For the first time in what seemed like weeks, January 1, 2020 dawned clear and cold. And just like that, a new year burst forth with one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen, in a river bottom that is, simple as it may seem, one of my favorite places on Earth.
I thought about what the year might hold for me - personally, professionally, spiritually - and how a new year seems like a new chance for so many of us. As a newly published author, I thought about what might be in store for me there. Would I sell many more books? Would I be able to get my second book out as planned? Would the feedback on my first novel be encouraging enough that I would even want to put myself through it again? I gathered my thoughts, summarized them as succinctly and generically as I could, and made a few social media posts while I watched the colors of the sky swirl like a kaleidoscope and then merge into a single pastel blue. And then I forgot about it.
And then, almost a month later, out of the blue (pun probably intended), this was given to me:
As you can probably tell, it is a painting. A beautiful painting done by a friend, but not the kind of friend I grew up with or who comes over to watch TV or meets up with us on vacation, but the kind my wife and I love to see around town and cheer beside at school sporting events, and smile and talk with for a few minutes when the occasion arises. Yet this friend, who for now wishes to remain anonymous, felt compelled by my social media post to paint this painting. The friend told me about how the idea of brand new hopes and dreams touched her heart. In fact, "A New Hope And Dream" was the name for the painting, carefully brushed onto the back of the canvas.
This friend shared with me how she had wanted to be an artist since she was a young girl, but life and family obligations got in the way.
Until one day they didn't.
Until one day when she finally began to release all that had been begging to see the light for so many years.
She tells me that she is not where she wants to be as an artist, that she is still learning. In fact, that very thing made her reluctant to let me share her work here. But the quality of the painting - which to my eye is spectacular - is not a point to be discussed here. The point is that she did it. The point is that she had a hope and dream to paint, and she did it. One day, she picked up a brush, and she made the first stroke. And then another and another and another. And in painting, she found a unique type of joy and peace and satisfaction.
I remember the day in 2015 - July 5th, to be exact - when I finally sat down and began typing on the novel I'd been kicking around in my head for so many years. The novel for which I had found every excuse not to begin for so long. But once I finally started, I haven't looked back. If I never write another word or sell another book or publish another piece, it will still be one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life.
Now, here is the point of my ramblings. If you have something you've always wanted to do, DO IT! A new hobby, a full time business venture or a side hustle, an artistic endeavor, a trip you want to take - whatever your hope and dream is - DO IT!
Time waits for no one, and it certainly won't wait for you. The Bible tells us that in this life we are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Maybe you believe your sun is still rising, or maybe you know it's already reached its apex and is drifting westward. Either way, you know it won't stay up there forever! Pick up your brush and start painting your dream. I don't think you'll regret it.
"...the more you see of life outside the narrow circle of your work the better equipped you will be for the struggle." - Sir William Osler