And what happens when your dreams don't come true ...or don't happen on your timing.
Last Saturday, the wonderful @ggreneewrites hosted the Soulful Beauty Chat with creatives across the region at Culture Coffee. First, being included amongst the women in the room was an honor. I had the opportunity to hear @tyunscripted @PishPoshPerf @aisforalex @sherlyleigh and @sheismoxie share and to put it mildly, it was powerful. It's not often as a blogger, writer, creative, that you get the opportunity to share your work - live. Especially when it's a piece that hasn't been posted before.
This was the perfect opportunity. Even though I was in a safe space, when GG announced it was my turn, I almost passed out trying to get out of my seat. If you met me, you'd maybe never know how terrible my stage fright can be. But we manage through even when afraid right? Right.
I thought I should share this piece here. It's important. It may not be what you want to hear, but I can tell you there may come a time that you may need it. I hope this helps you.
― Thomas Ligotti, Teatro Grottesco
First, let's define mettle:
a person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way.
On the night she lost her greatest dream, it didn't seem like a day any different from the previous 14285 days of her life. Except on this ONE, there was a sudden realization that what she wanted most ----- she wouldn't be able to achieve on her own. At least not without faith. At least not without some higher power. That it was highly possible even, she might not get it.
To put it simply, every method was pulled -- every method that wasn't deceitful that is -- and there wasn't any output - unless you count hard won lessons of the heart. Speaking of which, that heart? While still in good working order, was in pieces and a bit fragile. It was nothing short of miraculous that it was still working.
But delayed reactions had a way of settling things down. It allowed the abnormal to appear normal. At least until - something random, but ordinary happened - say the cracking of thunder or the noticing a chip in a precious tea cup - it was the ordinary sequence of things that could set it all loose. The synchronicity of it all. Today was no different. Just a simple question.
Within seconds, as if she has a glimpse from another world.... she realized she wasn't cut out for the arena she was moving in, researching - as she lovingly dubbed it... this LOVE thing.
Plainly, it was going to have to go.
The realization was followed by a rush of terror, then a moment of relief, followed by another moment of sheer terror at the thought of relinquishing the dream. Was it even something to pursue?
But how do you tell a lover not to love?
What happens when you need to make peace with things that may go undone? Things that may go unsaid? What happens when your dreams don't turn out as planned? How is it we cope?
Enter mettle. Sometimes moxie will do. Chutzpah. Fortitude. Perseverance. A strong spirit. But I think - it's the mettle that describes how it all comes together.
Mettle is tested and won. Mettle can be a true distinction on those who manage to survive this world and live to tell the tale. But what happens when it's being tested amidst the denegration and destruction of a dream? I know it's difficult to think a dream might not happen. But it's often at the end of our lives when we reflect this way. What would happen if we let the idea of the dream go - today? What happens if maybe, for just a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week...that we forgot about those dreams for just a little bit? That we let ourselves rest and be off the hook for all of the life accomplishments we're clamoring towards?
What happens when the dream is delayed? It doesn't happen like you thought God said it would at 28. Or at 38. What happens if at 48 it's still not there? Is your life over? Can you move forward?
In this moment, I rather think we might actually get something done. And I think that's what's really important.
At the in-between of our lives - the moments between birth and death, it's not what you dream that's as important as what you actually get done. We miss valuable moments in lament and mourning for things never done. Some things that may never be done.
If we take the death grip off hope, we can live life.
That's not to say you shouldn't have goals and dreams. We need those to keep us moving. It's to say sometimes, they may need to rest and change. That it's ok if we don't get everything done on our list. It's ok to actually live and get things done. It's ok if our dreams don't line up with what we told everyone we want. That it's ok to change. That it'll be ok even if some things we most wanted don't happen. It doesn't change the value of our lives. It doesn't change the purpose. It doesn't change God's ability to bless us. It just means we might need to change and be willing to walk a different path.
That my friends, is the testing of mettle.