Once upon a time evenings were my favorite part of the day.
The sunsets, especially when the weather was clear, would create an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder within me. It seemed as though new colors were being created just for the occasion. It was a time to relax from the rigors of the day. It was a time of refection. A time to take stock of what I had done with my time.
As of late, evenings are the part of day which I dread most. They are still a time of reflection and that is perhaps why I dread them.
This journey through homelessness has lasted longer than I thought it would – most certainly longer than I ever wanted it to. And that creates a conflict within me.
At the end of the day, when I return to my little tent, I have to look within myself and ask "What have I accomplished today?"
The very fact that I’m still in my tent tells me that I still haven’t reached my goals. It tells me that there is yet a way to go; that there is still something lacking in my life. And, it tells me that another day has irretrievably passed me by.
There is some forward momentum, but sometimes it seems as though there just isn’t enough inertia to propel me closer to the goals that I’ve set for myself.
While I don’t want to be too overly critical and demanding of myself, neither do I want to be so lax with myself that I let me off the hook. There is a fine balance that needs to be kept: one that will continue to expect things of myself that are productive, but not one where the goals set are unattainable.
Every one of us has a "yard stick" that we use to measure and define our own personal success – although for me personal success isn’t about financial success as much as it is about achieving goals that I’ve set for myself.
Setting that aside however, I know that some people use the distance between where they are now compared to where they were before. I’m unable to do that.
I measure my success by determining where I’m at now compared to where I want to be at. I do it that way because I know it’s possible to move cosmic distances from where I used to be without ever getting any closer to where I want to be.
Right now, I’m just not that close to where I want to be. Each evening reminds me of that reality. And, sometimes it creates this great pressing in on my spirit; on my will to keep pressing on. At times it makes me feel as though I should take the easy way out and succumb to my present lot in life.
But, then a small voice within me reminds me that the struggle to achieve is just as important as reaching the finish line – sometimes it’s even more so. It doesn’t matter that it’s one small step at a time. It doesn’t matter that there are going to be days when there may be little or no forward movement. What matters is to continue trying.
And, so I lay there, looking at the nylon of the tent and somehow find a way to strengthen myself enough to face tomorrow.
Yet, I can’t help wondering: will there come a time when the evenings and the sunset will once again leave me feeling humbled and inspired?
Or will it become a specter that haunts my memory?