Someone asked me how my book writing was going. I reluctantly admitted to them that I hadn’t been writing for various reasons…lack of support…feeling unneccesary…and the list goes on. They said to me that I should not let it go. In my mind, I admit I wondered if it was even worth it to write, but then I remembered that I don’t write for attention or applause, but to encourage and motivate. One person being encouraged is enough. So, I choose to keep doing what I am meant to even in a hard place. Sometimes it is in the hardest of places that great things grow. I remember hiking up a mountain in my area with a friend of mine. When we got to the top of the mountain, we noticed vegetation growing out of the rock at the top of the mountain. We could not fathom how the vegetation was still lush and green, and growing in, seemingly, an impossible place. But, despite the impossibilities, the vegetation still grows. It doesn’t need a lot to keep growing. No one waters it daily, but it’s still there, and it provides beauty in the stark landscape. It serves it’s purpose even when unnoticed. So, maybe you have been struggling to continue being and doing who you are supposed to be, but don’t let hard times stop you. Prove the impossibilities wrong.
Lately, I have been a bit discouraged. Yes, even me…the motivator, the one who encourages others, the one who always has positive things to say and pushes others out of their low moments, yes me…and it has been one of those times when only those who are closest to me, or those who cared to really pay attention, have known just how discouraged I have been. Built in to the discouragement has been hurt, disappointment, let downs, and being looked over–a convoluted concoction of negativity. It almost made me give up, not just “throwing in the towel”, but burning it to the point where the thought of doing what I am supposed to do does not rise again. At least, those were my thoughts. Even the most optimistic people get down when it seems support is overwhelmingly lacking, when it seems “everyone else” gets the attention you wished you could, or even when those you count on to be there when you need them have better things to do. We are definitely all human, and no matter your purpose/passion, you still have a heart that can be hurt. So, I contemplated giving everything up, figuring no one would miss what I have to say or what I do, and just when I got to that point of give up, I heard something within me say “Speak to the silence”.
My first thought after that was, “Why should I? What difference will it make?” But when I thought about it more, clarity began to come. I began to remember the times when I have literally thought I am writing, speaking, or advocating to myself due to the lack of response, but then from nowhere someone would comment or write to me telling me how something I said had touched their lives. I then began to remember the times that even writing down what I was feeling was cathartic for me and got me out of my feelings. From there, I thought about how many times I have not responded to something others have said or written, and how they too could be feeling like I have recently felt, but the fact was that their words had meant something because I remembered them. So, as I thought, I realized that while the silence can be deafening, there is still life in the silence. There are still listening ears and watching eyes in the silence. Lives can still be changed, and passions can be built just by me deciding to do what I am meant to–even when I feel unheard and unseen.
Maybe you have felt that you are unnecessary, or that your words mean nothing. As you look around, it seems others have support, but you are alone…and maybe if that is the case at the moment, know that you were built for this. Who you are and what you do is necessary for SOMEONE on this vast planet of ours, and if you stop speaking/writing/motivating/marketing/encouraging, you will miss your opportunity to put an imprint even on that ONE person’s life. I know the process is difficult. I understand wanting to be embraced and encouraged. I also understand wanting to just sink into the background not thinking you will be missed, but keep speaking even when the silence gets deafening. Keep being even when it costs everything within you to be. Keep believing when everything around you makes it seem that what you are believing in and for will never happen. As long as you are alive, there is a possibility of having everything your brilliant mind could ever imagine, so get back to speaking to the silence. One day, there won’t just be echos, but a response. Keep going.
Lost. Yes, that’s the word. That feeling when you don’t really know how to describe where you are in this moment, and you are not sure of what the next moment holds. Lost. That one time when you wish you had all the answers, and it would be nice to be able to tell the future. Lost. Uncomfortable. Afraid, or not. Lost all the same. I’ve been there. I understand. Life happens, and it can throw you off-balance sometimes. You may find yourself questioning if you are on the right path, or if you are doing the right things. You may even wonder if you have done things that have messed up who you are supposed to be. Maybe you are not sure you made the right decisions. Maybe you are not confident that anyone will ever see the real you, and love you for that. Maybe. Regardless, lost is what you feel. I know the feeling well. I have doubted time and again whether I was meant to be Grace Waters, not just the name, but the embodiment of the name. Nothing around me, at times, seems to be conspiring to bring me to the place I see in my heart (yes, hopefully you understand). Instead, the opposite sometimes seems true. Life has been swirling around me as I stand still in the midst of it, trying to avoid upsetting the calm right in the midst of the storm. Yet, all I could do was stand there. I could not walk into the storm, lest I get swept away. I could not curl into a ball and try to forget that life was happening all around me, otherwise I would never grow. Instead, I learned to look up. In the eye of the tornado, in the midst of the calm, if you just look up through the funnel the sky is still there. It is calm. It is present. It is a place to focus. In times of uncertainty, when it is hard to know what to do, I look up. I pray. I trust that my life is not meant to be all storms and no rainbows. Some things I may never understand. Some people may never understand me. One thing I know to be true, is that I cannot stop being who I am in this moment, because this moment has purpose. This moment is designed to show me the strength of what is in me. This moment prepares me for what will be. Each moment is the introduction into the next, but it is what you do in this moment that makes the next matter. Remember that your now has purpose, as rough as it may be. Sometimes purpose hurts, but one thing it never does is leave you alone. Everything you need is already in you. Just remember to look up.
Sometimes life really does hurt. I know. I’m supposed to be the one telling you that everything will always be ok, and it all works out eventually. While I do believe that with everything in me, when you are in the midst of life, it is easy to forget that things will get better. Too often, we have people tell us that we should not be sad, and that we should overlook what is happening in our lives at this moment. Easier said than done. Sometimes, you have to cry. Sometimes you have to contemplate giving up. Sometimes you have to mess up. At the end of the day, crying is a release, and everything else can build character. As life happens, it may seem that nothing is going right. Every dream you have seems to get further and further away. Every desire you have gets eaten up in the pressing needs of each day. What you have believed in for so long, you find yourself questioning. You start doubting yourself, and you no longer believe that life has a purpose. Maybe you convince yourself that you made up every one of your dreams, or you believe that no one really cares about what you are dealing with. Even though a few tell you otherwise, maybe you feel unnecessary, and you believe that no one needs to hear what you have to say. I understand. I have been there. But, don’t get caught up in the world of desperation that your thoughts lead you to. You do matter. While going through the worst times in my life, I have had to believe that there was better. I could not allow myself to bow down to my feelings, and to give up on what I knew was in me. When moments made it extremely difficult to even consider pursuing my dream, I had to remember why I do what I do. My purpose in life is not for myself, but to be there for others. Even one person makes a difference. When you feel all alone, and it looks like what you have believed in for so long will never come to pass, believe again. My pastor always says that the darkest time in a day is at midnight, but it is at midnight that a new day is beginning. Even though things look the same, and it is just as rough as it has always been, in just a little more time, day will break. If you can just wait for the sun to rise, it will eventually look better, and then it will be better. Life throws us curve balls at times. We get derailed, and we lose track of who we are, and what we are supposed to be doing. Sometimes we have to go back to the beginning and remember how we felt when we first started our journey of self-discovery. What was it like when we had such a burning desire to change the world? How did we feel then? I remember the first burning of my passion, and I remember the joy I felt in writing and speaking. Then life happened. Things got a little sidetracked. I burrowed more into the cares of daily life than remembering my purpose. When it’s hard to believe, remember, then restart from where you are. A journey begins with one step, but it sometimes includes detours, broken down roads, sore feet, and getting lost. Still, to get to your destination, you have to complete the journey. It’s time for me, for you, for all of us to believe again. Now is the time.
A dream deferred does not mean a dream denied. There are some things we never even thought to dream for ourselves, but somewhere along the way a seed was planted. Someone believed in us. Within us we began to believe that we have a purpose. Like a flower that blooms into beauty from a simple seed, we expect our dreams to flourish just as assuredly as that flower. We forget, though, that sometimes the elements stop things from growing like they should. Sometimes growth is stunted. Sometimes the dream seems to have died. We see other people’s dreams blooming out of control. One after the other their dreams come true. Then we are left standing, staring at the spot from which our dreams were supposed to grow. Yet, we see not so much as a bud breaking through the seemingly hard ground. We do not realize that just because we cannot see it does not mean that nothing is happening. Underneath the surface, roots are growing. The seed is breaking out of its shell, and the flower is sprouting towards the surface. We may eventually see a bud, but instead of rejoicing in that, we look around at all the other dreams that have come to pass for others. We lament the time it has taken for our dream to come true. We want to forgo the process for the beauty of the dream. We want what everyone else has. It is rough when it seems that everyone else gets that one thing you are hoping for-when someone comes from seemingly nowhere, plants a seed, and it seems to grow overnight. It is hard when it seems your flower is overlooked because someone else’s seems more appealing. What I have had to remember, and what you should to, is that each flower appeals to a different person. Your dream is not far away, and what is in you will appeal to who it needs to. Endure YOUR process. Keep your eye on YOUR dream. It is just around the corner.
In our microwave generation, everything happens quickly. Within minutes you can be “in a relationship” on Facebook, and then “single” in the next instance. Each year your birthday seems to come sooner and sooner, and those gray hairs start to pop up seemingly from nowhere. You set a goal, but before you know it daily life has mercilessly shredded that goal, and you’re back to square one. In this modern society dreams all but wither and die in the face of endless cares and responsibilities. Then, once we do get a moment to reflect, we realize how much time has passed. We do not see the progress we have made, but we see every moment where we missed an opportunity. Seeing those moments, we become discouraged. We began to look around at all of those, whom it would seem, are living out their dreams. We doubt ourselves. Then we let our dream die-a never-ending cycle. This cycle is one I know all too well. Dealing with everyday life, my dreams got to a point where I began to think I would never realize them. I saw others walking in their purpose, and I placed less value on mine until I took a moment to reflect. Even when I realized how seemingly unimportant I made my dreams, I still doubted myself thinking that the things I am meant to do are important to no one. Then I was reminded that whatever I do in life will influence someone else, whether I am taking an active part in my life story, or letting the story play out with me only playing a supportive role. I decided that no one else should star in my story, so I chose to let my dreams live again so that my life will be something worth watching. Understanding how easy it is to let dreams fade away, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect. What are you supposed to be doing that you have allowed everyday life, worries, frustration, and fear to stifle? Are you living your best life? What are your dreams, and who are they meant to influence? Take the time. Your dreams are waiting for you to believe in them again so that they can have life. Dream again.