It’s the week before finals–studying, coffee, occasional doughnut runs, and more studying. Actually, there have been quite a few doughnut runs, but that is beside the point. Currently, I’m in the coffee stage, which has been made complete with a fuzzy blanket. Outside, my windowpane has become a racetrack for the many competitive raindrops falling from the sky. It seems fitting that the sky has matched the students’ dismal mood. However, it is also a sad mockery that these raindrops have more motivation, more direction than me. They glide confidently across the glass, colliding with other particles and carrying on. Meanwhile, I feel like those occasional drops of water that get caught. They quiver on the glass, caught by the wind or some unseen force, without making any progress.
I could blame it on the shadow of doom cast by a monstrous finals week, but it it’s still a feeling I know too well. Stuck without direction. I recently mentioned this to a fellow English student, bemoaning my academic frustrations and inability to break my chronic writer’s block. My mind kept returning to the fact that I’m now nineteen. Time is moving too quickly. I should have a better game plan for my future career. There are grad schools to think about, not to mention the more immediate question of internships and summer jobs. Even little things seem lost. Research papers lack their typical, solid thesis. Homework is a chaotic whirlwind of crumpled papers instead of a calculated and straightforward path. I need something to bring all the chaos in alignment.
I need a compass.
Sure, I have dreams and goals, but sometimes they’re all over the place. I’m suffocating at the bottom of an ocean with my ship buried in sand. My dreams–they’re navigating the stars in their state-of-the-art spaceship. How do you reach for stars that you can’t even see? How do you chase after your dreams when you can’t even swim, much less fly through the atmosphere? Direction. There’s that word again. Direction.
You need a compass.
There are reasons people say “follow your dreams” instead of “have dreams”. Without direction, without an internal compass, dreams have no meaning. It would be futile to sail into the wide ocean of a world without constellations and landmarks to guide you. Even when you can’t see the stars, a compass always points North. Even when you’re surrounded by an endless sea, there are still ways to find direction.
The more I thought about needing a compass, the more I thought about a passage in I Corinthians 13:2: “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” Without love, our actions and hearts are empty. There isn’t a point to life when you don’t have love. Likewise, without a compass, dreams are landmarks on an invisible map.
Don’t be a directionless wander. Live life with love, and use a compass to find your wayward dreams.