We succeed in direct proportion to the commitments we make… and keep.
My father was very fond of calling me a dreamer. He was accurate…most of the time, despite often choosing ineffective methods for delivering the message. When I was young, I resented his persistent diagnoses. After all, I had my whole life ahead of me. Wasn’t I supposed to be dreaming? Isn’t the point of our youth to engage our imagination and get us thinking about what we want to lean into with the balance of our lives?
Now, I can appreciate that he was trying to get my young-man, easily distracted mind tuned in to understand that for dreams to come true, they must walk hand-in-hand with some serious doing. For me, that lesson took the better part of a decade to sink in.
From the ages of nine to nineteen, I was the king of starting projects with red-hot intentions only to have them wilt in the inevitable arid points amid the journey. I would typically abandon my own ship and start on some other idea du jour that promised an easier, softer or more exciting option for me. In time, my road to giving up became smooth and familiar…dare I say, comfortable.
I had learned how to expect less than the best from myself. I was adept at making excuses for my reboots and grew accustomed to reaching for the internal bell that signaled my intent to quit the life experience in which I had previously so eagerly enrolled.
By the time that I was a year out of high school, I looked back at my yesterdays in disgust and committed to recovering from the wreck I had become, albeit with worn out tools and get back to the core of me. I pledged to live a life of purpose and intention. I spent the next decade constructing faith in myself and worked to earn others’ faith in me as well.
Recently, I have been introduced to some of the training that the United States Navy demands of their elite fighting force—The Seals. I can hardly believe that a human can endure their training, much less thrive in it. As I have unpacked the lessons from listening to audios and watching videos, I half-wonder if I am missing a particular gene. I concede that I am likely missing the one needed to decide that I’d rather someone pull me out of the ocean, a sliver away from drowning and having to pump my lungs clear of water. The one needed to decide that I’d literally rather die than give up and admit defeat.
Thankfully, I have been restored and have learned from my previous menagerie of disappointments and half-starts.
I believe more fervently that the change I have been craving throughout my life isn’t meant to come from outside of me. To believe that what I want is outside of me leads to an occasional panic that makes me think that I need to make a drastic change in my life.
In fact, there is a very good chance that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
–In the right body.
–Married to the right woman.
–Father to the right children.
–Member of the right church.
–Employee of the right company.
–Striving in just the right way.
–Doing meaningful soul-work that only I can do.
I confess that there is still a vulnerable, nomadic adolescent inside of me who dreams. I try to engage him and unearth what is at the root of his pining. I pray, I write, I trust, I try softer, I commit and re-commit to standing my post. I am not confused. The demands of this life can be heavy and full; they often times make us want to tap the bell and quit.
When that happens, dig down deep and get in touch with what you most want your life’s journey to express. When you take your last breath, what words do you want on the lips of those people who are huddled around as your soul takes flight?
Let’s figure that out and then get to work turning that aspiration into our reality.
Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. because you are!