Wise Words for Writers: Dreams & C. S. Lewis.

What is your dream?  What is your ideal life?  What is your purpose?  Are you truly called to write?  The question of calling, purpose, dream is a perfectly reasonable question and one that I believe is worth every writer’s (if not every person’s) time and attention.  Is writing your calling in life to where you cannot dream of doing or being otherwise?

Church people know what I am talking about.  Church people talk about being called by God, touched by God, nudged into a certain work or ministry.  They understand calling.  But even secular people talk about inspiration, being moved by their muse, being inspired to write by nature or certain music or moods, like werewolves with pens unable to resist writing under a full moon.

The idea of calling is simple.  Why are you here?  I don’t mean this as a deep philosophical question, but a simple one.  You are who you are by nature and nurture and has that made you a writer more than anything?  Has that made you so you cannot imagine doing anything else?

Follow your dream, people say.  And I agree with them.

The reason I ask is because it took me 50+ years to really figure it out for myself.  I am a storyteller, yes, but my dream now is to put all of these stories on paper.  Once upon a time in my life, I might have been a painter, sculptor or actor, director, or musician.  I might have been a scientist examining the fabric of life or seeking to set my foot on Mars.  I might have been a preacher and teacher to actually tell my stories.  I might have been an athlete when I was young.  I was very athletic in my youth.  But it turned out now I am none of those things.  I am a storyteller, yes, but especially a writer and my dreams all live in the stories I put to paper.

Writing stories is what I was made for, as we might say in the church.  And you?  Or should I say, what are you made for right now?  You may have a number of dreams at different points in your life, but what is it now?

You see, I don’t believe calling is a static thing.  Earlier in my life I might claim I was made for all of those other things I mentioned; only that was then and this is now..

I often imagine a ball player who might retire at age 35, but to what?  After the required number of years, he might make the Hall of Fame, but what does that mean if he believes his life and dreams are behind him?  So many such people fade away, and that is sad.  John Glen, on the other hand, aged out of the space program and went on to serve honorably in the Senate before he retired to the position of elder statesman.

Sad are those who outlive their dreams.  They are sad because so many don’t know what to dream next or even that they are allowed.  No one ever told them that dreams never go out of fashion.

And me?  At this point I don’t expect to be counted among the sad.  I expect my dreams will outlive me because they are all so much bigger than I am.

Listen, it took me fifty plus years of wilderness wandering just to figure out my calling.  I am called to write, to write these stories.  I am called to tell and share my stories, and I take my strength in this rather late day from the words of one of my favorite authors of all time.  He said, “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” (C. S. Lewis).

Keep that in mind.  Where there is life there is hope.  It is never too late.  Is writing what you are called to do?  If not, I urge you to find your own dream and live it.

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Of course, knowing your calling and doing it well may be two different things…

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