“That which the dream shows is the shadow of such wisdom as exists in man, even if during his waking state he may know nothing about it…. We do not know it because we are fooling away our time with outward and perishing things, and are asleep in regard to that which is real within ourself.” ~Paracelsus, quoted in The Dream Game
What is important? What is vital and necessary? Everything in my life boils down to those two questions. More specifically, the answers to those questions have determined what sacrifices are being made with the hope of attaining something more than perishable things. Allow me to explain.
Dean Koontz’s wife supported him for five years. She made the comment that if he couldn’t make it as an author by the end of that time frame, then he never would. By the time that five year period had ended, she had to quite her job just to manage the business end of his career. Does everyone need to leave gainful employment in order to become a successful author? Of course not! However, he looked at his life, looked at what was most important to him and then determined what was truly vital and necessary (bills, etc) and made the choice to sacrifice some perishable things. This sacrifice wound up being the greatest investment of his life.
But, I know it wasn’t easy. I can imagine the conversations that took place concerning his ‘lack of work’ and his wife’s dedication to providing for them while he was taking that chance. I know, because I’m going through it right now. Again, as authors, we get the short end of the stick. No one sees the unrealistic amount of work we produce (and mostly toss for the good of the novel). No one sees the countless hours spent searching for just the right rhythm, just the right combination of words to paint a picture of the worlds we see in our heads. At least, no one sees it until we’ve been offered a profitable book deal. Then, overnight, everyone’s whispered words shift to effusive affirmations of our talent and perseverance.
Meanwhile, we’re seen as lazy, unable or unwilling to pull our own weight and worst of all, selfish. How can we possibly put our spouses through this? Has it occurred to you that they might be doing so willingly? Perhaps they love us enough to give us the chance of a lifetime? Just maybe, they see in us what we know in our hearts to be there. How lucky are we to have found someone who is willing to make those sacrifices with us. I work, not just for my own benefit, but with the intention of being able to bless Ben tenfold for what he has given me. I want more for him and for the children we will eventually have, than what I could ever provide working a typical nine to five. But, more than anything, I want to be the person that I know I am, when I am living my life the way I was built to live it. I want to be at my best for them, and my best is not the girl wearing the nicest clothes or living in the largest house or sitting on the nicest furniture I could afford. The truth is that I shine brighter in my simple grays, in my conservative home and with less possessional adornment than I ever would in the world we could be building for ourselves.
Does that make it any easier when others call judgment on us? When they don’t understand why we do what we do? Does knowing that their judgment doesn’t matter, make it feel like it doesn’t, in fact, matter? Not even a little bit. But, at the end of the day, just as we do when we receive the fifteenth or the fiftieth rejection letter, we have to look inside our own souls and say to hell with everything else. This, this nonperishable blessing, this irreplaceable existence is what is important. It is all that is vital and necessary.