You Had a Dream

You had a dream.

Not a particularly inspiring beginning for a memorable speech.  Past tense – already done with in one form or another.  Second person is usually not nearly as intriguing as the tantalizing promise of a first-person revelation. 

And yet the fact remains, you had a dream.  And as much as our culture likes to talk in terms of following your bliss and pursuing your dreams and just doing it and whatever other pithy and inane sound bites people will adopt as a life motto, the simple fact is that not everybody’s dream can happen.  The more sobering fact is that quite often, for my dream to become a reality, someone else’s dream has to die.  Reality has only so much space to it, so much room to write and sketch and develop.  And if my dream is to have the space to do so, your dream probably can not.  Or at least someone’s dream can not.

It’s hard to sell t-shirts or much of anything else on the premise that in seeking to make our dream a reality we have to – usually unintentionally and unknowingly – crush the dreams of other people in our community.  That vacant lot that you dream of turning into a community dog park?  Somebody else dreamed of turning it into a community garden.  One dream is fulfilled, another is not.  That dream you had of renovating that abandoned building into a children’s center?  Someone else had dreamed of turning it into a day facility for seniors, or the developmentally delayed.  One dream is fulfilled, another is not.

The matter of dream fulfillment seems largely to be a matter of opportunity as well.  Some dreams can be fulfilled mroe easily because resources are aligned properly.  There’s money in the bank.  There’s someone who wants to donate or sell a piece of real estate.  There’s critical mass.  Other dreams seem to wither for lack of those same resources.  Some dreams have to remain dreams longer because not all of the proper resources are available.  Other dreams have the opportunity to develop – or to fail – because some of the resources are available, but perhaps not all of them.

It is incredibly, painfully frustrating to watch your dream wither.  It’s almost as painful to watch someone else’s wither.  To look them in the eye and apologize that while their dream is beautiful and lovely and important and even potentially achievable, you can’t assist them in it – may actually even be hindering or damaging it – because the resource you possess, which would make their dream that much closer to reality, is needed to facilitate your own dream.  And that even though your own dream may seem weak and tenuous compared to theirs, it remains the dream you have been given, and you can’t see any way forward but to at least try and realize it.

Dreams are beautiful and wonderful gifts.  Glorious bubbles that waft and drift in our lives, dancing and enticing.  Perhaps they’re more like kites, attached to us by gossamer strands that hardly seem enough to link us.  It’s lovely to think of the sky full of those kites, full of those dreams dancing and pulling and seeking to soar higher and swoop more dramatically.  But that string is manja – deadly sharp – and some kites are cut down in the process of allowing others to soar. 

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