Live your dream..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

WHILE in my cousins house a few weeks ago I saw a lovely paint­ing of a ship on her wall and on go­ing closer re­al­ized it was painted by my un­cle who had re­tired as a very se­nior of­fi­cer in the Air Force. “I didn’t know he could paint!” I said. “Even dad didn’t know,” said my cousin with a smile, “till he had a heart at­tack, was forced to take rest and found he had a tal­ent to paint!”There was once a young man who, in his youth, pro­fessed his de­sire to be­come a great writer. When asked to de­fine “great” he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that peo­ple will re­act to on a truly emo­tional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!”

He now works for a soft­ware com­pany, writ­ing er­ror mes­sages. Those beau­ti­ful dreams we have for the rest of our lives too of­ten don’t ma­te­ri­al­ize. And, again too of­ten, we look back dis­sat­is­fied with the di­rec­tion we took or the place we fi­nally reached. Fred­er­ick Buech­ner, in his book The Hun­ger­ing Dark(New York: Se­abury Press, 1968), talks about look­ing back at high school year­books.

He plays a sad game, re­mem­ber­ing what all his class­mates hoped and dreamed of be­com­ing. “In my class, as in any class, at any school,” he says, “there were stu­dents who had a real flair, a real tal­ent, for some­thing. Maybe it was for writ­ing or act­ing or sports. Maybe it was an in­ter­est and a joy in work­ing with peo­ple. Some­times it was just their ca­pac­ity for be­ing so alive that made you more alive to be with them. Yet now, a good many years later, I have the feel­ing that more than just a few of them are spend­ing their lives at work in which none of these gifts is be­ing used. This is the sad­ness of the game ..”

Matt Lamb could have been one of those peo­ple. Un­til 1987, Matt owned and ran his own funeral home in Chicago. But that year, a doc­tor told Matt that he had a fa­tal dis­ease. So he closed the funeral home and pur­sued his true pas­sion, paint­ing.

Soon, Matt’s art drew na­tional at­ten­tion. He be­came quite suc­cess­ful. Only af­ter Matt had found suc­cess in his dream ca­reer did doc­tors dis­cover that they had mis­di­ag­nosed him. He wasn’t go­ing to die af­ter all. A mis­di­ag­no­sis may have saved him from a life of mean­ing­less­ness. Not that own­ing one’s own small busi­ness is in any way un­wor­thy, but it sim­ply was not Matt’s true pas­sion. In his heart, he wanted to paint, and he would never be truly happy un­til he pur­sued that dream, wher­ever it fi­nally led him.

What does it take to move us to fol­low our pas­sions? Must we face a cri­sis be­fore we step off safe, known path onto the un­known trail of ad­ven­ture we’ve dreamed of fol­low­ing all our lives? Singer Joan Baez re­minds us: “You don’t get to choose how you’re go­ing to die or when. You can only de­cide how you’re go­ing to live.” That de­ci­sion is too im­por­tant to put off an­other day..! Email:bob­s­ban­ter@gmail.com

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