The Virgin & The Vagrant: The Delayed Dream

Today marks the return to the Virgin & the Vagrant series I began with Cory Copeland almost a year ago. With hopeful eyes and impatient hearts, we’re writing on the dreams that don’t always seem to come true the way … Continue reading

“Same Team • My Accidental Friendship” (for So Worth Loving)

Hey lovely people!

Today I had the privilege of sharing a piece about friendship and writing and one of my favorite people over at So Worth Loving. Take a look at the excerpt below and check at the full piece over at the awesome SWL Blog!

Same Team • My Accidental Friendship

I consider myself lucky. Throughout my life I’ve been surrounded by amazing people. People who care about me, who lift me up and dare me to dream. People who comfort me when my hopes come crashing down around me. People who love me when I’m a bit unlovable. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’ve made my life bearable, and for that I am forever grateful.

So when asked to choose one person who as significantly impacted my life, I pause. Because I’m not sure who to name. I’m not all that sure I can pick just one. There are my parents who have been beyond patient and understanding. My sisters who brought me back from the darkness. My friends over the years who reminded me to laugh and enjoy the life I’ve been given. Each of those people has left a kind mark on my heart, and I’ll never forget what they did for me.

But sometimes a person comes into your life and changes absolutely everything about it. They seem to hold a key that unlocks a door that opens to a new chapter in your life, a door you’ve longed to swing open. They reveal a path you are meant to travel, a calling you are meant to answer, or perhaps a new world you were intended to be a part of. Sometimes, at just the right moment you meet just the right person and things fall into place.

Cory Copeland did that for me…

read more

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

An Uphill Battle

Life has a way of leaving us defeated. We take a few hits and after awhile it’s hard to get back up. We feel used and bruised and trampled on. While the choices we make are our own and the decisions we make are our responsibility, sometimes things are out of our hands. We can’t control everything, as much as we’d like to.

Sometimes it seems as if we’re putting all of our effort into something and nothing is happening. We are trying to make a life change, to pursue better things that give us meaning, but every time we take a step forward, we are knocked back three. We finally find the direction we want to take; we understand God’s calling and our purpose here on earth, but every time we make a move to answer that calling, something stops us. We’re held back by a barrier or thrown off course by a detour. We can see in our mind’s eye where we’d like to be, what we’d like to achieve, but we can’t seem to get there.

Often I feel as if life is a tunnel and I’m in the middle of it. I’m surrounded by darkness with no way of knowing where I am or even which way I’m going. Am I moving forward toward the end? Am I going in the direction of my dreams? Or am I moving backwards, away from my goal? Have I ended up going in the opposite direction, further from the things my heart wants most? Will the darkness never end…

It’s easy to get lost or rather to feel lost in life. We get turned around in our fervent attempts to end up where we want to be. We go this way or that, or we double back to try a different path, or we hit a dead end. Life is a journey, but it’s not an easy one. It requires hard work, dedication, and the will to power on even when we feel weak and defeated. Life requires us to put into it exactly what we want to get out of it. Because if we aren’t willing to work and and fight for the things we want, how badly do we really want them? Do we deserve them?

Life is a kind of uphill battle; like fighting our way up a mountainside. Sometimes we encounter rocky terrain, and sometimes it’s a nice scenic hike. It can be arduous and take our breath away, and it can bring us beautiful moments that leave us smiling and filled with peace. With each step, we climb higher towards the top. We press on, because we want to chase after the dreams we see lying ahead of us. And maybe sometimes we lose the map or we have to turn around and try another path, but if we never lose sight of the goal, we will always have something to fight for.

And you will reach the top. You will summit the mountain, and find yourself looking back at where you’ve been. You’ll be able to see how far you’ve come, how you’ve grown and changed into the amazing, strong, inspiring person you’ve always known you could be. You’ll be able to look back and see the beautiful journey you’ve undertaken, even if it wasn’t the journey you originally set out for. The battles you’ve won and the dreams you’ve fought for.

But never discount the journey. Every hardship you face, every time you have to start over, every time you feel like crying and giving up is merely one step in a lifetime of steps towards the things you want most.

I think everyone deserves to have exactly the life they want. They deserve to pursue their dreams and make them come true. You should be happy every day, fulfilled by what you do and the relationships you have. You should be able to look around at where you are at this exact moment and smile because it’s what you worked hard for. It’s what you wanted, what you were called to.

And perhaps it wasn’t easy. The things worth having rarely are. But they are sweeter and more precious for the battle we fought to get them. They mean something because we put everything we have, body, mind, and soul, into making them our own. We have to struggle to find them and to keep them, but when we finally are able to hold onto our dreams, to see our goals accomplished and our deepest desires come to life, we can recognize the beauty in the fight.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

You can’t be good at everything.

The other day I had an idea for a story. It crept up on me and floated across my imagination, and I was entranced by it. It was only the beginning of an idea, snippets of dialogue, blurry images of characters, but it was still an idea. And I wanted to write it down. I wanted to bring it to life. For the rest of the day I would occasionally scribble thoughts in my notebook, and that evening I finally sat down at my computer to type it out.

And for awhile, it went okay. It wasn’t the most brilliant story ever, but it was coming together. It couldn’t be perfect, not the first draft. And maybe not the second draft either. But writing isn’t about choosing the perfect words on the first try. It’s about laying the foundation to create something wonderful, something magical. It’s about giving yourself the freedom to play with words, constantly moving things around until you’ve told the story as you imagined it.

But last night I hit a wall. The words stopped being easy, stopped flowing from my fingers. The story was still there, tapping on my shoulder, but I couldn’t breathe life into it. I couldn’t recreate my ideas into words, and there was nothing more frustrating. Because I could still see the story playing through my mind. I knew the characters and their pain and heartbreak and desperate hope. I had fallen in love with them and with their story, and not being able to set it free was distressing. Finally, I sat back and thought to myself, “Maybe I’m not meant to write this story.”

Maybe I’m not even meant to write fiction. Not a novel. Or a play. Or a short story. Maybe I’m not intended to be that kind of writer.

The thought broke my heart a little. Because I knew I wanted to be a writer because of novels. I found so much beauty and freedom in between those pages. I was inspired and enamored, and I wanted to do that for someone else with my words. I wanted to create a book that someone would fall in love with.

I wanted to make something beautiful. I still do want to make something beautiful.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can’t be good at everything. And I don’t think we’re meant to be. If everyone was able to do everything themselves, the beauty and mystery of life would start to lose its luster. Things wouldn’t be as special. Life would be predictable and obvious, and we would lose that aspect of being inspired by the talents and gifts of other people. We would all be the same, and we were all created to be unique individuals with unique talents. We are intended to be different, and it is our differences that make us special, wonderful, and absolutely amazing. There is no other like you or like me, and that is beautiful. Freeing even.

But only if we can accept it. Only if we can look at ourselves and say, “I don’t have to be everything. I only have to be me. I only have to do what I was made to do, and do it well.”

I was made to write. I believe that with all that I am. But I can’t write everything. I can’t be the poet or the dramatist or the screenwriter. I can’t be the next John Keats or Tom Stoppard, because I’m not meant for that. And maybe I won’t be the novelist; the next Jane Austen or Jack Kerouac or Ray Bradbury. Maybe I was created for something else, created to be completely myself.

Because perhaps we have to let go of some of our dreams in order to fulfill the ones we are destined to live out. Maybe recognizing that we can’t be something we believed we were intended to be only frees us to fully embrace what we are meant to be. Maybe letting go allows us to reach out and grab hold of something else, something worthwhile, something meant only for you.

Each of us was created with a purpose. We are here for a reason, to do something special that only we can do. God created each of us with certain gifts and talents that the world needs. You are needed, because you have something only you can offer to the world. And it might not be what you thought it would be. It might be something completely different from what you are doing now. It might be something you had never in a million years considered, because you thought it was beyond you.

But even then, you are meant for greatness. You will shine brightly in a world that needs your light and your gifts and your talents. And I encourage you to embrace them and become them and use them as God intended, even if it’s not in the way you expected.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

I am beautifully broken.

I am broken.

Not in a way that begs to be fixed. No, I’m shattered. I’m sitting on the floor, surrounded by the shards of my heart; spread about me is a mosaic of my distress. There’s a tragic beauty in the mess. I look at it with a watery smile, trying to forget that, dear God, I have to put it back together. I have to put myself back together.

I fool myself into thinking I’m stronger than the world. But I’m not. Otherwise, how am I constantly being knocked down? Every time I try to get up and began anew, I’m hit again. I feel as if I’m living life on my knees, tears in my eyes, and holes in my soul. I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel whole. I feel as if I’ve been torn to pieces, each day taking away another piece of my dream. Waking up only means I’m one day farther away from what I want; never one day closer.

I feel as if I’m caught in a rip tide pulling me out to sea. I see the shore and the things my heart craves, but I’m going in the opposite direction. And no matter how hard I fight, no matter how much I will myself to the shore, I only drift farther. But never completely out of sight. It’s more than cruel, because I can still see my dream, but I can’t touch it or have it. It taunts me.

I’m left empty.

Empty of feeling. Empty of happiness or joy. Empty of passion. Empty of ambition. Just empty. And defeated.

Life has won, it seems. If it’s a contest or a game, I’m always one step behind or sitting out my turn. I’m not allowed to play, to make my move. Or perhaps I’m just making the wrong move, over and over like some farce that never ends, because I won’t let it. Because even though I’m stuck, I don’t know how to get out. I don’t know how to undo it. I don’t know how to ask for help. I don’t know how to put it all back together.

I just don’t know. Maybe I don’t know anything at all.

Are we meant to understand our lives as we live them? Or does that knowledge only come as we look backward, seeing where we’ve been and being able to make sense of what is unchangeable?

Maybe life is always messy in the midst of it. A wretched, draining, beautiful mess. A mess that doesn’t always resolve; at least not like we’d want it to. Maybe life is hard, because it matters. Because it makes us feel. It makes us see and begs us to be changed. To grow. To become strong though we feel weak. To live a better story. Because every mark on our skin, every broken piece of our heart, every tear-filled night is a story we can share. A story that will speak love and light into the darkness of someone else’s life. A story that is lovely and worth sharing. A story that deserves to be told.

Because everyday we wake up is a day we’ve survived. We’ve made it through. And that is something wonderful. Because tomorrow will help us make sense of yesterday. Tomorrow will help us put the pieces together.

And we don’t have to do it all at once. Every struggle, every distress, every broken piece can’t be put back together in one day. Life can’t be lived that way. We’d miss out on the beauty, the small moments, the little things that make us smile. Not every day has to end as a momentous victory.

Maybe today just means we picked up one of the broken pieces and tried to put back where it belonged. Maybe today is nothing more than a day where we asked the right question, met the right person, and wrote the right words. Maybe today just paves the way for tomorrow, or even the day after that, and each of those days will bring us closer to our dreams.

Maybe today makes us stronger so we can keep on going.

And tomorrow I am still broken, but I am not beaten. I am not defeated. I am still fighting.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.