metaphors & quarters

It was a day in mid-march. Or maybe it was february. I wish I could remember the weather, or where I'd driven to, or what song was playing, but I can't. Anyways, back to that day in february or march or whenever- I was rustling through the compartment in my car where all the spare coins go, probably trying to pay in exact change for ice cream (again), digging for a quarter beneath all the sticky pennies. That's when I found it.

Midway through the pile, buried in pennies and nickels and dimes, was a quarter. It was lackluster, forgotten about, minted in 2002. The Tennessee state quarter- instruments and stars etched into its surface. I held it for a second, and set it on my dash right under the gas gauge. At the time, I don't really know why I did it, why I decided to scrape up little coins instead of using that quarter. I didn't know. Now I do.

That little round coin represents what I'm called to chase after, what I crave to do and be. I want to write about music and about things that matter. I want to live in a place where people care about those kinds of words, where people encourage me to write them. And while I'm at it, I want to make money doing it. This ordinary twenty-five cent piece stands for a wild reality I haven't yet reached, a future maybe different than drafted, but it stands for promised goodness all the same.

That quarter is still on my dust covered dashboard, where I set it that one wintery-spring day and it's free for the taking. I could spend it on some sour patch kids or throw it in the toll on I185 or find three more and make it a dollar bill. But I won't. I could throw my dream away too, for a present need, for an impulse buy, for whatever sounds good and right at the time. But I won't. I can't.

And every time my hands grab that wheel and spin it left or right, that silver coin softly screeches from one side to the other, popping the bubble I was daydreaming in, and reminding me of what I'm running for. The sharper I turn, the louder the slide. It's a case of classical conditioning: I hear the screech of the quarter, I remember my dream's importance. And so too it translates. Every set of circumstances life throws at me, every decision I make, I hear the screech, the importance, the call. So forward I move for the sake of that far off hope.

I once heard something along the lines of 'the biggest days are the ones you don't see coming.' It may have been from Izzie Steven's character on Grey's Anatomy, but it's probably still credible and timeless right? The day I decided the Tennessee state quarter was off limits was one of those biggest days I never knew about. The point is I don't have to remember the details; remembering I committed to living with immense purpose is enough. This quarter is the metaphor I'm most proud of, and the credit's not even mine to take.

I'm writing this for the sake of dreams, mine and yours. Don't trade them in for what looks shiny today, or for what seems necessary, or because you're tired of waiting. Keep them there and don't let the passage of time sway you to move them. Let them slide about your dashboard as you round bends and brave gravel roads. Leave them be when it's easiest to cash them in.

Just keep driving, keep turning, keep breathing, and keep dreaming. The road is long, but one day that quarter will be your life and you'll realize its worth is far more than you ever once imagined.