I’ve been putting off writing this blog post for weeks, though it’s been living in my head for that long or longer. I don’t want to write it because what I feel is mostly sad, and I’m tired of feeling sad and defeated. I desperately want to hope but hope feels like something just out of reach. Maybe I should wait for a sunnier day to write this, but maybe if I get the words out, the fog in my head will lift.
Let me begin with this, though: What you are about to read is just one part of a whole big life. It’s the saddest part right now, which means it is sometimes the most dominant part, but the other parts are not so sad. But this is what I need to write about right now.
If you read this blog regularly, you might know that this year has been a roller coaster already.
I wish I had good news. But in the last month, not one but two dreams we were holding on to turned to dust in my hands. They were the kind of dreams I could almost picture as reality but just before they became touchable, poof! Gone. Like a bubble you try to hold but end up popping instead.
One was a writing dream. It was close to the end of it. A few clicks from being something I could literally hold in my hands. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, it was gone. A project I had given significant time and effort to was pulled from my grasp. Maybe I had been holding it too tightly in the first place, but I am still grieving its loss, even if I know I am freer now to pursue my own work.
It is just a memory now, a lesson learned.
And maybe I wouldn’t be so sad if another dream hadn’t also turned to dust in that time.
Last month I wrote about the possibility that our dream of buying a house in the city could die. We had not great news from the bank but we still had a little bit of hope. Another call about financing, to no avail. A foreclosure house in great condition that actually fit with the budget the bank could offer. A short timeline to make a decision. Homebuyer classes for first-timers that left me feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. The eventual decision to not pursue home buying at this time.
We had hoped that maybe this summer would be the year we could make the move into the city, to continue following a passion we can’t exactly explain. We want to be where the people, especially refugees, are, but it’s not a mission to save, only to live in community with and love imperfectly.
Can we still do this without buying a house in the city? Yes. And we are.
Still, the dream. We have been renters for 10 years in places too small for our growing family. We are looking for a place to call home and while I’m aware that home ownership can turn into a nightmare (related: The Money Pit is on Netflix), there is still this desire.
But it, too, is dust for the moment. We need to pay down debt. We need more income to do it. I’m frustrated with trying to get paying work as a writer and editor. It’s a cycle. And we’re stuck in some ways. And I feel like throwing the ashes of my dreams on my body and walking around in constant lament.
Even ashes don’t mean death.
I don’t understand it, but this beautiful piece of art that hangs on our wall speaks truth.
God can do amazing things with ashes. In the creation story, he creates man from dust. At Christian funerals, we hear ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Even in death we believe that dust is not the end, not really. In another story, God makes a pile of dry bones live.
It is the Easter season now, the time when we celebrate that death is not the end because resurrection has the last word. The God who can resurrect even the dead in body can surely resurrect the dreams that have turned to dust.
Even now, I believe.
And not just because the Bible tells me so. But because when I am not even looking for it, I am seeing resurrection. While watching a silly animated movie with my kids, the dreams of a bunch of performers crumble but they persist and perform anyway. And the dream is resurrected.
While watching another movie, a story I’ve experienced numerous times in a variety of ways, what looks like the end, an enchantment settling in forever, is not the end. There is resurrection.
And when I’m speaking this story to a friend, expressing my frustration with my life and writing, her 10-year-old daughter chimes in: “If you have a lot of stories in your imagination, you should just write them down.”
I don’t know your dreams or the state of them, but I know that when my dreams seem only like dust, cold and lifeless, God is still speaking resurrection to them. He is fanning them with the fires of His Spirit, and even if I can’t see one single ember, I have hope that the dust is not the end.
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