I remember a few years ago writing a short story while I was back in college about a kid watering a plant every day, attempting to make it grow. While that miiiiiiight sound sort of simple on paper, there was a much, much deeper meaning and significance hidden behind it.
You see, in that short story, the kid kept watering the plant religiously as he was instructed to do each and every single day.
The plant, no matter how hard he seemed to try, NEVER rose above the ground - it always seemed to be trapped beneath the surface.
In other words, this poor kid was slaving away each day hoping and praying to see the fruits of his labor quite literally rise above the surface... but the results never seemed to appear.
Naturally, this would frustrate many people - and this kid certainly wasn't any exception to the poll. He grew angry at himself and the world. He didn't understand why something he had concentrated so much effort into hadn't been working. He constantly compared his work (or lack thereof) to the other children's gardens - the gardens that had seen results.
The gardens that his would NEVER be. Or so he thought.
This bred impatience in the kid. And his faith, which had previously been so impenetrable, started to slowly wither away with each and every passing day he looked outside only to be greeted by the absence of something - anything - beautiful.
Still, despite these trying circumstances, the kid kept on watering the plant. Something inside him wanted to see it grow so badly that he was willing to push through all the pain at the here and now.
Something inside him told him not to "give up". And clinging to that indescribable voice from an indescribable place, he continued watering the plant through the many seasons that developed and passed.
There were days in the winter time where it was so cold he could barely feel his hands as he stood over the unchanging dirt pile pouring drop after drop of hope on top of it. There were moments in the summer time where he struggled to find the energy just to walk a few short steps towards it - overcome with emotion that so much time had passed and there was STILL nothing there.
Those were the moments the kid remembered the most. Because he wasn't blind or ignorant - even HE knew that most people would walk away from those ind of moments. Yet, here he was. And here the plant (or rather, pile of dirt) was as well. And he knew that after all he had done and poured into it... there was no way in hell he could turn his hands away from it.
Not now. He had come too far now.
Doubt inevitably filled the kid's head as he laid awake each night. Maybe he just wasn't meant to grow plants, he thought. Maybe his purpose in life was for something else. But then, he remembered WHY he kept going. He remembered that it was his PASSION that woke him up to try again each morning. And maybe, just maybe, he thought... it would be his PASSION that would make him succeed. One day. Someday. Eventually.
Even if he couldn't see it, something just told him... something just told him to keep going.
Other people laughed at the kid's "failure". While others were more sympathetic and encouraged him forward. Yet, between the criticism and empathy, the kid didn't pay attention to anything other than that pile of dirt. He didn't pay attention to anything other than his "craft". Then, as another sleepless night occurred, he decided to get out of bed and walk outside and sit next to it.
Putting his hand gently over the dirt, the kid closed his weakened eyes. He imagined just how amazing it would feel to walk out there one morning and see all his work come to life. More than anything, however, he imagined something already down there, beneath the surface. He imagined that something had been growing the entire time, but it just wasn't ready to break through....
Unbeknownst to the kid, he was right. Something had been growing underneath the dirt. Not to mention, in himself too.
. . .
What is it about dreams that keeps us up at night? Everyone has them. Everyone feels them. And yet, the tragedy of dreams is when we fail to pursue them.
The worst thing you can EVER do in life is reject your passion... because whether you believe it or not, everybody has passion in life. Everybody has a gift in life. And it's up to us and us alone to either use it... or dismiss that gift entirely.
Let me tell you, right here, right now, that absolutely NOTHING worth it comes easy in life. And that's a good thing, trust me... because if it WAS easy... how exactly would that feel worth it?
...But that's also the problem... because when a dream or a passion IS difficult to achieve, many of us feel inclined to move our hands away from it - much like the kid over that pile of dirt.
What we don't realize, especially in the beginning, is that everything we put into a dream - every draft, every small step, every rejection, every ounce of blood and sweat - IT ALL GOES SOMEWHERE.
And just because you might not be able to see it, doesn't mean you just "give up". It means that flower beneath the surface is just another inch closer to bursting through - and it's up to YOU to pull it up another inch further. One day at a time. One week at a time. One year...
"It's the journey, not the destination." And the sooner we look at our gift from that perspective (and again, I say "OUR" because I'll fight till the end saying that everybody on this planet has a gift), the sooner the journey itself can truly begin - and as I'm in the middle of my own "journey", if you will, right now... I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart...
The journey is the absolute best part.
. . .
Do you know just how big that kid's flower grew?
Do you know that the only reason it took longer than most other kids in the neighborhood is that it needed the space and time to fully develop?
Did you know that the most special things in this universe never come easy? But when they DO begin to break open and come true, there's nothing that can stop it or you?
Did you know that the desire to "be something" or "be somebody" will ALWAYS overpower doubt or outside criticism? Did you know it will always manage to siphon gas even when your tank says E?
Did you know it will always find a way to wake you up each day? Because, reader... that's just what TRUE passion does - it wakes us up to what we can potentially become.
...as long as we're willing and brave enough to go down the journey of getting "there".
To everybody out there that has a dream... do me, but most of all, yourself a favor... and go out and pursue it.
Keep watering it each and every day... and if you ever feel discouraged along the way, just remember that's NORMAL.
I can't even begin to tell you the amount of days where I wanted to "give up" or felt like I was writing something the world would "never see or read"!
But that's the strange and unique thing about being human - we all have those "weak" moments in life... but then, there are also the other moments. There are the other moments where we find strength to keep going. Even when the wind is directly in our face, trying to push us back, we keep moving forward. And that's how winners are made.
That's how dreams can and do come true.
I hope you all continue to keep going.
I hope you all continue to keep fighting for whatever that passion is inside you.
Because I'm not giving up on mine... and if I can make it, I'm pretty sure every person out there in the world can too.
Keep watering the plant. Despite what you can "see", it's always growing beneath the surface. And the moment it breaks through to the light - well, admittedly, that's the moment I'm chasing each and every day. I want that moment. And you know what? I'm going to get it too. And so will you.
Because while I don't know what it all means... what I DO know - perhaps what I've ALWAYS known - is that it's worth it.