Saturday, January 28, 2012

You're Almost There

How do you move forward in life when you can’t see where you’re going? I’ve always had a clear vision. I’ve always known without question my goals, my direction, my path, my purpose. All through high school I took the classes I knew would get me into a good college, a good program. I knew college was the goal, not because I was encouraged to go (my parents liked the idea, but study past high school was not an assumed part of life) but because I knew what a college education would get me. A college education would get me a career, not a job. A college education would give me the step up I needed to improve my lot, to better my path, to ensure a different life for the children I had planned but had not yet had. It was absolutely clear to me that I would go to college.

Once in college, I was focused, determined, dead set on that end goal. I would get that degree regardless the work that had to be done to acquire it, regardless who I had to step over, what I had to plow through to get it. And I did. I got the degree. I started the family. I parented. I set up house. I took the part-time positions and volunteer opportunities and pursued further education. I danced through my life always according to this vision that lay in my head, according to this plan that was so clearly laid out. So now I find myself ready for that next step. I find myself ready, but somehow I have lost the vision.

I am in a good spot for me. I know that. I have done well in my life and have been successful at putting myself in places where I have had opportunity to use the gifts I have been given. I have opportunity, in fact, every day to teach and to speak and to write, to uplift, motivate, move, encourage, inspire. Yes. I am in a good spot. I am in a good spot, and I am ready to step forward, ready for the next challenge, ready to use my gifts for a bigger purpose. But for the first time in my life, I just cannot see this purpose, this path, this picture. I cannot see. I am like a driver in the fog, only able to peer out as far as my headlights. I go to class. I post to blog. I mother and counsel and work hard on my marriage. For the first time in my life, though, I cannot see what comes next. I feel the call. I feel the urge. I feel pulled toward something, but I have no idea what that something is. I know it’s there, but where is there?

I’m ready for the assignment. I am. But what exactly is that assignment?

I have a blind student this semester. I am learning a lot from her. She listens. She listens to others, to her environment, to her feelings, her instincts. “You are at the corner,” another will tell her. “There are three seats in your row. The woman who sits in your seat from the other class is not out yet. I will tell you when it is clear.” This student is unique because she has no vision at all. I have had other students with limited vision, but she has none. She is totally dependent on her other senses. She listens to my movements as I work myself around the room. She follows me with her head. She can see me without her eyes. She has a “watch” that talks to her, that tells her when class is almost finished, but I have noticed that she will pick it up, will fidget with it shortly before it goes off. She has a feel for the time, a feel for where we are in lecture. She has a good guess for the character, too, of fellow students. There is no prejudging since there is no color or gender or socioeconomic status. I have listened to the comments she makes to someone as she sums them up, as she asks them questions about themselves in the getting to know you stage. I am always impressed at how very accurate she is, how very insightful. I am learning from her that sometimes vision actually impairs sight.

I’m wondering if I might use this lesson to help me move forward in my own life. I’m wondering if I might relax a bit and rely less on what I see for my future and more on how I feel. I’m wondering if I might pause a minute to listen, to listen to others as they guide me, as they show me the way, to listen to my environment, to listen to my heart. I’m wondering if I might start trusting my instinct a bit, my intuition, my (gasp!), my gut. I’m wondering if I might start getting a feel for where to go, which way to turn. I’m wondering if I can, indeed, move forward in my life guided not by my vision, by the pictures I see in my head, but by the voices in my heart, the whispers of my soul. “You are doing fine. You are almost there.”

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