(From my September Newsletter)
Around this time last year, I pulled up a small dogwood tree growing right next to our church foundation. There was no room for it to grow there. It was not easy, but I got most of the root. I planted the dogwood behind the church and gave it some water. The leaves withered and eventually dropped off. But it was close to leaf dropping time anyway, so I hoped it would come back in the spring. Through the whole season of spring I looked for new growth and saw nothing but a bare stem. I figured it was dead. I should have put some fertilizer on it. Then, in August, I just happened to notice two tiny leaves. Then four. The dogwood was still alive! Its leaves are growing as I write this. I don’t know if it will survive the winter, but there’s always hope.
There was a time when I wondered if romance was dead for me. But I never completely gave up hope. I had no idea that my first love would find me 39 years later, and that the love we had felt for each other as teenagers was still alive, dormant, waiting patiently for the perfect time.
(Sounds like a good story, right? You can order it here.)
Did you ever have a dream that you thought was dead? Maybe you’ve thought it was too late. Maybe you’ve felt like giving up, thinking: what’s the use? I’ll never be good enough. I think we’ve all been there.
In high school, I was pretty good at art, and I loved to write. But I didn’t value these talents. I valued science. I wanted to save the planet. So, I declared biology as my major. But higher math and chemistry got harder in college. I could have gotten a tutor, but I wasn’t supposed to need a tutor.
Discovering psychology was the best thing that could have happened. As much as I wanted to help others, there were things I needed to learn to help myself. After college, I spent over 30 years as a substance abuse counselor. I learned a lot during those years and was blessed with the privilege of being able to help others. And every now and then, I would dabble in saving animals, caring for the planet, being an artist, and writing. But it was just dabbling. There were long stretches when I did not create art and my only writing consisted of clinical notes at my job. When my marriage ended, I painted like crazy for a while and wrote in journals as part of my therapy. But I didn’t think I’d ever be an artist or writer full time. I had to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Retirement seemed like a faraway land I would never reach.
But sometimes, I would dabble in my old dreams.
Then in 2011, my first love found me again. People got goosebumps when we told our story, so I started writing that story. I had a lot to learn about creative writing, about details, conveying feelings, and describing scenes. There were times when I wondered if I had what it took to write and publish a real book.
But you’ll never know if you’re capable of something
until you’ve given it a go. ~ Kristina Adams
For much of my life, I’ve had a habit of thinking my work wasn’t good enough, because it wasn’t perfect. But I’m changing that habit.
This article by Kristina Adams explains how striving for perfection can damage our confidence and motivation (not to mention our health). It’s helped me be reasonably proud of my book. It’s a good book. But what I’m most proud of is that Trust the Timing is a book of overcoming challenges and never giving up hope, a book that can help people.
Now, I have reached that once distant land they call “retirement.” Except that I’m not really retired. I’m writing and painting! I dabble in saving the planet, or at least a tree here and there.
What about your dreams? Did you ever think that you weren’t good enough to follow your heart’s desire? I am telling you now that you are good enough. There’s some part of your dream that still lives, a part you can nurture into new growth. Your dream might change, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re already living your dream, or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Dabbling. Either way, don’t give up.
May your sweet dreams become reality.