Patience

February 19, 2009

I’ve been waiting for this day for years.  The quintessential question of youth is “What are you going to be when you grow up?”  And by that, of course, we mean “What job will you have?” Well, now I’m here; I’m out of school, and by virtue of the fact that I have a job, I guess that means I’m grown up.  But what I wanted to “be” is lacking.  It seems I’m still waiting around for that magical moment when I’ll have the life I dream of.  Where is that magical career in theatre that will fulfill all the wild dreams I’ve had for so long?

The answer, which I have learned and am learning, is two-fold.  The first and simplest is that I’m going to have to wait for it.  God is not the business of giving us things exactly when and how we want them (usually).  If David spent his entire childhood as a shepherd boy and then had to spend  years hiding out in the wilderness waiting for Saul to die before he became king,  and Jesus spent thirty years working as a carpenter before people had any idea who he was, then I can wait a few years for my life to get more exciting.  But in both these cases, what might seem like a pointless waiting period was actually a vital time of preparation and testing that readied them for them for the difficult “careers” that lay in front of them.

The second, and more difficult, answer is that maybe that “magical career” that will “fulfill” me doesn’t exist at all.  Maybe I’ve put too much hope into this one small aspect of my life.  We as modern people tend to be very job-oriented.  We expect our jobs to fulfill us, to feed us, to give our lives meaning, to be the source of social connections, to keep us busy, to be fun, to be exciting, and on and on.  We expect them to “make” our lives.  Why is it that the question of what you want to be when you grow up is really just a question about what job you want to have?  When I think about it this way, I realize maybe I need to stop dreaming about the work that’s going to make my life fulfilling, and start working on making the life I have right now more fulfilling.*

So essentially, regardless of what my answer is, the response in my life is the same: use the time I have now.  Whether the experiences I’m having are preparing me for exactly the dreams I have now (which I doubt), or current events will lead me in a completely different direction from the career I have in mind (which I also doubt), what I need to do is invest what is happening right now.  And I’m guessing that though things probably won’t turn out exactly the way I dream them, my preparations for those hopes are readying me for what God really has in store.

And despite the fact that my life isn’t as glamorous as I’d like it, I’m learning a lot right now.  I’m learning how to cook, something that I’ve found I enjoy immensely.  I’m learning how to plan my finances, to set a budget and save for the future.  I’m learning the discipline of regular exercise (something I could never manage with my hectic college schedule).

I’m investing in the opportunities I have right now, to prepare myself for greater challenges.  I’m reading a TON of plays and theatre theory, to better prepare myself for the challenges of directing.   I’m training in two very useful acting techniques, Viewpoints and Chekhov, which I hope will make me a better actor.  I’m currently writing and researching a new play that I’m very excited about, that I hope to be able to put on stage in the next year or so.  And I’m learning the fine art of networking.  The little collective I’ve started is opening up the possibility of meeting all kinds of people, and it’s been so exciting to connect with them.

But still, patience is hard.  Hardly a day goes by where I don’t wish I had more time to do what I love.  I feel like things are moving at a snail’s pace, and I wish the Lord would just miraculous open all the doors of the future and hand me my dream career on a silver platter.  But that’s not how life works, or how God works.  I’m going to have to work for it, and wait for it, and pray for it, and in the fullness of time, it’ll happen.

*A footnote: A lot of these ideas come from an amazing book I read recently, Your Money or Your Life.   I’m planning to do a blog post on it at some point, but until then you can just take my word for it that you must read it.  It will (probably) change your life.

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One Response to “Patience”

  1. jhistorian said

    Patience is so unbelievably hard at times. I’ve had a lot of these same thoughts and feelings as of late…you are not alone!

    God is good though…and these times and experiences are molding and shaping us for the end goals that we continue to dream about.

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