What Are You Waiting For?

What are you waiting for before you just say f@#k it and do what the hell you want to do? Did someone lie to you and tell you that have time tomorrow?  Did someone convince you that everything that is present in your life today is guaranteed to be there tomorrow?  Or maybe God spoke to you and told you that you will live forever and so there is no reason to have a sense of urgency to your life.  And if God told you that, then who am I to question the word of God?  But if there was no divine voice telling you to sit on your ass and wait for another day to do what it is you have in your heart to do today, then what the hell are you waiting for?!

I once had a friend who, like me, ran an intervention program for at-risk students, whose funding was taking forever to come and so, for a minute, she found herself without a paycheck.  She told me that the whole time she was away from work she thought about going to law school, because she always wanted to be a lawyer.  During that time, she would wake up each day and think today is the day I apply for law school.  And then every day, she would follow that by saying, okay, not today, maybe tomorrow.

Her story inspired me to tell her some of my dreams.  I spoke about writing more, travelling more and just spending more time taking care of myself. I told her that one day I will live in Paris and with my broken French, I will have conversations with the baker at the corner of my street about the state of the world.  The baker and I will laugh at a joke I finally fully understand.  We will laugh because he has been helping me with my French, with the sole intention of making sure I understand this joke he has been trying to tell me for months.  And then I will take my fresh bread and the cup of coffee, a cup I picked up from the cafe next to the bakery, and I will go home and write.   Or maybe I will go to England, I told her.  I will go to England and visit the country where much of my family history took place without me.  Or I will learn how to do my work with young people in a different way, in a way that still inspires, in a way that allows me to write more.   Maybe, I will do all of it or maybe just parts, but either way, I will one day do those things in life that my heart tells me I am meant to do.

My friend and I would smile just from hearing ourselves speaking our dreams out loud and then after smiling a bit, laughing a bit, and just enjoying envisioning our imagined lives a bit, we would eventually come back to “our senses” and get back to our work.

Much of our work was about inspiring young people to live out their dreams, to listen to their inner voices and to find the strength and the courage to live an authentic life. Between the two of us, we must have worked with thousands of kids throughout the years, many of whom often came back to us to thank us for helping them to live out their dreams. This work was and still is truly fulfilling, and it often causes those of us who do it to think about what our dreams are and whether or not we are living  our authentic lives?

One day, I got a phone call from a colleague of mine from work.  The person asked me if I was driving and when I said yes, she said I needed to pull over.  Because I have become an expert when it come to those phone calls that precede someone telling you that someone close to you has died, I didn’t pull over, I simply asked who.  She told me that my fellow dreamer had died that morning.

I could tell you the details of her death, but what would be the point?  The important thing is a beautiful spirit was gone.   But I will tell you that often times when I think about her, I think about our conversations.  And I can always see her standing by my desk, her amazing spirit bright as a star, her eyes focused on that vision her words created, of one day going to law school.

After her death, I find myself in my office often times quite alone.  Because not only did we talk about all the things we wanted to do in our lives, but she was one of the few people I could talk to about the work we did with at-risk students in a way that made sense to both of us.  Since her death, I have seen other people pass away, and every time I attend a funeral for one of these people, I am reminded of the fact that life is shorter than any of us truly understand.  One day you have all the energy in the world, energy God gave you so that you can attempt to live your authentic life, and without warning, sometimes, the next day  you can find the energy and your life force gone.  Which leads me back to my original question.

What are you waiting for?  What are all of us waiting for?  If not now, then when?  And if you are saying that you have a million other things “that have to be done”, then why not take small steps toward your goals, steps that you can manage even in the busiest of lives. An award winning author once told me that it took him forever to write his book because he had to write in between family responsibilities: taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, attending school plays for his kids, supporting his wife, paying the bills, etc.  I told him that must have been really hard.  He told me that it would have been harder not to have written at all.

I recently spent some time with my friend’s sister, an amazing woman who runs support programs for an entire community at-risk.  I spent the day with her in her center and saw all the incredible work she is doing to support people who don’t have the means to support themselves.  The entire time I spent with her, I kept thinking that here is a woman who is living out her divine destiny and who is in touch with her authentic self.  Her sister, who passed away, had also lived out her divine destiny, but I also know, and I know this from the conversations we used to have in our office, that she felt she could have done even more.  Because she was a brilliant woman who could, honest to God, do anything she imagined herself doing.

Who knows?  Maybe, in a way, we are all like her, maybe we can all do the things we imagine ourselves doing, and even if we can’t, wouldn’t it be fun trying.

A relative, now deceased, used to tell me with pride how he tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He even had a picture of himself in a Dodger uniform that was one of his most treasured possessions.  He used to tell me this story with so much pride and love, you would have thought he made the team.  But you see, he didn’t.  And he didn’t have to make the team.  His soul was at peace with trying.  Because, I don’t think it’s so much about achieving the dream, in so much as it is about trying to live out the dream.  But hey, if there is a divine voice telling you something different, then ignore everything I said, and just wait til tomorrow.  Who knows?  Maybe you know something, the rest of us don’t.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

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