When I was a sophomore in college, I aspired to major in history. American history, especially, awakened my imagination beyond names and dates in a textbook, to people's day-to-day stories buried beneath them. Sometimes I even felt that I was living in the wrong time period, that I should have been a pioneer, a suffragette, or stationmaster(mistress) on the Underground Railroad.
I scheduled an appointment with the professor of my Western Civ class to map out coursework for the next two years. I'll never forget his monotone response to my enthusiasm...
"There's no point majoring in history unless you're prepared to go straight through and get your PhD."
To my twenty-year-old self, his timeline felt like an unattainable eternity, with all-or-nothing the only options. At the time, it didn't occur to me that Dr. ?, in all his academic pomp and circumstance, could possibly be....wrong.
That pivotal moment swerved me to another major (speech pathology) and different life's journey, with its own joys and rewards. Throughout the years, however, I've often pondered what happens to an unrealized passion –a dream deferred –as Langston Hughes asks in his poem. Does it dry up "like a raisin in the sun," or does it live on – stronger, more determined to survive in its own distinctive way?
What happened to my dream of becoming an historian, of studying and enjoying history as a lifelong passion?
Here's a clue from the book on my nightstand...
And the Audible book I'm listening to on my morning walks....
And the slew of historical places I've visited and PBS documentaries I've watched.
And the delight I felt while helping granddaughter Anna research Harriet Tubman and prepare a life-size poster of her for a 3rd grade project.
The list is endless. That is the point.
There's never just one way to honor your dream.
Whatever speaks to us, we must pursue, for it is a part of who we are.
I encourage you – or better yet – encourage yourself to realize your dreams.
Find your own path. And take a step!
I stood on the front porch of the cabin we were renting during spring break with our daughter and her family. Reflexively, I took a deep breath of coolness and exhaled slowly. The full moon was rising over the outline of an old cotton gin nearby. Frogs and crickets eased into their evening conversation, cranking up the volume as darkness settled in.
A train whistle signaled its approaching presence.
Any other evening at our home in the city, I would no doubt have been indoors. The moon would have knocked, but I wouldn't have answered. There was supper to fix and Wheel of Fortune to watch.
Early the next morning, my gaze followed the stream of sunshine across the wooden floor, up and out the window. An invitation.
With one flick of the quilt, I shunned my methodical morning routine of exercise, meditation, coffee, breakfast, shower, makeup, wardrobe selection and To Do list. . . slid on shoes, grabbed my jacket and camera (phone). Time was a-wastin'!
I had seen similar sights before, of course,
barn, fence, open field, grove of pine, flower and robin.
I had felt the freshness of dawn.
Yet, somehow, I had forgotten
Or had forgotten to notice.