What is it that keeps you and me from stepping out of our self-imposed boundaries to pursue our hearts desire? Things like starting a business of our own, writing a book, singing, painting, dancing, teaching, preaching, striving to become _________. You fill in the blank.
Are we too lazy to try? Or, is it lack of time or money stopping us? Do we think we are too old to start something new? Or, are we afraid to go beyond our area of expertise? Could it be that we are unwilling to risk giving up on our dream if it fails? Perhaps we just put things off believing that there will be time to do it ‘later’. But, what if there was no later date for you? What if this was your last year to make that dream come true? Would it matter then what others had to say about your ‘hair-brained’ ideas? Would you care if they claim you’ve reached that magical age of“Too old to do that now!”?
I don’t think any one of these reasons would matter if we knew for sure that this year was our last chance to attempt what we have always wanted to do. It is sad to think how many people won’t make a change or take any risks until they have nothing else to lose.
That is probably what motivated my aunt to change her priorities. A few years after she retired and was looking forward to spending time with her husband, he left her for another woman. Alone, without a career to keep her busy, and without a family to care for she lost her purpose for living. Depression took its toll. Her physical health suffered as her emotions took control. She became an angry, bitter woman with a toxic tongue who was not pleasant to be around. Then one day, before depression had completely killed her spirit and before she ran everyone off, something changed. Whether she sensed that her time was limited or had been told that it was I cannot say. I only know that the change in her perspective changed the quality of her life and made her one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known.
I remember the day she called to tell me of a decision she’d made. Her giddiness was contagious, and we laughed as she read a list she’d written of all the things she had always wanted to do. She proclaimed her objective was to tackle each and every one before she died. And she did.
Although she had always been an artist and writer, it was only after her 60 th birthday that my aunt took her creativity to the next level. Within a few years after she’d written her‘Bucket List’, her paintings were exhibited in San Antonio galleries, she was interviewed on a morning show (and was an absolute natural on camera), and some of her favorite stories were published. Her handmade dolls, jewelry, and pottery made their way into downtown art districts. She even had some pictures taken and drove to a local modeling agency and announced with a laugh:“Here I am, the beautiful Granny model you’ve been looking for!”
At the age when others are hanging up their gloves my aunt started putting up a good fight. And she won her life back. In this process she discovered that hope has the power to energize an aging body and mend a broken heart. Cora was living proof that an ordinary life can become an extraordinary adventure when each day is tacked as if it were the last.
If you are in a state of depression without hope for happiness or have started to slip into despondency, just remember Cora. She was living proof that happiness is a choice. I believe that burning hope does have the ability to warm our hearts and keep our spirits from withering away.
What is your hearts desire? The Bible says that without vision people perish. God-given vision, like the glowing embers in a campfire, need to be stoked in order to ignite and burst into flame. But keep in mind that even a raging fire slowly dies out if it is not refueled often and guarded well.
Awaken your dreams and fan the flame that will ignite what God has stored within you.