophet, Bob Jones, who used to speak to us pastoral leaders twenty-years ago, “God is looking for a nameless faceless generation” he warned.
We all applauded but really now, who actually wanted to step down from our pulpits of popularity and volunteer for that? Little did I know, at the time, that life would recruit me against my will. I would join the long line of despairing people trudging along without hope.
In time, my pursuits took me through the world of business, then into the field of education, and finally to this new terrain of wanting to become a published writer. So now, the age-old conflict resurfaces. Can I navigate my way through pursuing my dreams without the drive for success mastering me? “Can I retain authenticity as a writer when marketing necessitates self-promotion? Can I be at peace with my purposes if those purposes never catapult me past a small group of people who glean encouragement from my reflections?
One only has to blog for a little while to realize there are a sea of gifted, aspiring writers; so many talented people exist, many of which have devoted an entire lifetime to the craft and yet never made it into that inner circle at the top. What if my only readers are those whispering hopeful words back and forth to each other as we go about our lives working our day jobs?
This is where I hesitate to make any pious statements about acceptance when success falls short of the trophy envisioned. Experience has taught me that I will have to eat my words with humility’s fork.
Just for today, I choose to accept the person I am and the path I currently walk, whether the masses ever read my musings. Funny thing, I like this place of being at peace with my purposes because I’ve never felt more alive and real!