I’ve been thinking about dreams a lot lately. Not the whoa-what-was-that-all-about kind of dreams you have in the night and try to explain to your husband over breakfast. (Not that this ever happens to me …). No, the other kind. The awake kind. The kind that keep you afloat when you feel you might be drowning. Those far-off, seemingly unattainable hopes and goals for your life.
We need dreams. I need dreams. In the past few months, I’ve found myself mired in hopelessness, wondering if life will always be this struggling just to get by, relying on others for help, worrying if we’re doing the best thing for us and our kids. In some ways, the answer to those questions is “yes.” But in other ways, it’s “no.” It doesn’t have to always be like this. To remind myself to keep dreaming, in the positive sense, I started a notebook just to record my dreams. Things like places I want to visit or travel to, features I’d like to have in a home, stuff I’d like to do before I die (the bucket list, you know). I wanted a reminder that I have dreams. And I should keep having dreams. And I need to keep dreaming because those dreams aren’t necessarily out of reach.
And I’ve been hearing stories of people, women mostly, who have dreams that scare the pants off of them. And I keep hearing this in my head:
I’ve heard that if your dreams don’t scare you a little, they aren’t big enough.
And that’s what I want to do: Dream big.
The company I’m applying to work for has this as their vision: to invest in the dreams of the poor. They offer small loans to people in poverty to start a business to help earn an income for their families.
Investing in dreams. I thought about the people who have invested in my dreams. My parents, in sending me to college and taking out loans and helping repay those loans. A generous couple who sent me to my first writers conference where I hadn’t a clue what I was doing there but the experience of being there sparked something in me that I’ve been fanning into flame ever since. My grandparents, who have given time and money and support, in everything. The list could go on and on with family members, teachers, professors, mentors, co-workers, friends and virtual strangers.
That made me wonder if I’ve invested in anyone’s dreams and how I can do that.
And I wondered how many dreams I’ve carelessly crushed. A line from The Waiting’s “Mercy Seat” haunts me: For there you cover every lie I spoke, and every promise that I broke and every dreamer that I woke.
Father, forgive me, for any dreamers I’ve tried to wake.
And then this, from the Psalms:
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Sometimes it’s good to remember what it is to dream. To smile at the prospect. To tremble in fear and excitement. To stretch beyond what we’re capable of and find that God is there to help us. To try something new. To fail. And to try again.
Not all of our dreams will come true, but that doesn’t mean we stop dreaming.
Whatever your dreams, dream on.
And on and on.