The other day, I saw a guy on Facebook complaining that his wife wanted him to come to bed...but he wanted to spend more time blogging. He looked to be in his early 20s. He was asking this private group for input on "what he should do".
Having survived widowhood and seeing too many people die in my presence, I made the observation that his blog won't be the one standing by his bedside as he exhaled his dying breath.
A business man quipped "Yeah, but with the divorce rate, you're not even guaranteed your spouse will be there, either."
There's a biblical saying that has universal import: What is it if a man gains the whole world and loses his own soul?
Fundies interpret this as a heaven vs. hell dilemma, but from a mystical, archetypal point of view, the true question posed is this: If you go after a "big dream" (or series of dreams)--and accomplish them--will you end up satisfied? Fulfilled? Happy? Whole?
Or will it be like the funny bumper sticker riff on a popular phrase that states He who dies with the most toys still dies?
Earlier today, I read a post by my Tarot colleague Tierney Sadler called Making the Tough Decisions. I understand what she's putting forth and, to an extent, I agree.
For example, my Mom was a homemaker who--other than church--never really took up any hobbies. When my Dad died last year, she found herself a bit lost...and bored. I tried to encourage her to "get a life" a few years ago (you know what I mean) when I saw my Dad's health declining.
But no dice. As she had for decades, she felt responsible to be there at home 24/7 except for church functions--including cooking 3 meals a day (she was born in the June Cleaver era).
So I really hear what Tierney is saying. And yes, we women need to pursue our dreams--which may include sacrifice. But, with all do respect--and I don't mean this offensively--Tierney isn't married, nor does she have children. Both of these states profoundly changes the decision-making landscape.
Yet, I also know what it is to live with someone who pursued his dream at a very high cost.
My first husband was a first chair classical trumpet player and jazz instrumentalist. Through the music of Phil Driscoll (a Christian trumpet player), John got turned on to a man named Roy Roman. He discovered that Roy taught a "no pressure" trumpet method which would allow musicians to play for hours without "blowing out" their lips (and reaching the high notes).
Turned on by his dream, we left college after four years and no degree, then moved in with John's father. He refused to get a job so he could practice this "trumpet method". For two years, we lived off the "kindness of strangers" and sold things while I starved and studied the Bible...and he played these godawful exercises based on a VHS tape for two years. (Click here to see a sample.)
I still remember being so hungry and my first husband finally agreeing to visit a local diner for a fish sandwich. We stayed in the car and I had to half it with him. I don't believe I ever savored a meal so much in my life (after living off fried cabbage and hotdogs for weeks).
Imagine listening to that for 8 hours a day in one room? Although we lived in a 2-story house, my father-in-law was a serial maturbator who loved to use Vaseline and electric pumps at all hours--greasy doorknobs everywhere. Not to mention the crazy transsexual porn I'd find stuffed in the basement toilet (did he really think those images would flush?).
So, I stayed cooped up in our bedroom for two years while John not only played those exercises, but put any cash handouts we received towards personal phone lessons with Roy--at $65 a pop for for 30 minutes (this was 20 years ago, mind you).
John Playing for Our Wedding
We couldn't apply for welfare because they wanted to know John's Dad's income and info...even if we didn't use his resources. So that was a no-go.
Because I pored over the want ads, I finally found a church in need of a pastor. We got the pastoring gig and, even then, John would put hours and hours and thousands of dollars into learning this "method". When he didn't do that, it was all church stuff and trying to save souls.
All while I languished in the living room wondering how I could get a life with no money and a 1988 Buick that was so big it may as well be a boat (in the mountainous regions of PA, no less).
Long story short, my husband died trying to learn that damn method. Five years of our marriage--and countless dollars--down the drain. He even asked the doctors if he could bring the trumpet in with him to practice in the hospital when he was diagnosed with leukemia. They said yes, but in a cruel twist of fate, John passed out in the shower because no nurses were attending him--falling face first into the ceramic toilet. He busted all his front teeth and shattered his mouth bones. He would have bled to death with his 300,000+ white count if it wasn't for a nurse that just happened to be standing outside and heard the fall.
I happened to be back home because of the emergency diagnosis that gobsmacked us and had me scrambling to tie up some domestic stuff so I could live with him at the city hospital for 6 weeks during chemo--or else I would have been watching him like a hawk. It was the only day I wasn't with him during his treatment.
Even after John got his dentures and thought he "beat" leukemia, he still kept trying to learn that method and spent an enormous amount of money for those lessons (Roy Roman happened to be one of those "prosperity preachers", so he knew our financial situation...but didn't give a damn). By then, John was on Social Securit disability (thanks to my efforts). Otherwise, we would have been up shit creek yet again...
To say I was severely neglected, emotionally tormented and physically malnourished would be an understatement.
You know, I didn't intend to share all this. But I guess it finally needed to see the light of day.
I don't have all the answers, but I do challenge you to think about your creative pursuits--including what it costs if you do pursue them, what it might cost if you don't...and what it might cost your loved ones.
Only you can weigh your soul against your life path to determine if it's right for you, worth the price you may have to pay.