As I sit at my kitchen table and type this post, everything seems calm and normal on the surface, but it doesn’t take too much of a closer look beyond to see the scattering of ashes many parts of my world seem to have become. It may look normal, but nothing is the same. I wonder if you can relate.
I have lunches made for the school day ahead. The coffee in my mug is still warm, a mini-miracle. I breathe in the deep breath of stale air. The same stale air that has been filling my lungs for the past few years. I long for fresh air tinged with the scent of hope. It would smell slightly sweet. It would be cool as it hits my face and nose, it would warm my lungs and abdomen as it travels down through my body. If I take time to exhale slowly, my body would have the tiniest spark of newness in it. The energy could spread from there. I wonder if you can relate.
I can’t pinpoint the exact day my dreams stopped being dreams and slowly became memories of foolish ideas I once had. Silly things I thought in my own strength I could achieve or become. Bit by bit the world wore me down until I arrived here at my kitchen table surrounded by ashes, breathing stale air. I wonder if you can relate.
I won’t pretend for one second that my experience of the recent pandemic is the same as yours. I won’t act like I know what’s been taken from you. In fact, I’m sure there are things you’ve sacrificed and lost that seem unimaginable to me. What I can honor and recognize is that we’ve all lost something. When I talk to my friends and hear their stories, the one thing that resounds loudly in my ears is this: We’ve stopped dreaming.
In an effort to accept that we can’t predict or understand the future, we’ve given up trying to evolve and grow and given in to simply staying where we are as the waves of chaos and uncertainty crash into us. Time does not stop though, and while survival is our number one task, I doubt any of us feel alive living for mere survival. Dear friends, we need to keep dreaming.
Our culture often ties this idea of dreaming and goals to fame and fortune, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about having a hope for ourselves, our families, and our communities that keeps us getting up every day. Not simply allowing the needs to drive us, but also having a hope that pushes us towards more. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but I believe it looks like you are yourself again, smiling again, breathing fresh life-giving air, and looking around and accepting the broken things and also knowing you can look forward with hope at the same time. Holding true contentment in presence in the moment and future hope in the same hand. It is certainly a tricky balance, but maybe we can find it when we start dreaming again.