The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
What in your life is calling you? When all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned, the lists laid aside, and the wild iris blooms by itself in the dark forest, what still pulls on your soul? In the silence between your heartbeats hides a summons, do you hear it? Name it, if you must, or leave it forever nameless, but why pretend it is not there?”
Nearly all little boys and girls grow up being asked what they want to be when they grow up, and thus met with typically gender assigned ocupations. Girls must want to be ballerinas and models, boys firefighters and ball players; though most never actually become these things. It is not to say that childhood dreams are a bad thing; they certainly have their place as a means to expand and mature a child’s imagination.
Reflecting back on the dreams of your childhood, we often find that innocence and bold spirit that’s been long forgotten; hidden beneath the years of bills, babies, and making a buck or two. These goals from childhood are fueled by the fervent, confident, stubborn spirit that has yet to experience being let down, dissappointed, rejection and hurt. This innocence is wildly free, the place we crave to go back to as adulthood experiences leave us bitter and confused. Throughout the years we try to shift through the advice of others, current interests, and other factrs to embark on a quest to find what inspires the passionate soul, regains firey determination. You may find a job you initially enjoy, but with time, your growth, maturing interests, and change can leave one a bit disillusioned.
What do you love now? Ask yourself, what hobbies and simple pleasures do you enjoy? Where do you see yourself in five years? What dream or goal keeps nagging you deep inside? What would it take for you to reach the end of your life with no regrets or stones left unturned? What dreams have you labeled ‘impossible’? What things are listed on your bucket list?
Personally, as a child and young adult I determined my destiny to be that of singer, then a writer, a missionary, a nurse, a youth counselor, and a therapist. In college my major changed at least four times, and with the birth of my eldest son, my dreams were put on the shelf for a while. Soon after Aidan, his brother Avery was born 13 months following and brought with him the insane hormones that wrecked me, plagued me with PPD, shut the door and seemed to leave me in the dark no matter what.
Nothing made me happy, I could not shake the blue and it unfortunately took a toll on my family, frustrating and angering my husband. He tried his best to understand how I was feeling, forgive me, and pick up the slack, but months of this drove him to anger, frustration, and abuse. Though not always physical, I was sentenced to a solitary existance with the only voice I heard telling me I couldn’t, I wasn’t enough, I ruined lives, I would never be strong or smart enough. Dreaming was silly, did I really think I would ever make something of myself? I was foolish girl that can’t even cook without burning it but I think I can change the world? No way, get back to the kitchen, where you belong.
Three children, one miscarriage, and one divorce later, I am beginning to understand myself and pinpoint what truly ignites my soul. Initially I pursued a journey of self discovery, but have found , ironically, passion and purpose actually pursued me. Destiny followed me, like a shadow waiting for me to turn around, get the picture and run with it. Though I tried to ignore it, these unfulfilled, unaccomplished, unanswered questions kept me up at night, wrestling to keep the notion that I had found my purpose already in being a mother. I lied to myself. While this role of mother is so wonderful and fulfilling, it is not all that I want to be, nor all I am; and that is not a bad thing though I told myself it was.
Dozens of failed attempts to find “myself” later, here I am, a thirty year old mother, person, woman. Here I am, also, a freshly discovered graphic designer, marketing guru, and event planner.
I cannot leave my heart’s unrested battle-cry lay dormant at my feet anything longer. This is the new-age renaissance of creativity, what better time to pursue that which consumes my thoughts, nags my heart, has pulled me from some of the darkest places I have ever been before. I am not afraid of aging, I don’t fear failure, I don’t believe in perfection or am crushed at how I’ll never measure up.
I only fear settling, choosing to do something or work at a job that only lets me live a half life.
Never diving in deep, to the depths of my soul, discovering where my passions truly lie and being aware of their evolution. I just want to take a chance on myself; I just want to live; not survive, but thrive.
I dare you to do the same.