This is mostly going to be an "I'm so grateful" post. =) Because sometimes, we just need to take the time for those.
I saw a blog post last week that got me to thinking. It's about how artistic pursuits aren't silly, and begins with this young mom talking with another young mom at a playground. Stranger-mom says of her husband: "He wrote for years before we got married," she confessed, "but now we have kids and I told him to put that silliness away."
I don't know this blogger, much less the couple in question. But my writer-self ached for that husband at those words. (Same for the blogger--a post worth reading.)
I've always been a writer. And I've been so incredibly blessed to always have people around me who supported that. My parents never once told me to stop my silliness and come do something more constructive. They never once told me to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. They never once said, "Maybe you should consider doing something else with your life."
|From the surprise party my family threw in 2011, |
when I'd signed a contract for the Culper Ring Series
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for your endless support. Would I have had the strength to stick out this crazy-long process without you always telling me I could do anything? I'm not sure.
Then I fell in love young. David knew from the get-go that I was a writer, and that if he intended to have a life with me, he better accept that--more, I warned him early on that whoever I married would have to have a "real job" to support the family, so that I could write. I knew well it might take a while for that writing to bring in any money, but I also offered the happy thought that maybe it would take off and be our retirement plan. ;-)
David always supported my dreams. More, he rewrote his own to support mine better. He has started a publishing company for me. He has kept going in a job that he doesn't exactly love so I didn't have to go out and find other work. He reads everything I write, and he brainstorms with me when I'm stuck.
I know there are writers out there whose spouses don't support their crazy-writing-habit. Who think it's silly, or not worthwhile, or whatever. I'm so grateful to David for not being one of those. For being, instead, the kind of husband who says, "What can I do to help you get more writing done? I can take Xoe to ballet this week. I can pick up dinner. Just let me know."
I've been so blessed...and I know there are so many people out there who aren't supported like I am. And that makes me wonder how they manage to do the things they do.
How do you homeschool if your husband isn't totally on board, supporting and helping out?
How do you chase your dreams if you're surrounded by people who tell you that you can't, or you shouldn't?
How do you hold onto a good attitude if you're fighting every day just to be you?
To my younger readers who are just starting out in life, I would say this: make it clear, always, who you are and what you need in your life. Know those things that you require to be the person you want to be--whether it's an artistic pursuit, faith, sports, or whatever--and don't compromise. Don't ever think you can give up being you to get something else--the husband, the good job, whatever. Follow your calling, your dreams. And let those around you know that you need their support in that.
To my readers who are parents, I would say this: don't clip your kids' wings. Even if that thing they love makes no sense to you, have faith that God fashioned them just so, and your job, while certainly involving speaking reason and logic, is also to tell them that dreams are worth chasing--and worth working for. Help them know how to work for it.
To my readers whose parents are trying to stretch their wings once their kids are out of the house, I say this: encourage them to follow God's calling, no matter where that takes them, and rejoice in their freedom to do so. They sacrificed so much to raise you--cheer them on now, and be willing to sacrifice for them. Be proud of them, as they have been of you.
To my readers who have spouses with big dreams, I say this: be willing to step out in faith. To let them step out in faith. Big things are only ever accomplished with risk. Dreams are only ever achieved when someone dares to let go of what seems safe and steady. Respect that their desires aren't silly--not if it's part of God's calling on their life.
Don't make the people in your life have to struggle to feel like themselves in a world that wants to mold them into a box. Encourage them to break that mold. To spread their wings. To take risks. To sacrifice. Don't ever, ever be the cause of someone else giving up on something they love just because you deem it "silly." Be, instead, the person they thank in that acceptance speech. The person they never could have succeeded without.
And be grateful when they do the same for you. Because we all have those dreams. And none of us can reach them on our own.