Thursday, September 22, 2011

Failure...or is it?

I love autumn.  There is something about the leaves turning varieties of orange, red, and yellow with the crisp sent of fresh air that makes my heart light.  The winds of change come through and quite our hearts and remind us of things like the family, rest, and, who can forget the amazing food! 

But something new has been in the air this year.  Aside from the shorter days and cool nights, this year the winds have brought a new sense of life.  Questions of dreams, legacy, and prospects of who and what we are broadcast throughout the nations and the quite restlessness of my heart.  

From Egypt riots to Palestine’s questions of statehood, to the economic crisis that has left even the most stable running for the bank, the world is full of change.  This has called into question ideas of who we are as a nation and for what we stand.  People are quick to pass judgment on how decisions are being made in the political and diplomatic world without seriously considering the processes and consequences of each decision that is made.  Failure seems to be a popular word these days in many circles.  Yet, those same people are much less quick to judge their own decisions and life.  Why?  Because it is scary.

This idea came to me as I was listening to another person complain about the state of the nation.  I thought how easy it is for us to look at the bad and fail to see the good.  But, more so, I thought how easy we switch focus from ourselves to things beyond our own control.  So, I thought I would evaluate my own life and dreams.  

When I was in high school, contrary to what most people believe, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life.  I thought, much like most people I went to school with, that I would be married by the time I was twenty-five.  I thought I would have seen the world, and with good measure I would have a great job.  If I judged my life by those goals today, I would be a failure (and I will be honest, sometimes it feels that way).  However, I have discovered I have new goals and dreams, many have been informed by the former and I have succeeded at accomplishing those goals.

For me, marriage is not the goal for a couple reasons.  Half of all marriages end in divorce and of the remaining 50% I would say half are unhappy marriages.  Not great prospects.  The reason they end is because they are set upon the societal expectation of marrying.  This is a false hood.  We are not called to get married (not that I have anything against it).  The greatest commandment is not to marry God and the marry others.  Nay, it is to love God and then love others.  So my new goal is simply to love…and hopefully be loved in return.  I believe I have succeeded in that goal ten fold.  

Secondly, though I have traveled and do wish to see all seven continents before I die, I do believe that traveling in and of itself is not worth it.  Just seeing the tourist sites offers much to be desired in the purpose of travel.  One must learn about the culture they visit.  Not only does it help encourage friendship and understanding, but it opens our eyes to a world of difference.  How can we expect to love and be loved if we isolate our understanding of others?  So, my new goal is to travel with purpose.  When I visit a new place I have learned to learn about the culture I visit whether that be domestic travel or international.  Through this process the travel experience has been heightened and my love for others has increased (back to goal one).  

Lastly, every one wants a good job…I think it is innate.  We all desire to work well at something we love.  Though I have yet to find that, I have not given up hope that I will one day.  So, until that particular goal has been fulfilled I have modified it, to be a help not a harm to those I work with and to do so with a joyful heart and gratitude attitude.  After all, I am one of the fortunates who have a job and an income.  Additionally I have the bonus of working by the beach so I get a walk on the beach every day at lunch.  The perk is enough sometimes. 

When you look at these goals (and they are not all my goals), it would be easy to say, “She is a failure.”  After all, I am a single twenty something in a crappy job stuck in California.  And I suppose, with those glasses, I am a failure.  But I see myself as just getting started.  The processes have changed a little and the reality is that my goals have too.  So, am I failure?  Nay!  I am an adapter and fighter.  

I challenge you this week, amidst all the doom and gloom coming from the newspapers and the challenges of making the bills and dealing with that one person at work you would rather shove the pencil through than talk to, that you re-evaluate your own life.  Remember that by the same measure you judge others, so shall you be judged.  And then, when that fails, remind yourself that you are amazing and worth the adaptation of noticing the small gifts of success you truly have achieved.  

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