I have been anticipating this vacation since my first semester of school four years ago. My younger self said very poetically, “Man, when this big bunch of crazy is over, I’m going on a sick vacation.” So, with only three more weeks until the crazy is over, I bought a roundtrip ticket for said vacation. Molto bene.
When I moved into this apartment four months ago, I was met with graffiti. But not the illegible bubble letters with no meaning, works of “art” drawn by the hand of some juvenile delinquent who has lacked parenting…instead it read “Become Your Dream,” scrawled across a mattress put out with the trash. At least five days a week, upon leaving my building, there is another temporary surface bearing this simple phrase. Without fail, every time it makes me look at the ground and think. If the self-help books, the ‘Me Inc.’ business school class, and the therapy weren’t enough – my reminders to find deeper meaning are now showing up in spray paint. (I just hope that other people can see them).
As my new favorite author, Anne Lamott, wrote: “This must be where we are going, because this is where we are.” I have been on this journey for some time now…but only a short trip in the hopefully long span of my life (knock on Ikea pressed hardwoods that are not really wood). But when Mr. Complicated Graffiti Artist places this in my face every morning before coffee, I am forced to ask myself what my dream is, where this journey is supposed to be going. Yes, obviously my goal is finding happiness and peace in the everyday. But what does living my dream really entail? A loving, devoted, tender spouse? Yes please. Children? Absolutely. A comfortable life, free of economic struggles and strewn with good times? Sign me up. But the reality is that no one will ever be more complete than he already is. Living your dream might be tuning into what you already have inside you, and letting it out.
In Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” (just a little light holiday reading), he wrote:
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
The fact that he was in Auschwitz speaking of his dead wife adds another layer to this, naturally. But it holds meaning for all of us, if we only allow it.
As Anne says, “The two best prayers I know: “Help me, help me, help me,” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Maybe upon my visit to the Vatican in one month’s time, I’ll go deeper than this. Today this is what I have. Help me, help me, help me become my dream. And thank you, thank you, thank you for the love I already have in my life. And the love to come. Molto bene.