Sitting in a coffee shop, soulful music playing. The sound of grinding coffee as the aroma assails my senses. I look around and see other people milling around me. My eyes are drawn to a girl at the table next to me. Propped up beside her is an overflowing bag – books spilling out around her feet. On the table beside her coffee cup is a large text and an array of highlighters. I smile. I used to be that girl…
I seems so long ago that I sat in this same coffee shop. Nestled in a amongst other businesses downtown, it can be a place of solitude. I would come here to study. Yes, I was that girl with a bag full of books. I was the girl with the massive amount of assignments with deadlines looming. As I sipped my latte, my eyebrows furrowed with worry – would it all be completed in time?
Yes. From this perspective, everything was completed in time. The degrees were earned. The success celebrated. The thirst for knowledge quenched and the sense of adventure awaiting me. But it didn’t last. It passed along with other dreams.
I sit and sip my latte now as a group of girls enter together, laughing as they place thier order. I smile. I was once in a group of those girls as well. It seems forever ago now. So carefree, no pressures. No stresses. Just fun. I have been that girl. But she is long gone now.
I look up and see another woman, accomplished. Dressed smartly, a powerhouse career woman who places her order and leaves in a rush of wind that brought her in. I smile at her – but not because I was her. I never actually was, though I dreamed about it. And let’s be honest, sometimes I still do. I wonder what it is like to be at the top of the game. What is it like to be a career woman? Does she feel fulfilled? I’ll never know. I can’t imagine being on the clock after the sun has gone down.
Then I see a woman I recognize. She looks tired and weary. She grabs a coffee with her husband who looks equally as worn out as she does. As they sink into the armchairs in the corner, I almost hear their collective sighs. Yes, I know you. Right now, I am you.
What have I become? Looking back at all these different woman who I have once been or once dreamed of being brings a twinge of discontent. I had such dreams. I had such goals. I would be a successful journalist. I would write a book. I would marry and have children. I would truly have it all.
How many of us look back on our lives and realize we have acheived our dreams? I would hazard a guess that perhaps not many of us have reached that place. And from where I sit right now, stealing glances of all these other people – I am okay with not acheiving mine.
Let me be real. It is currently a desire of mine to write a book. I don’t know what I would write about. But sometimes, I dream of holding a book in my hands with my name on the cover. It is as real as my dream was to be a career woman some years ago. But dreams change. And I now know why.
God has different plans.
Psalm 16:9 says, “we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Oh, how I understand this. It wasn’t in my plans to have children right away after I got married. That career woman plan was foiled with two pink lines that showed up on a test my last semester when I was mere weeks away from earning my second degree. A rush of emotions of excitement, fear and disappointment assailed me. But then as the weeks went on, only excitement. And when I saw that sweet baby face, fresh from my own womb – elation. I was blessed to experience this again, when my second son was born.
Plans changed. I became a stay at home mom – with that career woman plan pushed to the back burner. I was not ready to give up. Plan B was written – I would wait until my children were in school and then would become the career woman I wanted to be.
Plans changed once more. An autism diagnosis. And then another. A series of phone calls from the school requesting my presence. Over and over and over again. Goodbye, career woman.
The funny thing is, it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would to let that dream go. It feels like letting this dream go would hurt more. But, I am prepared. Because in the past ten years I have learned that His plans matter more.
My children are my career. Oh, how they need me. They depend on me to be there consistently. They need me to be there for them in so many different ways. The one to fight for them and their needs. The one who will sit through monthly meetings discussing their behaviour and acadmic struggles. The one who will make sure the house is clean, the laundry is done, the supper is on the table. The one who will guide them to make right choices. The one who will sit beside them as they cry. Who will hold them when they are the only one who hasn’t been invited to a birthday party. Again.
God’s path is staring me right in the face. As I sit here sippnig this latte in this quiet coffee shop, I know that. I don’t know if I will ever write a book (although I sure have lots to write about). This time that I have dedicated to write once a week often seems silly to me – I am not a writer. The dream is still there, but in my heart I know my God is enough. This blog is enough.
What have I become? Long gone is the carefree girl. Long gone the studious woman. Instead, a tired Mom who breathes a sigh of relief as she sits down with a latte and a laptop and writes. And I am so thankful for God’s path – because it is better than anything I could ever have dreamed up.