I've always been a dreamer. I’m sure my friends and family grow wearing of hearing all my grandiose plans to traipse around the world, making my home in one fascinating city after another. So now, as I write and talk about this nine month plan to prepare for and finally take off to travel and write, I can easily understand how and why many people might think, “There goes Melisa, again, talking again about some dreams of grandeur only to end up again in Sioux Falls barely scraping by.”
It’s true. Nine months from now, I may still be working the mindless job, barely getting by, always dreaming; never doing.
The thing is, it’s not that I haven’t tried my luck with dreams of grandeur. I’ve tried very hard, in fact. I’ve up and moved to Seattle, Denver, and South Korea all within the last six years, determined to find my place. The trouble is that while I have indeed seen and done some wonderful things, somehow I always manage to end up back at square one.
So why this continual attempt to flee? Why bother plotting another escape if it will only lead back to the starting point?
The difference is that now I have purpose. I see it, I know it, and now it drives me. I don’t regret my times in the other places. I have learned much about myself through them. But I went there looking for something, without aim, hoping for some revelatory moment in which I discover who I am.
Funny how that happened in the place I swore I’d never be.
Turns out, I’m a writer. (I think! I hope!) I may not be J.K. Rowling, but I’m a writer nonetheless. But that story can be for another day. For now, back to purpose.
I was visiting Denver last month and I ran into a former professor from my time at Denver Seminary. She asked me something that kind of wrecked me for the rest of the day. “How are you using your gifts and talents of writing?” she asked. I’m not sure why, but the question hit me hard and rested upon my shoulders like a cinder block. Suddenly, I was aware that with this purpose, calling, career choice, whatever you want to call it, comes responsibility. It’s like, “Great! You’re a writer! Now what are you going to do with it?”
Later that night, as I was mulling the revelation over with a friend, she reminded me that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Fortunately, I don’t have to be Spiderman…which is convenient because I loathe spiders. I do, however, have to do something productive with this pesky writer nature of mine.
I have been blessed with remarkably strong women (and men) in my life. They are treasured (and very patient) mentors from whom I draw strength and inspiration. Last night, as I was churning over the possibilities for this traveling/writing adventure, I was reminded that there must be purpose behind it. As I spend these nine months plotting, preparing, and praying, I need to begin to narrow down a focus. So I emailed one of these fantastically strong women with a heart for social justice and now we will be meeting next week to let the ideas start emerging.
The point of The 700 Chronicles is to document this stage of wonderment and preparation for something I’m not really certain of yet. But somehow, things seem to be unfolding. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. For now, I leave you with a fitting favorite song, along with which I loudly belt out the lyrics, “I know my call despite my faults and despite my growing fears!” and “I need freedom now! And I need to know how to live my life as it’s meant to be!”