Vulnerability alert! Last night, my husband asked me an innocent question: “What is your dream?” As I sat there and thought, I found myself bursting into tears. I cried. Oh, how I cried. As I thought, I couldn’t find anything that fit what I would call a “dream”.
When I was a little girl, I dreamt of being a teacher. I have done that, in some way, shape, or form, from age 16 to age 29.
When I was older, I dreamt of writing and being published. I have done that. (Though I have never quite been so Jo March to declare, “I shall write great books and make barrels of money.”)
I dreamt of finding deep, understanding love and partnership. I have found it.
I dreamt of holding a child in my arms. I do.
Yet, now, at almost 32 years of age, I do not know what my next dream is, what my next step or my next path in life is. And so I cried for a long time last night. It was a despairing cry; one never wants to think that they are dreamless. Soon, Elizabeth will be old enough for preschool and I will be back to work, but what work? Shall I return to the classroom, shall I search for a position in a library, or shall I try to step into something entirely new? I do not know and not knowing scares me.
It has also been suggested to me that I could make money from my writing. That is also an idea that frightens me, although I know it can be done. It would be a step of faith, a step of courage, one that would lead to some of the hardest work I’ve ever done and perhaps some of the rewarding work I have ever done. However, I’m not sure it is one that my family can afford, with what we are planning for/needing to be done in the future. Not as a sole method of breadwinning, that is. But…could it still be worth a try?
Ben asked me another poignant question then (it was truly the night for them): “Why do you write?” And so I answered honestly, perhaps the most honestly I ever have. I write so that there will be evidence that I existed. I write so that there will be a record that I lived, breathed, felt, thought, learned, created. However selfish it may sound, I write so that there will be proof of me. And maybe, just maybe, someone will find comfort, help, or encouragement from what I have experienced and shared. I did find something that I said in reply to him a touch curious, though. I told him that I do what I do in life because I feel as though they are what I must do. I write, share, post, sing, dance, and talk but I have not necessarily looked at those things as “dreams”. They are just a part of who I am.
Then Ben asked me if I had talked to God about it. When was the last time I asked Him for a new dream? I couldn’t answer, which was an answer in and of itself. And so, in the midst of my tears and clutching of my husband’s hand, I did what I should have done in the first place: I prayed. I thanked God for the dreams He has helped me to achieve and told Him of the despair I was feeling at the thought of not having a dream to aspire to, a path to set foot on. My heart cried out and I asked Him for a dream, for guidance, for light. I know and trust that He will be true to His word as I seek His dream for me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
So I shall continue to pray and quieten my heart continue to listen as I look, hope, wait for, and walk towards a new dream.