It takes a lot of courage to show
dreams to someone else.”
dreams to someone else.”
~ Erma Bombeck
Lately, I’ve been thinking about dreams. Not nighttime dreams of cooking pasta for Ray Romano while you’re on a raft in the ocean trying to find your car keys. Dreams that come from your heart and whisper in your ear when you’re alone or trying to get to sleep or sittng in a carpool lane wondering if there’s more to life than driving kids around and making dinner and doing laundry.
In one of the devotional readings this week focused on Sarah and her dream of having a child. The commentary said something to the effect that the dreams in our hearts are put there by God and He gives us the ability to succeed in those dreams, but we have to always remember that His time is not our time and sometimes, often, in fact, we have to wait for the opportunity we need to make the dream come true.
Sarah desperately wanted a child, and God had promised Abraham he’d be the father of a great nation. However, Sarah grew tired of waiting and she didn’t know what else to do, so she gave Hagar, her maid to Abraham to father a child for her. We know the story. Bitterness grew up between Hagar and Sarah, and as Sarah was the mistress of the household, Hagar got the gummy end of the stick often.
God was faithful, though, and even when it was humanly impossible, Sarah had her child and Issac was the child of the promise.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I went through the same thing most kids go through of not knowing what they want to be when they grow up. I never had anything that called to me and that I “desired” to be, and with counselors telling you “You can be anything you want,” well, it didn’t help.
But I loved writing, and eventually, I just KNEW that whatever else I did in life, I would write. I worked as a Kelly girl after college when I couldn’t get a public relations job. I wrote when there wasn’t any work to do. I wrote at home. I didn’t know a THING about writing novels, just that I wanted to.
Then I met my husband and we went to a concert at our church. Afterward, my best friend, the deaconess, asked me to take something back to the store for her and asked Steve to go with me. While we were there, some tabloid has something about romance novels. They cause cancer or something dumb.
I sheepishly told this lovely man with me that I wanted to write them.
He said: “Good for you.”
Is it any wonder I married him?
Most people laughed or scoffed or at best, said nothing about this writing dream. My own mother, who called herself “practical” as though saying “I’m Methodist,” worried that I was a “dreamer.” When I said something about wanting to write bookS (plural!!!) she repeated the plural with something akin to panic in her voice.
When Steve and I went on a date with one of his friends and a woman he was seeing, my writing Christian romance was mentioned, and she was a “scoffer.”
“What does that mean? Two people find God and fall in love?”
I wanted to slink under the table, but my darling, very own hero, said, “Yes.”
Dreams are a deep part of ourselves and fragile. Letting them out exposes them to dangers and the chance that someone won’t like them. They’re much like our own children that way. We don’t want to send them out into that cruel world where they might be bullied or hurt or made fun of. That hurts.
We have a choice. We can keep them with us, safe in our homes (hearts) and never expose them to the dangers and challenges of the world.
That’s not good for children. As parents it’s our responsibility to raise them to be strong, independent, self-reliant, moral people. One day we have to drop them off at school or put them on that school bus and hope for the best. Even if we homeschool, there will come a day when we have to let them go; maybe for their first sleepover at someone else’s house or for a playdate or something. We have to. It’s hard on us, but they can’t flourish if we hold them close to us every second.
Our dreams are the same way. We have to let them out and we have to let them risk being laughed at or ignored or scoffed at. If we don’t they can never be applauded or fulfilled. That scoffing or laughing can toughen up the dream and our determination to see it happen or it can cripple us, and make us forget those dreams ever existed. Who needs that pain, so I won’t dream anymore.
I watched a show once where a couple was struggling to get by. The man worked at a job he HATED and she worked at a job she didn’t like either, and because of their children, they had to work different schedules and never saw one another. What baffled me and hurt my heart is that this was not temporary. Neither of them seemed to expect life to ever change or get better. I couldn’t imagine living like that. I think they had stopped dreaming.
Years ago, when I was attending RCIA to join the Catholic Church, we attended Wednesday prayer services during Advent. During one of these, we were asked what our “New Years Resolutions” were – the beginning of Advent being the beginning of the Church year. I wrote “Get a book published” and “find a baby to adopt.” Those were my two big dreams and for about six years I thought about them every Advent and every prayer I lifted to my Heavenly Father ended with, “And let us find a baby to adopt.”
In June 21, 2002 a little boy came to live with us and stole my heart. In December 2002, Wings Press offered me a contract for Fabric of Faith. In Sept 2003, that little boy because legally ours (3 years ago yesterday!) and in Jan 2004, Fabric of Faith came out.
My dreams have been fulfilled and I really don’t know what else to wish for. If I hadn’t expressed those dreams out loud, it would still be 2006, but where and what would I be?