When we were little, dreams were big. Sure, it was dreaming of getting the latest Barbie (or Hot Wheels), dreaming of summer, dreaming of junior high, then high school, dreaming of our first love, our first kiss, our dream jobs, planning our weddings after watching Maria walk down the aisle and wed the Captain, wondering whether we would live in a mansion, apartment, shack, or house. We dreamed. We dreamed with abandon. Then we grew up.
Dreams turned into goals, planners, to-do lists, and keeping up with life. Soon we were no longer dreaming about what may be, but frantically trying to achieve those goals we set and reach the expectations set upon us. Somewhere, dreaming took a back seat and achieving took over. Love may have come and gone, or have yet to come and worn us down to believing we could live without it. Wedding planning turned to career planning. We began to embrace the practical, the achievable, the here and now that would lead to the next thing tomorrow. Life handed us some hard knocks and we forgot how to look it in the face with childlike awe and limitless wonder.
Weariness threatened to take over, but then we heard that still, quiet voice in our heads - "there is more," it said. "There is the life you dreamed of when you were guided by your heart and the desires planted there."
Something happens when we take on adulthood according to the world's terms. We lose that element of faith that as children was wholly unspoiled for many of us. We lose that belief that anything is possible, that we can save the world, we can reach the stars, we can be an astronaut or rock star or prima ballerina or doctor or medical researcher who finds the cure for cancer or any number of those childhood dreams. We get consumed by the to-dos and forget to be. We forget we are Spirit powered and get tied up by our own chains and failings.
We see cancer. We see war. We see failure. We see greed and poverty. We see hunger and homelessness. We see cheating, stealing, and deceit to get ahead. We see the hurt of tainted love and abuse. We see brokenness...a world full of brokenness, and more glaringly, our very own kind of broken life.
God reminds us to break free of those chains. He reminds us that with Him, all things are possible. He promises us that He has great BIG plans for us. We forget, as we are wont to do, but He remembers, and His Spirit whispers to us - "there is more."
Never is this truer than after marriage and having my own children. I watch my family dream. I dream for them. I want the world to be limitless and full of every good possibility for them. If I have forgotten how to dream, they remind me. My own dreams blossom and take on new life. My dreams become their dreams - I see the world through my children's innocent and joyful eyes. As I dream for them, I learn what it is to dream again for myself. I begin to listen to that still, small voice that tells me "I am still here, and I have more. Do not be afraid."
So I begin to try new things, to follow my heart and take a few risks. I may do it with teeth clenched and eyes closed, still fearful of falling flat on my arse, because...well...we've all been there, right? The important thing, though, is that I try and I follow that voice that leads me. I find that desire that God has planted in my heart. I notice what gives me life and do it more often.
You know what? It is scary, but it is exhilarating. Truly, the best part of taking off those chains and learning to fly again is watching my biggest fans follow suit. They dream big when I dream big.
As I sit atop my mountaintop year and look ahead to 40, my dreams have certainly changed over the years. In so many ways, I am living my dream. I have found my forever love, walked down that aisle like Maria, started a family and am building a home with them. I haven't become a prominent doctor or found the cure for cancer or AIDS (mostly because chemistry broke my heart and my GPA). I'm not famous, and thankfully not infamous either. It took me a long time to discover that the secret wasn't so much doing big things, but dreaming with wide horizons.
I've got big dreams for 40 and onward. I'd love to have my own studio. I'd love to be home with my children more. I'd love to have this house truly turned into a welcoming place where we can open our home to those who need us more. More importantly, I want to be a wife, mother, and friend who helps others discover their dreams.
The beauty of dreaming with our eyes open is that we don't do it alone. We can lift one another up, push one another on. So here, from on top of my mountain, I say to you, dream big, hope big, love big, live big. Take that class. Right that wrong. Encourage that friend, child, spouse, parent. Throw caution to the wind and trust that you might just fly. Tap into that Spirit power and in the words of Mother Superior,
Climb every mountain,Ford every stream,Follow every rainbow,'Till you find your dream.
NOTE: If you are looking to set out on a new path and aren't sure how to make it work, there are so many avenues like Kabbage.com that provide small business loans, and help people achieve their dreams and goals. Dream big, my friends, and know you're not going the road alone!
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