I lay in bed, willing my eyes to open, in the haze between the alarm sounding and actually getting up. I had one thought in my head – I’m living the dream.
I often say this phrase with a fair amount of sarcasm dripping from my words. But the day after Labor Day I lay there thinking it in all it’s literalness and honesty. Because while I may not be living the proverbial American dream, I am certainly living my dream.
For the last several years my dream has been to find where I make a difference. Where I can answer God’s call with my particular talents. Where I can be a part of my community. Where I can be a mom and make a difference both. Where I can be a part of something bigger. For the last several years I have prayed, and wished, and hoped. I have had prayers answered with a no, and wishes gone ungranted, and hopes fade into dust. All to bring me to right here.
My dream I am living started with a move to a small town on a big lake, that was meant to be a stopping point on our path to where we wanted to really be. Then we grew to love this town, and we started to imagine raising our boys here and growing old while watching sunsets over the lake and taking walks on the beach and window shopping along the downtown.
While this love was taking shape, another dream was starting – to lead a program of young men, both on a football field and off. And along side all of this, discontent was growing with the climate of healthcare and the ability to make a difference at work, and the lack of time to make a difference at home. The idea of having it all was seeming impossible and the idea of having nothing seemed probable.
Then things began to fall into place, although sometimes they seemed like they weren’t. After a long interview process, my husband earned a head coaching job in this little town we love. And they had a position in the school for him that is both challenging and rewarding.
Then I lost my job doing training in healthcare. Two steps forward, one back. But that allowed me to examine what I really wanted to do, and it really wasn’t training in healthcare. I got my teaching certification back, and was offered the perfect job for me – teaching technology to K through 3rd grade students.
The course was never smooth, with waits that seemed too long, people who viciously and revengefully tried to derail our train, and moments that, well, sucked. But the thing is, living the dream isn’t about life being ever blissful and problems never arising. It’s about feeling like you are where you belong, and feeling content with that place. I’m not so naive that I think we will never have tough times again, but I have the belief that the dream will come again when we do.
I finally opened my eyes and got up that day. I went to my new job, where I had fun and laughed and smiled. I had people offering kind and encouraging words, and I had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children in my community. I got to see my kids while I was at work. Later that month, we walked in homecoming parades through our downtown, and celebrated football victories like we were local celebrities. I soaked it all in.
My dream may be simple to some. It may seem like a story line out of a Friday Night Lights episode, with the small town teachers and football games and parades through town. But it’s my dream. And I can’t help but tear up when I stop and think about the fact that I’m living it. Life is good, and I’m living the dream.