I used to imagine…
I would wake up, well rested and go to school, then participate in after-school activities like my peers. I would go to sporting games, not because I liked them or understood them, but because all my classmates went, and it seemed like it was the fun thing to do. I’d experience sleepovers or doing homework in the park while listening to nature. I thought about what it would be like to watch sitcoms, relax, have quality family time, or go on college visits. I imagined a world filled with no disrespect, hurriedness, dysfunction or chaos. I imagined the possibilities, but I would wake up to my reality. I was no normal child. I worked from sunup to sundown. Was I actually living? Did anyone notice that this was not normal? Did anyone care? My friends were adults because those were the people I was around; I never wanted my life to resemble theirs. My 13thbirthday party was at my parents’ restaurant with people 40 years and older (besides my sister who was a year older than me). My uncles, aunts, grandmother, parents and coworkers came. I had the most beautiful cake; it was yellow and white. They sang happy birthday to me and cut the cake, then everyone rushed away from the counter to go back to work. I decided that day that I would imagine life to be different, so I chose to smile more, and I chose to not allow my surroundings to be my permanent canvas. I couldn’t control my current situation in the natural, but I could control my thoughts and dreams. I hoped that one day that I would live a normal life like other children and teens. I had to live in an imaginary world, that’s how I escaped my reality. I knew how to mask things well back then because I could clearly hear my father saying, “Fix your face,” so my face had to portray that nothing was wrong. I can also recall a man who worked at my parents’ corner grocery store when I was a little girl. His name was Mr. Johnson. He was an alcoholic. When he was sober, he was the nicest guy; when he was drunk, he was even nicer, but he was also sad. He would come to work in both conditions. Normally on Mondays and Tuesdays he would be so drunk that he would come to work, put a few items on the shelf and then find a corner, cry himself to sleep, and would urinate on himself. I often wondered why he did this to himself. Perhaps to mask his realities. He had stopped imagining.
The hard parts of life have the potential to make you strong and positively impact your life IF YOU HAVE THE FAITH FOR IT! That’s my life story! You need to do the things most people would want to avoid. Do the things that make you uncomfortable. Face the situation that are far easier to run from. Endure in the times when you don’t know how you’re going to keep pushing forward. These moments shape you.
I discovered at the age of 13 that it was time to proactively inject passion into the way my life was meant to be! I stopped waiting for better opportunities I imagined them and that’s how I survived mentally. And to this day, I’m yet learning to believe in my heart that I am meant to live each moment full of passion and purpose—that each moment is worthy in its own way.
I smiled big, laughed loud, and served each customer like they were my best friends. My tips were always higher than the adults. The customers would come and ask for me to serve them. My inward emotions didn’t dictate my outward demeanor. I put my heart and soul into “possibilities.” I didn’t dwell on tomorrow’s opportunities but took advantage of the opportunity right in front of me.
We often deal with pressures to jump ahead of God’s timing. We might even go our own way because we can’t see what God is doing. I firmly believe that God wants to use the waiting, not to make us suffer but to draw us closer to Him. He wants to teach us, refine us, and develop us! There is a connection between faith and waiting. God wants to use our times of waiting to drive us to our knees and increase our intimacy with Him.
I have been in what seems like a long period of waiting. I don’t understand why it seems to be going on for so long and I often just wish for it to end. However, I am trying to learn that He is using this time to teach me to slow down and draw nearer to Him.
Even while waiting, don’t stop imagining.