In defense of dreaming

In the last month, I lost my dad, left the convent, and have been dreaming more audaciously than ever before. And I don’t mean those bizarre but oddly realistic nightly episodes viewed behind my closed eyelids; I mean the heart-swelling, mind-expanding, hope-planting, daytime variety. I suddenly have complete license to dream, and dream big, and I am taking full advantage of that freedom.

I fear this is not the norm these days. While I’ve been largely unaware of societal trends for the last two years, something tells me that our culture is not necessarily one that fosters this beautiful human trait, one that promotes our flourishing and fosters creativity and sets us wholly apart from all other creatures. To live a full, joyful, healthy life, I do believe, we must dream.

Now, I suppose there may be objections. I imagine dreamy-eyed schoolchildren gazing out the window while they’re supposed to be paying attention to their lesson on fractions, or glassy-eyed employees planning their next trip abroad when they have projects waiting, but still I insist: we must dream.

I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of dreams these days, from the smallest and most realistic to the wildest and most grandiose. Some I share and some I don’t dare. Some have been little seeds planted way down in my heart for years, and some have popped up seemingly out of nowhere, yet they all have taken hold and have opened me up in the most life-giving, refreshing, healing way. I dream of what next week could hold, and I dream of the life I’ll look back on when I meet my end, hopefully many decades from now. My dreams consist of short-term goals and secret plans and very serious matters of the heart. And as I sense this new blossoming within myself, I am bursting to share: we all must dream.

Now, you may be thinking: but won’t that be damaging? What if your dreams are crushed, your hopes dashed, your all too unrealistic plans thwarted? What will become of your fragile heart then? Of course I can’t predict that. Will all my dreams come true? Maybe. But probably not. Am I bothered by that? Honestly, no. There are some things I’ve dreamt up in these last weeks that I’ve soon realized are, in fact, completely out of the realm of possibility. Even so, those dreams I’ve dreamt and have let fall by the wayside have still nourished my soul. They’ve pointed me in newly decisive directions, have expanded my heart, have opened me up to new people and places and plans. Not a moment has been a waste.

Will disappointments come? I’m sure. Heartbreak? Without a doubt. But regret? I just don’t think so. So far, I’m a clear-eyed, wide-hearted, joy-filled dreamer, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Dream on, I say.

(And I really do mean it.)




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