The question on the page stops me and I place the book on my lap, reflecting on a prayer whispered earlier as dawn etched the clouds hovering over the jagged peaks of the Catalina Mountains. The question, posed to author BettyClare Moffatt in her book, Soulwork: Clearing the Mind, Opening the Heart, Replenishing the Spirit, startles her, as it does me.
What is my innermost dream?
Thanksgiving it will be two years since I received a phone call that determined where and how I spent my time, reshaped my priorities and defined my purpose in life. This month, for the first time, the long list of to-dos associated with the medical decisions regarding my dad’s care and the financial and legal challenges associated with his passing will disappear. Despite the heartbreaking pain associated with his decline, the overwhelming sense of responsibility for making decisions for him while caring for my mother, I would not trade these twenty-four months for any in my lifetime. For while the emotional anguish often seemed unbearable, the experience taught me no desperate plea whispered over the dry, powdery sand of the desert goes unanswered. Ever.
I stood this morning as sunrise brushed the wispy leaves of the mesquite trees, the chalky gray stalks of the teddy bear chollas, the array of olive and milky green cactuses defining my favorite prickly wash. “Now what?” I prayed. For my mother is strong, healthy again. My father is gone. My focus needs to shift. But where? What am I meant to do? I wander the deepest, blackest caverns of my mind. Lost. Chasing the same questions I asked when I retired from corporate life eight years ago, second-guessing my earlier answers. I am floundering in a self-imposed muddle of misery.
Staring at the rocky crest of mountains defining the eastern horizon, I asked the angels to nudge me in the right direction, to open a door wide enough to shine a beam of light on the path I am meant to follow, to help me figure out my life. But no revelation rolled through me, just the quiet peace of dawn dissolving into day. I turned and continued to jog the silent streets of my mother’s community.
The book in my lap is tattered and frayed from use, for it is a favorite companion during times of uncertainty, periods of transition. Like now. And while I have read it numerous times, it always inspires.
“What is your deepest dream?” a friend and spiritual mentor asks the author. BettyClare Moffatt, like me, waffles in self-doubt, sees challenges too daunting to overcome, distresses over things of which she has no control. But her friend is relentless, repeating the question until finally the truth flows freely.
“My deepest dream is to write wise and loving books that touch the hearts of women everywhere.That make a difference in the world. That serve in some way. That are good, true, and beautiful.”
I gasp! This is my dream! My heart-felt desire! Placed on hold but still flickering like the bluish-gold flame of a pilot light.
“But can I do it? . . . Can I really do it?” Moffatt asks.
“I have no doubt,” replies her friend. And from that conversation, this sacred book was created, published, distributed throughout the world.
A nudge. A sliver of light shining through a crack in the darkness.
But can I? Doubts swirl like the blinding dust of a windstorm sweeping across the desert floor. Can my words make a difference? Can I compose lyrical sentences, paragraphs, stories that touch the hearts of others? Do I have the toughness to handle criticism? The perseverance to make writing a priority? Can I create my deepest dream?
“I have no doubt,” I say softly to the roadrunner flitting across the rocky terrain behind the prickly pear cactus. “I have no doubt,” I call to the family of quails scurrying away. “I have no doubt,” I holler to the puffy white clouds floating across the ragged edges of the mountains.
But the queasiness inside my stomach says otherwise and I know the prayer I will utter tomorrow as the star-filled skies fade into the glowing light of daybreak.
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