Roadblocks [ for you, Maris ]

This post is dedicated to my marvelous older sister, Marissa who is struggling with a bacterial infection resulting from her weakened immune system due to Crohn’s disease medication. Since she is fighting this infection, she cannot take her Crohn’s medication because it weakens her immune system and wouldn’t allow her to fight off the infection. To prevent the symptoms of Crohn’s without medication, she is on a strict diet where she can only have 200 calories of food per day. She also has to consume 4 Ensure nutritional shakes every day. As you can tell, those shakes would get pretty old after awhile. Unfortunately, her treatment will last for about 3 months. Love you, sister.

Maybe you’ve begun to understand that your path will not be straight and narrow. You’ve come to terms with the idea and have accepted the fact that it’s happening. How do you navigate this so-called curvy and indirect path? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you.

Step 1)

Before you can get anywhere, you have you put complete trust in the Lord that He will provide. This is easy to say when we have good days but so much harder to carryout on our bad days. It takes tremendous courage to be able to surrender control of your plans. Even when you’re at your weakest point weak and you’re more vulnerable than you’ve been in your entire life, you have to trust. Sometimes when I’m really struggling, I remind myself of God’s love for me. He sees me as a child and protects me like a father. I am his weak and vulnerable baby lamb and He picks me up when my human limitations fail and carries me away from danger. It doesn’t matter if I make mistake after mistake he will always greet me with open arms, I need never be ashamed to approach God. He knows me better than I know myself.  His love forms a force field around me. Even when the effects of this fallen creation try to take me down, God says that He will lift us up after every trial. God doesn’t see earthly struggles as any challenge to His mighty power. God has the same love for you! When you are reminded of God’s tremendous love for you, it will bring you renewed strength.

end of the earth

Step 2)

We tend to get ideas in our minds about the general path of our life and the events that happen along the way. We have a map. Inevitably road blocks will arise. This is okay. This might not make you feel better but everyone is struggling. Everyone. Everyone you see each day even if it be but a second of interaction where you quickly make eye contact and then return to your daily life, has a story. Their story is perceived by them as vividly and intense as your story is to you. Imagine that. They have road blocks too even if it doesn’t seem like it on the outside. Dwelling on the fact that our problems are worse than other people’s problems is a poisonous thought. It might seem to be true but even if it is, this thought will not make it any easier but rather it will remove any joy from your life.

hands stars

Step 3)

Navigating these road blocks can be hard because sometimes they really suck. Something I’ve recently learned though is that sometimes you have to take your eyes away from the end point. You might not have a plan for your entire life but you do have to take action now. You have to do something right now that will at least get you closer to even a small goal that you have. You have to have a strategy. Set a goal and determine a strategy to get there. For example, I currently don’t have a major. Instead of going into panic mode about how I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, I have to figure out  a strategy to move closer to figuring out my career goals. I worked with my adviser to create a schedule for this semester that will allow me to experience different topics. I have met with advisers in other majors, trying to determine if I might be a good fit. I still haven’t decided but I am getting closer. Your goal might be to consume 4 nutrition shakes a day. In order to achieve this goal, you have to take it day by day. Set up a specific time schedule and reward system so that you can stay on track.

Step 4)

Your struggles will never define you. This isn’t to say that you can do it alone though. You need people, You need friends and family that can encourage you and make you laugh along the way. Let them be there for you. Let them help you. Sometimes people get the idea that accepting help from others is admitting weakness. This isn’t true. We are all weak at some points in our life and we all need help.

may God

A Little Unrealistic

Have you ever watched your favorite movie or TV show and after it left you awestruck, you came to the realization that it’s not real. We don’t want to believe that the characters are only actors because we get emotionally attached. As pathetic as that sounds, and I’m really not that much of TV watcher, it sometimes makes me sad to remember that the surgeons on Grey’s Anatomy aren’t actually saving lives and they aren’t even real doctors. The lives they play are so much more interesting than the truth, which is that series of theatrical illusions create the atmosphere of a surgery and talented actors perform convincing roles of actual medical practices. The believable young child inside of me holds on to the idea that the medical miracles and the relationships are reality. This is just one example.

This is not the only aspect of life in which we want to believe fantasy. Even if it’s not as evident as television. The reality of life is that is isn’t going to be interesting, at least not all of the time. When we have a goal, we often think of only the end result, because that is the best part! We never think about the sometimes millions of steps that it takes to get there. We only look at the top of the mountain, even if we are still at the base of the mountain, 12,000 feet below the peak. Even if we have no idea when or how we will get there I think everyone has a “dream house” or a “dream job”. I am nineteen and a college student, I don’t have any money and any money I do have is going to pay for education, yet I know what kind of counter tops and cabinets I want in my “dream kitchen” (Thanks to my sister for marathon watching HGTV ). I have no idea how I will ever get to the position where I will be able to create my dream kitchen, it might be never, but again, I am only thinking of the end result.

I am a firm believer in dreaming without limits and I think we all need to have fantasies in our head, even if we know they will never become reality because it instills imagination in the adult thought process which is so often ripped from our minds. The science behind things, the realities of how life works takes our imaginations and rips them to shreds. Sometimes I wish I still had the child-like ideas that scientific processes are magic and just happen, because that is so much more interesting and fun than learning the theories and formulas behind everyday phenomenon.

Because the thing that we might often forget is that the bigger we dream, the harder is to get there. And there will be those nights or days or even brief moments where we will feel lost or forget why or what it is we’re working for. So, continue to dream, even at all the wrong times, just do it. I find it instills inspiration in me and also takes your mind away from reality for a moment, because sometimes it’s really hard and reality can be brutal and unfair.

I guess what I’m saying is that in a brutally realistic world, it is okay, rewarding even, to be a little unrealistic once in awhile. Even if it’s just for a few moments.

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies and I think it fits with this post, at least a little.

So dare to dream. Dream your wildest dreams. You can climb the highest mountain. You can drown in a teacup, if you find a big enough teacup. And if someone tells you that you can’t do something, you say, ‘Yes I can. ‘Cause I’m doing it right now!’ -Barry, Dinner for Schmucks

When I Grow Up…

Why do we have the dreams that we do? When I say dream, I use the term loosely, in a sense of not only physical aspirations, but also what kind of person we want to be and what kind of things we want to have done at the end of our lives. I’m in the process of removing from my mind from the idea that career goals need to facilitate our entire lives so I was thinking about not only what I want to be when I grow up but who I want to be.

And at the same moment as I had these thoughts, I then noticed a phrase we often use too much without it having any clarified definition. The phrase is “…when I grow up.” I have determined that I should probably stop using this phrase because technically from a legal standpoint, I am an adult. I don’t feel like one though. When we ask young children what they want to do when they grow up, they say big things. They stretch their imagination to the farthest point and they actually believe with everything inside of them that they can do it. They are the ones who have it right. I’m not sure at what point we begin disbelieving in ourselves or when we begin to let others influence our opinion of what we think we can do, but it doesn’t take long. Then we grow up a little bit and we start to think that adulthood comes suddenly one day, like as soon as you reach your eighteenth birthday, you’ll know exactly what it is you are going to with your life and who you’ll do it with. But sadly that’s not true either. I don’t know when adulthood truly begins but I do know that it doesn’t come all at once. We grow when we don’t notice we are growing and to be honest, I don’t think I ever want to stop growing. I definitely have goals I want to reach but I would like to consider those stepping stone for further growth. I don’t think anyone aspires to land their dream job and then never get promoted. Or be able to run ten miles and then never go any further. So don’t think that if you reach one goal, although you’ll feel immensely proud, that you’ll be forever satisfied. This thought isn’t depressing. I don’t want to come off as saying that you’ll never reach fulfillment in life and that life is just a series of lists of goals that you have to achieve, but just that you might reach it in other ways than you initially imagined, and that you have the opportunity to continue to reach it not only when you become an adult but all through adulthood as well.

I know nothing with any certainty. But the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent van Gogh