Following dreams and doing your purpose while living in the shadow of mortality makes life so sweet.
We had a rough year in 2011. My husband’s health was in crisis, and the whole year we were in “survival mode”—me working three jobs to keep the boat afloat, Mike doing what he could while recovering from three major surgeries and their unfortunate and scary complications. For the first time, we were empty nesters in the truest sense of the word, going through these tests without our children, leaning on each other as our main support. It made our marriage stronger. (These things can go either way, that’s for sure!)
We made it through that awful year. Mike has a clean bill of health, and is rebuilding his strength—and both of us, tested in that crucible, have come out more productive than ever. Since then, we rededicated our wedding vows and fell in love again on our road trip last year.
On that road trip, we found out we were the same people we’d fallen in love with thirty years ago—only better. Kinder. More forgiving. Less volatile. Still passionate and hard working, but not as competitive with each other and the rest of the world. Character growth is continuing to happen. It feels good to know you’re in the process of being refined and that the gold is getting purer. The Bible promises us that when we keep throwing ourselves in God's direction–and I believe it's true, whatever your spiritual persuasion.
Mike is doing what he’s always loved to do—his art in woodwork , service to others, and taking amazing photos of nature and people. I’m writing up a storm, enjoying my own photography and the work I do in counseling and therapy.
Sometimes, it takes a lot of years to shape an arrow so it can fly straight to the bullseye. Could we have done what we’re doing now when we were younger? I don’t think so. We had other goals then, the needs of our kids to think about, and the life of a creative person is an uncertain rollercoaster—and that’s on a good day. Even when things are going well, as they are currently for us, it's a little bit scary. The life of a freelancer is not for the faint of heart–and yet, oh so satisfying to know you're doing what you were put on the planet to do!
If you only had a few more years to live (and who knows, for any of us) what burns in your heart to do? And what stops you from doing it? Make a plan to do follow your dream. There’s nothing to lose but precious time, and it's never to late to start.
What a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to your marriage. Yes, adversity either makes a marriage stronger or makes it fall apart. I prefer the makes us stronger scenario. Congratulations on 30 years together, his clean bill of health and following your dreams.
Thank you Julia! Sometimes people assume it’s all been easy…and it’s good to show what’s really gone before.
Hello Toby. As a person of faith, and one who has a passion for creative photography, I found your post to be encouraging. I hope to follow my dreams as well one day.
Hi David, KEEP GOING!
Beautiful, Toby! Thank you for sharing these thoughts.
Beautiful post, Toby. I believe God supports us when we try to walk in His footsteps. After working in a high-stress job for nearly 22 years, I’ve chosen to step away from it and do what makes me happy.
Great post. I would travel the world and move to an island. We are working toward those things, and I go on at least one trip a year. What stops me from seeing the whole world right now is the need to have at least some retirement savings, the need to work, and some of the issues happening in the world that have made a few of my must-see places a no-go right now. 🙁
As for the island, we’re busy working to make sure that our move is a successful one. Sure, we could do it without having our careers more established, with less money, and without a plan, but I think it’s worth taking just a bit more time to make sure we do it right. And I hope I’m correct about that!
Difficulty removes the dross. In your case, you were left with gold. Good stuff. Thanks for the reminder.
The world turns on a dime. We just don’t know when it will wobble and dip in our direction. When someone enters the dark depth of life’s caverns and then climbs out and tells you, “it can get cold and foreboding down there but when you climb back up you will be much stronger for it,” it gives you hope, it makes you admire them for their strength and happy to count them as a friend. I enjoyed this post.