Most of my life, I have been in a state of “longing for belonging.” I’ve never quite felt like I was where I should be even if it appeared as though I was. You see, when I was a child, I decided that I would change the world through the practice of law. When I had the opportunity to watch the law in practice, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. Following that, I decided that I would change the world through education. I’d like to think that I’m still doing that. However, I am growing keenly aware that the playing field is tilted between the wealthy and the “just trying to make it.” It seems that the wealthy are in direct possession of all of the educational fruits. Those that are trying to make it are within sight of the fruit, but there are traps, holes, tricks, unrealistic expectations, and apathetic guides leading the way. Despite those odds, I continue to push. While I am not where I once was, I am still not fully where I want to be. I am still not who I want to be. I believe that there is something that lives inside of me that continues to push me forward. I call my forward True North. I am seeking my True North. I once taught the book “The Giver.” In this book, Jonas was in search of something that he had never seen, didn’t quite know was real, and the very discussion of it could get you “released” from the community. You see, his world was black and white. It was predictable. It was safe as long as you asked no questions, adhered to the rules, and blended in. Lois Lowry, the author of “The Giver,” was on to something. Jonas’ world sounds much like mine. While I am on the same road to the same place everyday, I often ask myself, “can I do this for the rest of my life?” My house, my car, my fleeting vacation plans, my faux friends, and my 401k aren’t good enough reasons to continue. Me, I am in search of my True North. I am in search of that thing that will satisfy my soul rather than my sight. I am in search of becoming the person that I can be proud of even if no one else is. I am in search of the me I was intended to be. I am moving towards my True North because for all of my adult life, I have been trying to escape my Definitive South. My Definitive South is not a place of solace for me. My Definitive South is a hell that I was once forced to call home. Outside of my mother, in my Definitive South, people either didn’t know how to dream, or they never believed that dreams could come true. Because they didn’t fully understand their dreams, it seemed that their mission was to kill mine. I tried to kill my own dreams too. I tried to convince myself that being one of them was better than being one with me. I decided that as an individual, I was not enough. In the words of a Young Soldier, Frankye, “you are enough.” You are enough. You are enough. You are enough. There is nothing wrong with you or your dreams. Birds dream of flight. Fish dream of depth. The sun and the moon both dream of light in different spaces. The winter dreams of spring, and the summer dreams of fall. Because we are all different, our dreams are different. They should be different. Your dreams don’t have to be confined to the understanding or acceptance of someone else. As you push towards your True North, please know that as you continue on your journey, you will meet people and have experiences that will strengthen and encourage you. The strength will come in the form of overcoming obstacles, and the encouragement will come in the form of those who offer understanding rather than discouragement and condemnation. The journey towards your True North will lead you into, through, and ultimately, outside of the wilderness of your life that is aptly called fear. Remember, fear is nothing more than the absence of faith. We often speak about being true to others, while we consistently cheat on ourselves. For once in your life, if you haven’t already done so, be faithful to you. Follow your dreams to a place and space that was customized for your heart and happiness. Even if no one else understands your True North, that doesn’t make it any less real. Think about it; fish that swim beneath the sea no nothing of the clouds, and inversely, birds that fly amidst the clouds know nothing of the depths of the sea. However, that doesn’t make either of those spaces less real. They exist. So does your True North. Let faith lead the way. Let love be your companion. Find your True North, for your arrival is greatly anticipated. Until next time.
As always, this week do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better. If you’re able to do so, don’t document the moment with a photo. Be one with the moment in your spirit. Also, as we journey toward our True Norths, please don’t forget to develop maps along the way. Those who are following us are going to need them. Patrick