You’ve been on my mind. I’ve been wondering what it is you’re hoping for, and I’ve been hoping you’re living like you’ve already gotten it.
Last June I entered a contest. It’s for writers. We submit a cover letter and a true story with the hopes of being chosen to attend a free conference this October where we learn the art of storytelling by the people who run Guideposts magazine.
5000 will enter, 12 will win.
I want to be one of the 12 so badly I can taste it. These teachers are some of the best in the business, and (bonus!) it’s free! Well, it’s not free. Someone has to pay for it, and in this case, that someone is Debbie Macomber, one of the best storytellers of all time. She’s footing the bill for all the winners. Talk about kindness…
Anyway, for the past three months I’ve been dreaming about this conference. I can see myself there with my little journal on one side and my computer on the other, frantically taking notes to improve my craft.
Several times throughout the summer, my teenage daughter, Jordan, has walked up behind me while I’ve been googling pictures of the old mansion where the conference will be held. She has seen me lingering over images of the sleepy town in New York where all the attendees will convene. I’ve even shown her photos of the bedrooms where the writers will sleep.
Now, as crazy as I’m beginning to sound, I should mention that I’m not obsessed with this conference. It’s just that every now and then I like to take a mental vacation and imagine the what ifs.
Jordan, however, was beginning to worry.
“Mom,” she said in a slightly sad, concerned, grandmotherly voice, “how are you going to feel if you don’t win? I don’t want you getting your hopes up and then being crushed when they don’t come true.”
Ahhh… I get it. The higher we get our hopes, the harder we fall.
I explained to my daughter that I had a choice. I could spend three months refusing to take any excitement or joy over the possibility of winning.
I could live as if what I wish for is already on its way.
In both cases, if I find out I didn’t win, I’ll be sad for a day or two, but then I’ll get busy with the next project and life will carry on.
But in the second scenario, by living as if I’ve won, I’ve gained three months of beautiful joy.
It’s like my husband, the Packers fan. Every year since we’ve been married, he declares the Packers the next Super Bowl champs. He’s been right once. But the season is a whole lot more fun knowing it’s a possibility.
He also goes into each Fall as a college basketball coach seeing his team in the NCAA tournament. It’s happened a few times and it’ll happen many more, but we never know exactly when. Sitting in the stands is so much more exciting wondering if this is the year. Sure, we’re disappointed when the losses come, but we rebound. Isn’t that what basketball (and life) is all about?
So back to you. Where are you holding back? What’s the dream that gets you dancing in your kitchen? Can I dance with you? Can we celebrate the awesome things that are coming your way today? Disappointment may come and sadness will follow, but as long as you continue to live like you’ve already won, they can’t stay, because that’s the place where joy lives.
***By the way, I find out this week if I’m one of the lucky 12 heading to the writer’s conference. Will you keep your fingers crossed for me?