Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t know what kind of cake she liked. It was her birthday and a friend wanted to make her a cake and asked what her favorite was. The girl had never thought about it. She didn’t think her preferences mattered. She didn’t know how to voice…
Earlier this year, our family read aloud The BFG by Roald Dahl. Dahl has become one of my favorite authors. His books are funny and sad and clever and full of wisdom even an adult cannot miss.
This week, we saw the movie version, which is not exactly like the book but had its share of great moments, too. There’s an exchange between Sophie and the BFG that has stuck with me. Sophie has accompanied the BFG on his rounds blowing dreams into people’s houses. They’re watching a young boy’s dream unfold in his mind and suddenly it’s over.
“Dreams are so quick,” Sophie observes.
“Yeah, on the outside,” the BFG says with a chuckle. “But they’s long on the inside.”
Though he’s talking about our at-night dreams, I think his words relate to our day-dreams, too, or the ones that keep us up at night. Our someday dreams.
Sometimes it takes a long time for our dreams to happen. Almost always, dreams take time and work and effort and patience. But they can appear to happen quickly, especially if we aren’t given the background. I remember reading a book once that was so beautifully written and well crafted it actually discouraged me as a writer. “I’ll never write anything that good,” I thought. “She makes it look so easy.” Then I read the author’s note where she revealed that this book was a 10-year project that had evolved many times.
I had been mistaken because I couldn’t see the work that had gone into the dream, only the result.
I have dreams. The waking kind. The someday kind.
And sometimes it’s hard to believe those dreams will ever come true. And they might not. Maybe they’ll be replaced with other dreams. Or turn into nightmares.
But I think we need to have dreams, even if they don’t ever come true.
More importantly, I think we need to work as if our dreams will come true. Not that we have to do whatever it takes to make our dreams come true because that can be dangerous. But we have to do something. Few people have their dreams handed to them without any effort. (I appreciate this post in a series on dreams because it reminded me that my dream is my responsibility.)
In one sense, I’m living my dream. I’m a writer. I work from home. These are good things that have bad moments but mostly they are the elements to my dream job.
On Wednesday, I leave for a conference that has also been a dream. It’s for fiction writers and it’s big and potentially overwhelming and I already feel like maybe I shouldn’t be there (and I’m not even there yet). The last time I attended a conference I was clueless. Maybe it was better that way. Now, I feel like I know too much.
Going to this conference, though, is taking responsibility for my dream. Because if I ever want to publish a novel, I have to take a chance and let people know I’m out there, writing, and I have stories to tell. No one is going to find me and give me my dream while I’m sitting at home in comfy clothes watching Netflix. (I wish!)
The truth is that this conference isn’t going to be the realization of my dream. Not by itself, anyway. It will be a step in the process. (I think it may be true that publishing a novel may not even be the realization of my dream.) Just the beginning of the work. Or a continuation of it.
I worry that it might be the thing that crushes my dream because that is always possible. But even a crushed dream serves a purpose and makes way for a new dream to develop.
Maybe the path to my dream will be long. And winding. Maybe I’ll encounter a dead end. Maybe my dream will die.
As hard as that is to write, it’s almost easier to accept. I have an easier time believing my dream will be crushed than that it will be realized. (Analyze that, if you will.)
I won’t stop dreaming. I can’t.
And neither should you.
When I was growing up, that phrase was used to discourage people from pursuing something that seemed out of reach.
Dream on, we were told if we were aiming for something big or amazing.
I say, keeping dreaming.
Dream on and on and on.
That’s the distance from my hometown to Chicago, an interstate’s drive that takes nearly two hours. I have no idea how long it would take to walk it. Especially not in the middle of a muggy Midwestern summer.
It’s a number that scares me because it is SO big. And yet, it’s nothing compared to some other numbers.
Numbers like 65 million. That’s how many people are living as refugees or in refugee-like situation worldwide.
100 miles is small when compared to the thousands of miles some refugees travel to find safety, in the pursuit of hope for a better life.
But 100 miles is still important. Let me tell you why.
Over the next eight weeks, I have pledged to walk 100 miles to raise money for a local organization that helps refugees in our community. (My husband has also taken this pledge, so whatever you read here, double it. That’s what we need to achieve.)
Between today and Oct. 8, it is my goal to walk 12.5 miles each week. That’s about 1.8 miles a day.
Why on earth would I do that?
Because there are people on this earth who need help and Church World Service is providing the help. Over the course of 10 days, our local CWS office welcomed 59 refugees and asylees. That’s double their monthly average. In just 10 days.
In the coming days, I want to tell you more about my time with the refugees I meet while volunteering with CWS. But today, I’m asking if you’ll consider sponsoring this goal. I’m joining a team of 30 people who each have the goal to run or walk 100 miles in the 8 weeks. We’d like to raise $7,500 as a team, which breaks down to $250 per team member.
That’s $2.50 per mile.
You can pledge per mile or make a donation.
In case you need more math help like I do:
Ten cents a mile would be a $10 donation if I walk all 100 miles.
Twenty-five cents a mile equals a $25 donation.
Fifty cents a mile would a $50 donation.
I welcome any and all pledge amounts or donation. If you want to make an online donation instead of a pledge, you can go here.
If you’re interested in pledging, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at lmbartelt (at) gmail (dot) com or a PM on Facebook and I’ll add your name to my pledge sheet. All the money collected stays in Lancaster to help with the resettlement efforts here. I know that for many of you reading this, that’s not your community, but I can tell you firsthand what happens to that money. I can tell you the names of the men, women and children who directly benefit. If you have any questions, please ask.
We’ll be reporting our miles to CWS every week, and I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Let me tell you from the start: this will not be an easy goal for either of us. Many of our teammates will be running these miles. Phil and I will be walking, for various fitness-related reasons. But we are determined to do this.
If you’re interested in joining either one of us for a walk, we’d welcome the support. Times of day will vary based on work schedules.
Let’s do this.