So The Big One is coming. It seemed appropriate that It would fall on Good Friday this year. After all, that was the day when the world seemed to have come to an end, when it seemed all hope was lost.
I’ve been brooding about this upcoming birthday for months — actually for the last year. It’s been looming there in the distance, a big black cloud foretelling the death of my dreams. It must be true as all other milestones and deadlines I set for myself flew by without seeing my life goal materialize.
So maybe it’s time to give up. Maybe it’s time to set it aside and find something else to do. Like rug hooking. That, at least, has a foreseeable and obtainable conclusion. I could cover my floors, and my family’s floors, and my friends’ floors. And even make wall hangings.
But, in the end, I would be laying claim to the lament attributed to Thoreau: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
And I just can’t do that.
I have spent too many days contemplating the probability that my dreams won’t come to pass, that I will reach the end of my life and my epitaph will be, “Spring has passed. Summer has gone. Winter is here … and the song I meant to sing remains unsung. For I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument.” (Tagore)
Too many of us are afraid to hope, afraid to allow ourselves to be excited about possibilities. Too many of us live with the ridiculous belief that “Blessed are those who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.” How silly.
Recently, a friend of mine was asked to send her manuscript to an agent. Another friend was going through the steps of buying her first home. Both commented that they didn’t want to get too excited in case things didn’t turn out. I have been doing that. The less I expect, the closer I’ll be to the ground if I fall.
But just days before my 60th birthday, I’ve realized that I’m missing out on joy. Regardless of what the outcome may be, I should embrace all the joy I can. I must dare to hope! Why not enjoy the anticipation, the thrill of knowing that something is working itself to its rightful conclusion? Really. If whatever it is doesn’t come to pass, then I’ve still had a time of joy, of delight … and the Lord is always there with His grace regardless of the outcome.
The truth is that if I continue to postpone joy, I will eventually diminish my capacity to experience it. Do I or do I not believe that our great Father will give me the desires of my heart? How and when He gets me there is really His business.
And my friends? The writer was signed by the agent (wow!) and my co-worker bought her first home (wow!). As for me, I’m going to stop setting self-imposed deadlines on things I have no control over. I’m going to trust that, if I keep working at it, keep improving my skills, keep stepping out there, it doesn’t matter how many birthdays pass — my life will be filled with joy and hope. After all, Easter swallowed Good Friday.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” (Pope John Paul II)