Sometimes you have to go out of your way to see the stars.
The other night a couple of friends and I drove out to Hueco Tanks State Park just outside of El Paso to go stargazing.
Used to be, I’d step out onto my back deck in rural Virginia whenever I wanted to view the stars. Most nights I could see the Milky Way, it was so darn dark out there.
Not anymore. Now I live in a place where the lights never go out.
Sometimes I miss the darkness. And I especially miss the stars.
Light years away, they seem so far from our grasp.
Not unlike our dreams.
Sometimes we desire a thing so badly, yet it feels far out of our reach.
Like reaching for the stars.
Like building a log home in the woods in central Virginia, for example.
A far-away dream of mine, yet almost unbelievably, it came to fruition. And although my time there seemed short-lived, I know that home served its purpose. It planted the seeds for what would follow. Then I heard guidance ask me to leave that dream behind.
As if that were easy to do.
It reminds me of when I longed to have a child.
For six years I tried unsuccessfully, thinking there must be something more I could do – some other method David and I could try.
During that time, I simultaneously stumbled upon a path that led me on a deeper spiritual journey. One that taught me the meaning of detachment, of detaching from a specific outcome. Of surrendering to a God who is nothing but Love.
Still, when my 36th birthday came along and I was still childless, it was hard not to feel emotional. My mind told me “time was running out.”
I didn’t give up on my desire to have a child. But over the course of a painful journey of being attached to the outcome, I had learned to entrust the desires of my heart to God.
Whatever the result, I could trust the One who had placed the seed of that desire in me. I could trust the truth that “all things work together for good….”
In other words, I had set the intention and learned to let go of my demand for a certain outcome.
Months later I found myself pregnant, and before my 37th birthday, I had a child in my arms.
Now, again I find myself facing a desire to manifest a deeply held dream. One I’m passionate about that involves my writing.
It feels like my desire has been taking a long time to be realized. And yet again, I find myself relearning the lessons of patience and faith as I surrender control.
Because I know that whenever I am clinging to a particular outcome, my ego is still in control. Whenever I am attached to the way “I” think things should turn out, I’m not free. I’m not in the flow.
What are the deepest desires of your heart?
Do your dreams seem like stars out of your reach? Or are you clinging to them, unable to let go?
Here’s what I’d suggest:
Set your sights on the stars. Plant and nurture the seed of your deepest desires. Set your intentions.
Then relinquish the outcome. Open to the flow of creative possibilities.
Entrust the results to your co-Creator.
And watch the stars appear.
Sometimes good friends remind us of what we love most. They help us get back on track. Regain focus. Most importantly, knowing us as they do, they can help reignite our passion.
That’s what my dear friend Margaret did for me recently when she connected me with her longtime friends in Austin. Many years ago she and her husband Rich were part of a close-knit, socially conscious group of friends living in Austin that came together for one purpose: to serve the poor and marginalized in society.
Now these friends were hosting the national gathering of U.S./El Salvador Sister Cities — a grassroots organization that works in partnership with rural communities in El Salvador. Knowing my interest in social justice and immigration issues, as well as my pull to Latin America, Margaret, who now lives in Arkansas, thought I’d be interested. I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
It was just what I needed.
As I listened to speakers from various U.S. states and El Salvadoran communities share stories of their efforts to support sustainable communities, conduct anti-mining campaigns to stop corporations from pursuing mining projects that destroy the environment, and protect human rights, I knew. This is where I belong.
In the middle of my note taking I wrote: “I have a passion for this!”
I realized that this is what speaks to my heart. I also realized how far away I feel from what initially got me started on this journey of the heart.
Trying to make myself fit into this ministry I’ve been assigned to in San Antonio isn’t working. It’s clear. My heart’s not in it.
During these nearly three months I’ve asked God what I need to learn in this. I’ve waited. I’ve listened within. I’ve come up against some tough stuff both inwardly and outwardly. And I’ve been learning.
So, now what?
Possibly another assignment here with the same missionary program, but with a different focus, using my writing skills.
Possibly pursue something elsewhere. Like El Paso.
I don’t know. I do know I want to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice. I found that voice in El Paso. Maybe because that’s where I found my passion too.
In less than two weeks I will need to move. One way or the other. And I don’t know where I’m going. But I feel amazingly calm, especially for someone who has spent a great deal of her life worrying. Just ask my son.
Maybe that’s because deep within my inner being there’s a greater wisdom that knows this is just another step. Another risk to be taken. On the journey to fulfilling my passion and longing for my true Source.