Life is never as dreamy as we expect it to be. We have everything we want and need, but it’s not satisfying.
I have the best family, the best job, the best pets, the best opportunity I could ever wish for, and plenty of financial safety to pursue my many dreams with ease and comfort and zeal. But why isn’t this enough?
When I was in high school, I was as happy as they come. I always looking at the other side, waiting for the day I would burst forth with every ounce of exuberance I could muster. I hung my proverbial hat on wishes and dreams, saying to myself, “It’s okay, because when I finally do [this] or when I finally go [there], that’s when it will all come together.”
I went off to college in Sterling, Kansas, got involved in things, and started my life. I did well; I succeeded more than I’d ever dreamed. God blessed my time there. There was nothing else to wish for.
Over Christmas break of my sophomore year, it hit me. I was scheduled to leave home the next day for the second semester and the indoor season of track and field. Mom, Dad, and I stood around in the kitchen. My heart was heavy; but I didn’t know what to say. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to leave home. Things had gone well at Sterling, but I felt as though the world was a different place. It was different from the world I knew just a year and a half earlier. As I looked into my mom’s sparkling hazel eyes, my whole life seemed to come and go in a flash. Dad’s gentle embrace seemed more special than ever. But what was I to say? That it had taken me a year and a half to get homesick for the first time?
I had felt incredibly blessed by God Almighty. But through every blessing, all I could see was the gift of family. Nothing else mattered. Home was where God dwelt invariably. I never had to wonder whether there would be discord within those four walls; there never was. My godly parents were so humble before God and so loving toward one another that no disagreement was ever allowed to turn into an issue. As they loved, they taught us to love. We all knew each other like the backs of our hands.
This was the same home I had so longed to leave. It was the same house with the same family and the same pets. The only thing that had changed was me. As I rode away on that train, I couldn’t stop the tears. I wasn’t excited to go back – back into success, independence, and dreams coming true.
As New Mexico wastelands faded into Kansas cornfields, I dried my tears and resolved to peacefully and prayerfully continue my life back in Sterling.
Interterm classes began, training re-commenced, and I felt like a different person. My focus was crooked – but in a good way. I was pursuing God’s wisdom more than ever before. I didn’t want the glow of home to wear off – and God was the one thing that made home and the people there so bright and beautiful.
I was walking to my room after class one day when a miserable aching started to arrest my whole being. It was a strange and irremediable dread that I couldn’t cure by getting busy on homework or going for a long walk. Getting busy usually did the trick; working has always been a booster for me… but tonight, the homework sat un-touched. I wanted to cry, but there wasn’t anything to cry about. Everything was fine.
When I cried out to God, He was silent; it was like He wanted me to come to some conclusion on my own. I just wanted Him to tell me what was going on. The whole thing was too absurd, too abnormal for me to figure out on my own. I called my dad, choking out a long string of uncertainties through the tears. He just told me to pray; to listen; to really hear God.
Well, that wasn’t working, I told myself. But he was right – what else was there to do? There was no “right answer” to this.
I started to pack. I dismantled everything in my room and shoved my suitcases full of everything I didn’t have to use in the next few days. I still wasn’t sure if this was the right thing, but I had to do something. As my room turned into a barren drifter’s quarters, I smiled. I wasn’t sure, but I smiled. I didn’t know why, but I was certain from then on that I was supposed to leave.
God has used that situation in my life not only to teach me something about myself, but to show me more of Him – to challenge my faith. All that dreaming and wishing I did in high school – all the plans and musings – weren’t complete. I loved my family, but I’d never been without them. How can you truly love something you’ve never had to live without?
I still dream, but it’s not the same. God’s constantly reminding me that He’s the one who makes dreams come true. He’s the only reason I was successful in the past, and He’ll be the only reason I’ll be successful in the future. I’ve tried for so long to make my own rainbow; but God’s got a million rainbows He wants to freely give me. And just when I think I can’t handle any more rainbows, He reveals there’s gold at the end of each one.