My dad asked me if I could have any job right out of graduate school, what would it be. I didn’t have to think too hard, though my answer surprised him: “I want to work at Starbucks.”
His points were valid. I’d just spent five years in a duel-level program and was about to graduate with both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and here I am telling him that I want to work behind a counter serving coffee. I worked that job in high school.
There was something about the job that drew me in still – working with my hands, crafting a beverage for someone to enjoy, interacting with customers. I’d spent the past five years working with my mind – reading books, writing papers, and research, research, research. My graduate program was in counseling which not only exhausted my mind but my heart.
It sounded like a good idea to steam some milk and pull an espresso shot, to work with my hands.
I’d forgotten about it during this conversation with my dad that day on the cusp of my graduation seven years ago. But just years earlier, during my second year of college, I’d written out my dream for “some day.” You know that some-day-dream – the one you dare to hope for and sometimes dare to even write down on paper. These kinds of dreams I would barely speak out loud. But one day, nearly ten years ago, I typed my dream into a Word document.
I found that document a few weeks ago while looking through old journal entries from college. I have them all saved, along with every class assignment, on an external hard drive I only take out now when I’m backing up my computer. One recent afternoon as I was preparing for a backup, I opened a few random files. They’re named with the dates they were written, rather than with indication of the content. I opened the file called “September 6” and I read:
I tend to get really into things. Like, if I think of an idea, I will get super excited about it for a week or so and then it goes away. But should the knowledge of that keep me from dreaming? I don’t think so. I think that the biggest loss is the loss of a dream. Worse still, when you prevent yourself from losing a dream, when you kill the dream inside of you. I cannot kill the dream inside of me. If the Lord decides to point me in a different direction, than that’s one thing. But if I were the one to say, “I cannot do this,” that’s not fair. I am here to use my gifts and abilities to glorify God and to live life to its fullest! So I should take what I learned in Missionary Life and Work from Jack O’Brien, and keep pushing ahead with what I know to do, and if God wants me to change direction, He will change my mind.
I’m preparing myself to put it into words. I can sense my fear. As I read now, I cheer on my past self. “Say it! You can do it! Write the words! Speak the dream!”
I do it. In my dorm room in 2006 on a refurbished brick of a laptop I wrote:
So if my dream is to open a bed and breakfast / café / pub, then who is stopping me from doing it? At this point, it would only be ME.
I stared at the screen for a second, rereading what I’d written so many years ago. I remember writing this. I remember the fear and I remember thinking, “How could this even happen?” And I also remember thinking, “Why not?”
In the following paragraph I wrestled with this dream for a business and my desire to be married. I write how having this dream gives me a sense of purpose, something to work toward. I dream a bit more: maybe I’ll start this business and then get married, maybe I’ll meet a man who shares the same dream and we can pursue it together. Maybe there are things I’ll miss out on by now dating during college, but maybe that won’t be something I’ll regret.
With resolve and focus I commit to follow God and I commit to taking action steps. I list out how I will “do the next thing,” as Elisabeth Elliot once wrote. I will speak this dream out loud to a mentor. I will pray. And I will do my homework.
I sent this piece of writing to that mentor. “Remember when?” I wrote. We laughed together that even though the dream doesn’t look exactly how I pictured it, God placed something in my heart that He is bringing about in a more beautiful way that I could imagine.
We may not have a bed and breakfast, but we have a lot of guests and may as well be.
We may not have a pub, but we’re interning at a Beverage Design Studio.
I didn’t date much during college, but I married a man who shares my dreams and commitment to follow Jesus, and was even the one who suggested we open a coffee shop.
We’re opening the coffee shop this year. It’s not in Europe, as I thought. It won’t have a beach-theme, as I pictured. But it’s even better than I could have dreamed.