“While he lives, he must think; while he thinks, he must dream.”
Sometimes I get wrapped up.
I am here, in this tiny moment, within this day, spun among a hundred others in this week that fall in line with these months and years, and sometimes I forget how tiny it is. Sometimes I forget how short I am, even if I see a century worth of days. And even more, sometimes I forget that if a century I’ll see, I’ve not seen much yet.
I remember sitting in my dorm room my freshman year—a speck, really—but a place that I’d come to adore. I was two weeks out from moving, and I remember already feeling the longing for that room, where many a fear was conquered and many a laugh bubbled and many a textbook studied (that’s for you, Mom.) I looked around, trying desperately to record all the inches of walls that were covered with notes from friends and snapshots from that year, trying so to pack it away in case I needed to call upon it later, and thinking, “Soon, this won’t be so big. This will only get smaller, from now on, and eventually, it will just be something I did.” I was right. The ins and outs of that year are already beginning to elude me here, three years later, as I prepare to step into my last one. It burst with the unmistakable fragrance of possibility, of new, and now, my name is stitched on the old hats of familiarity, memory and roots in this place.
I was looking out my window, at this desk that seems so big now. My job at the magazine seems like such a great big thing I do, so all-consuming, but the realization breezed across my face today that soon, it will just be something I did for a short time. Looking out the window, I could see the sidewalk that carried me nearly every single day last year, and I realized that the whole of these four years here will soon sing the same tune: small, small, small. But looking around, they are so big.
I read some words from another writer describing the feeling of realizing she’d never have another baby, and it hit me, how much life I haven’t seen. I looked out the window at the sidewalk, and I think of who I am, of how I feel that this must be the person I was meant to be. But I wondered at who I’ll be when I’m 31 years old, of how I’ll look back and see 21-year-old me, with so much life to live. (Here I think: so many prayers to pray! So many books to read! So many lattes to drink!) Excitement stirs, for the year to come, for more chances to let these sidewalks carry me. The camera pans, though: a husband, babies, worn hands and crow’s feet, perhaps. I see me, somebody’s wife. I see somebody’s mother. I imagine a wedding, and also of singing a lullaby to a soft baby in the twilight. I see them thinking of me, young and dreamy, staring out a window. I see years of singing praises, of loving people, of climbing closer to the heart of God. I see only glimpses, but it is there all the same.
For a moment, my mind drifts back to the constraints of today: decisions, deadlines, dishes. But the ribbons of possibility wrap me up again, not to take me away, but to remind me of the smallness. Of how little I’ve seen; of how much there is. Everything seems so close, but so far: Pixilated dreams, gently coming together. Somebody’s author, somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother.
And still, tomorrow seems big, and I feel altogether electric with hope.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”