|Photo credit Kelly Sauer.|
I don't have dreams anymore. Do you?
And I don't mean sleep dreams, I mean life dreams -- big visions for what I want my future to look like, things my daily activities chase after. I'm not working towards a big wide rainbow goal. I realize this from time to time and it tends to scare me, especially when I hear other people talking about their own dreams and how they make life worth living. I wonder if I'm missing out on something big by not having some grand, hopeful, five part plan for the future.
Have I become lazy and complacent because I'm so content in the now? Is my life too cushy? Too easy? Have I lost my drive because I'm satisfied? Am I a fat, happy, lazy baby? Maybe a little bit. I am certainly mostly happy. Or is dreamlessness founded on something more sinister, like loss of hope? Have the twists and turns in life made me relinquish the illusion of control? Do I not dare to dream because I don't think I'm capable or powerful enough to reach for more?
I've pondered these questions for a while and I'm concluding that it's all of this and none of this. I don't believe not dreaming off into the future means a part of me has fallen asleep or given up. Borne of gratitude and the appreciation of simple, timeless pleasures of this everyday life, my contentment feels like a blessing, not a curse. These days of mothering and wifing, packed sure with the rote and mundane, they fill me full, and I don't need to apologize for that fullness. After years of striving, I'm able to bask in the beauty of calming simplicity. Another steamy crock of shepherd's pie, another crisp, purposeful pile of clean laundry -- these are not things of shame or short-selling, they're my unique gifting for these days. I find a new, amazingly natural joy in caring for my family, and I'm taking these days to relish that joy without craning my neck to see beyond it.
The beyond will arrive whether I crane or not, so that leaves me free for laser focus on now. And if there's a moment in life that needs or deserves my laser focus, now is that moment. Now is the moment I want most be getting as right as possible. Always.
But full-on Yes! to having willingly handed back the younger Megan's illusion of control, and I feel like that comes not from a place of hopelessness but a place of maturity. Years and experience and surprises, the easy and the hard, have taught me slow and steady that I'm not in charge, and even more gently that I don't want to be in charge. Life has brought me challenges and changes and capital NOs -- the toughest breaks that I would never have willingly chosen. And these biggest, hardest walls and ravines blocking my own charted path have built tough mental muscle and proved me resilient and strong, or completely redirected my feet the better way - the way to here. I hate and love not being in control, but I can't deny the genuine rightness and rewards of bending around vs. breaking against. It's better to know who's in charge and that it's not me, truly. Truly. I'm more prepared, and less tripped-up, and curious, watchful for Oh, what's next?
It's not to say I don't plan or prepare or hope for things, for brilliant days to come. Of course I want the best things for myself and the people I love - successful, fulfilling lives for my kids, an amazing retirement for Al and me, some day making a pan of biscuits as good as my grandmama Ferree's (to date, I have only ever churned out homemade flour-flavored pucks, much to my Southern shame). Just to say I'm no longer one to cling hard to my own designs. I do the work of preparation knowing, fearing (real and honest) but mostly trying to trust that I'm meant to be ready to let go, fall down, step up, and submit to constant and inevitable change that will erase and redraw my end in a place I've probably never imagined. And there will be pain and loss and heartache mixed in (that's the fear part), but they will lead me somewhere that I probably won't have known existed, in which I will again find my natural joy and my natural place.
Just like here.