Updated: Mar 20, 2021
I have forgotten how to dream.
Not the dreams that come to us as we sleep, a mixture of our days with our imagination, sweeping through our subconscious as we toss and turn on our pillows. Not that kind of dreaming. Not the kind you can wake from.
I’ve lost the ability to cast out my desires into the future, and then follow the invisible rope that ties me to them until they’re before me, a reality. I knew how to dream when I was young. I dreamed myself all the way to Haiti, singing lullabies to children with no families as they drifted asleep. I walked along the sides of mountains, formed my tongue into another language, and existed within my very own dream.
Then, I failed.
I failed my dream. It crumbled before me, when my emotions took control of me, my own needs coming before the very others God had entrusted to me. But, in his mercy, all things come to good, and now, Levi.
And love, then. How it can comb through us, rake out every part of our blood, our bones. How I had once believed I had that in my grasp. How I moved about my days as a woman loved, only to realize, maybe too late, that love isn’t love if it isn’t chosen. Feelings fade, disappear, even, but that choice, that’s where real love resides. And in that, I had failed too.
So as I walked the streets of my town the other night, in the crisp fall air, the sun a purple glow behind me, I was stopped dead in my tracks outside the bookstore. The dim lights, all those books staring back at me through the window, all the dreams inside of them calling to me. The words and their power. Words, how they move within me like water. I went in, started reading the first book that jumped out at me, a deep blue cover with a silver heron on the front. I stayed for an hour, left with an application. Breathed in the slowness of a bookstore, the quiet, the delicateness of all those books.
Books are dreaming for me. Words wake me up.
I came home and started to reflect on why my heart has been asleep. Where did all my dreams go? They turned into wounds. They melted into fear. Motherhood became my excuse. It is easier to just be a mother than to let myself dream again. For, what if I fail?
I learned recently that the word desire comes from the latin word de-sire, which means “of the Father.” There is a sacred essence to our desires. They come from God, they are planted there to be fulfilled. Not in the worldly sense, but correctly oriented, properly formed and nurtured, our desires are what God places on our heart to give to this world. It’s fulfillment. It’s peace. It’s life giving. It’s what sets us apart. We are all meant for greatness, and greatness can be really small.
Slowly, every day, I am letting myself dream again. Sometimes I dream of a farm with goats and a front porch and coffee, some days I dream of my books staring out the window at someone else, drawing them in. Some days I’m back in Haiti, barefoot and surrounded by children. Some days I dream of love, but sometimes that one still hurts.
These are just my dreams. My forgotten dreams, or my wounded dreams. Or my broken dreams. But either way, they’re mine. And God always finishes what He begins. So we always have hope.
If you’ve been feeling that stirring inside, or have noticed an emptiness within, I dare you to dream again. Because someone dared me, and now I’m unraveling. And it’s good.