I love Morgan Freeman- both the on screen persona and the person he is behind the roles. Not that I know him personally, but his story- that is, his struggle to make it as an actor before the fame- resonates with me on a personal level. About a year and a half ago I was in a wretched state of existence: dissatisfied with where I was in my life yet fearful that I didn’t have what it required to change my course. Then I saw him on Oprah’s Masterclass and by the end of the hour, I had tears in my eyes. To this day, I truly believe God used that episode to speak to my fears.
Much like myself, his dreams were put on hold because he had been busy doing what he felt he needed to do to ‘make a living’. He joined the Air Force. But in his heart he knew he was an actor and would never be satisfied doing anything else. And so he changed roads.
His journey wasn’t a smooth one. He had to take odd jobs here and there to support himself and he never got a lot of auditions. Just when he decided to settle into a full time job, the woman he interviewed with for the job refused to give it to him because she believed he had the potential to be a great actor. He was disappointed but on his next audition, he scored the role, and well, the rest is history.
I have neither time nor space to do his story justice here but that day I learned three very important lessons:
- God is always working even when you cannot “see” anything happening. God will step in and either obstruct something or move things along.
- Declare who you are. Once you’ve resolved within yourself that you’re a writer, singer, doctor or astronaut you will start to function on that level and attract those opportunities to you.
- No matter what happens, keep going, even if you get tired and you have to sit down for a while that is OK but get back up and keep going.
My biggest fear was that I was too old. I was about to be a 30 something year old college student and start a journalism career when I had never done anything journalism in my life (with the exception of the classes I dropped out of years before). Most notable journalists started on their high school or college paper. I had never had an article published anywhere. But it was who I was. It was what I loved. It was what I dreamed about incessantly and no matter how I tried to run from it, somehow it would find me. Freeman’s story showed me that age is really irrelevant in the pursuit of your dreams (he was 50 when he finally got his “big break” on Driving Miss Daisy) and that changing roads, even in the middle of my life, was a very real possibility.
I did it and I am glad I did. I wish I could say it is an easy transition. It is not. Some days I can’t tell if I am coming or going. I am not where I want to be, but I am now a working journalist. I can’t even understand how that happened, but I know God orchestrated it and I am beyond grateful. All I know is I went in as an intern with zero experience and ONE month later I was hired as a permanent staff writer.
But it requires all of me, more than what I feel I am capable of giving most times. Between school, internships, work and single parenting, some days I just want to quit and go back to where I was, behind my customer service desk taking phone calls. I wasn’t happy but it was safe, paid OK and didn’t require much.
The thing is, I can’t go back. God has already shown me a vivid picture of my future. Even when I want to shrink back, the vision pulls me forward. And as difficult as it is, I feel a peace and fulfillment I cannot begin to articulate. When life feels out of balance, the vision anchors me.
So even in the face of closed doors, disappointment and obscurity, I know I must “take a new grip with my tired hands, strengthen my weak knees and mark out a new path for my feet.”
I must keep on going. Just another step. Because you just never know where one more step could lead.