What the heck happened to me?

I had a great conversation with a friend of mine in college today. We talked about a bunch of things, but a large amount of time was spent discussing one’s call to action. It got me thinking of adulthood, and how much has changed for me since college (gasp! 7 years ago!).

Do you remember what you used to talk about when you were younger? What you wanted to be? What your dreams were? What grand adventures you had planned when you finally had a say in how you spent your time and energy?

Well, hanging out with activists and ‘radicals’ in college, we were always dreaming and scheming. Even in seminary, our hopes and dreams for ministry were unbounded. I loved being able to sit and argue about where the church should be, and how we should be acting to follow Christ’s call to discipleship.

I shared in this conversation once again with my friend, and the old sparks came back within me. But I also realized the value of the life I currently lead, and the ministry I lead at this moment, in this particular location.

Is it naive to have these dreams? Is it just being an idealistic youth? Is it even possible to realize the dreams of your heart?

I still think it is possible. While at times decisions have been made that my younger self may have criticized, I am blessed to understand my calling in life has not been derailed by ‘life.’ The last thing in the world I want to do is to wake up one day and say, ‘man, what the heck happened to me?’ The last thing I want is to live with regret at the life I’ve lived.

Sure, life is not always as you plan it. And yes, maybe our dreams are tempered with ‘realistic’ experiences. But there’s always a fire inside each one of us. That small fire that has the ability to remind us of who we really are, and who we’re called to be.  Some are able to let this fire breathe deeply, while others try and smother it out of their lives, but it’s always there.  I guess this is part of the reason I love working with young people; each time I interact with them, not only do I get to teach and share, but I have the privilege of witnessing the fire that burns within each one of them.

There’s wisdom in living life’s experiences…and learning from it. It’s not only about becoming more ‘realistic’ with life, but about becoming more aware of all that life offers. The world becomes less black and white, and shades of gray begin to be introduced into the spectrum. And we live, we learn, we grow. Our actions take on new meanings, and our understanding takes on new depth.

But that fire…that yearning for something more…call it passion, heart, the Spirit…it burns within each of us.

To my friend: thank you for reminding me of that fire. Sometimes it’s easy to forget during times like these.


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