Sometimes it might feel like I’m living in a dream world where the sun rises behind the mountains casting a soft glow as it wakes the world. Where the fog slowly lifting makes the phrase “misty mountains” come alive, and the Church bells are pealing in the distance welcoming in a new day. Where the white mountaintops beautifully remind you that winter is coming and everyone greets each other with good morning and a smile. Where the birds are singing, the air is clean, and cobblestone road running past your house leads to fresh coffee and flowers.
….Yeah. That’s all true. : ) But the fog hasn’t cleared in a week and the bells at 7am aren’t so welcome. Neither are the birds or the screaming baby for that matter. That cobblestone road is picturesque but pushing a stroller over it can be painful and you will always spill your fresh coffee because the road is uneven. And the dog in the flower shop will most likely distract the baby and you’ll lose her for a second. The running, skiing, and mountain climbing gear in the other shops will remind you that you haven’t done, well, any of that yet. The white on the mountains reminds you that winter is coming if the 20 minutes it takes to dress small children for the morning walk to school isn’t clear enough. And the smiling people wishing me good morning are a stark reminder that I’m in a different culture and boy do I wish I could speak the language!
Dream? Well it’s certainly a lovely place. More often than not however, I feel more like this:
I think we are easily fooled into believing we know what will make us satisfied. We can be extremely illogical in our reasoning. We know many good things; finishing our homework, getting good grades, being in a relationship or fixing a family relationship. Or things that make us happy- generally as well as with ourselves: skiing down a mountain, learning another language, conquering a fear, traveling abroad. But we piece those things together and are convinced good things = satisfaction, which if true is coincidental and not formulaic.
There’s an important moment in everyone’s life (actually, hopefully many moments) where one finds themselves satisfied with their life and very happy- but as a result of a series of events they did not plan. We’ve all heard someone say “If I had known 3 years ago I’d be here right now, I wouldn’t have believed you.” We try so hard and yet it seems fate has a history of knowing much us much better than we know ourselves. I’ve become a person who doesn’t like excuses, particularly from myself. If I want something, I have to at least try, because the worst excuse for me is “well, I haven’t done it/tried it yet.”
I’m in danger of becoming an addict to extreme life decisions: now that I’m in Bavaria, I want to get to another country. I could list 10 for you right now. I’m barely able to speak German, but I’m simultaneously ready to give up and desperate to learn it all so I can start on a new language. I’ve been skiing but never on a mountain, ergo… mountains are up next. I hear other people’s travel stories and want that to be my life. I hear other people’s adventures and want to have my own. But to what purpose? 3 months ago I could have told you I’m so excited to be moving to a new country, learning a new language, and simply soaking in the beauty of a new view and culture. 3 months later, I’m here and looking for more.
I believe we are meant to live lives full of beauty, which is seen only through other people or creation. That we are meant to go out and experience as much of the world as possible, but so as to experience therefore more of God who created it. If I look forever to the “next cool thing,” or the next “BA adventure,” or the hardest, most challenging, most fulfilling thing I could think of, I will do hundreds of awesome things but I will never be satisfied.
On a basic level, we must learn to live in the moment, because that is perhaps the only thing we will ever have control over. On a spiritual level, we must learn to have a life lived as a return gift of love to God; one in which we can find contentment solely in sharing life with Him.
It is only by closing the door on any part of life that claims it will fulfill you that you can enjoy all life has to offer without becoming a hollow person forever chasing dreams.