— 1 —
As Debbie Harry famously crooned: Dreaming is free. And I thought I’d do a little today, mostly because I woke up with the first song I link to below echoing in my head, but also just to do a little light writing. I’d considered the subject of dreams before as examples of them are scattered throughout Scripture and the lives of the saints. But that involved heavier lifting than I’m up for today.
First up, a song from my daughter’s favorite movie, Tangled. No matter who we are or our situation, we all need a dream. Make it a big one, and be flexible and receptive to change. Like a million other little boys I wanted to grow up to pitch at Fenway Park. Ok, so that didn’t work out…but I found a new dream or two instead.
I’ve Got A Dream – Tangled
Though my face leaves people screaming
There’s a child behind it, dreaming
Like everybody else, I’ve got a dream
— 2 —
“God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next… I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons…” ~ Cardinal John Henry Newman
— 3 —
Part of getting a new dream is realizing that our dreams are not meant to be kept to ourselves. A great dream is a selfless one…a mission…and it is often in serving others that we awake to find we’ve suddenly achieved a dream of our own even if it wasn’t the one we set out to accomplish. The lyrics I quote below are meaningful to me today as half of my life is behind me and I am the sum of my experiences, both good and bad. When you dream, do not be afraid to fail or make a fool of yourself. You have to put yourself out there.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your Will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing…” ~ Thomas Merton
Dream On – Aerosmith
Half my life is in books written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
— 4 —
“I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
— 5 —
Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
And now that I have reached the halfway point (or more) I find that my dreams transition to those of my children. To do what I can to help them not just achieve their own, but to learn how to dream themselves. I find I do this through books, stories, movies and musicals and plays and sonnets and songs. And through fairy tales. Especially through fairy tales. These tales, while seeming to be overly simplistic or idealistic to some, demonstrate over and over again the real life virtues of Fides, Spes and Caritas (Faith, Hope and Love). Of Prudence and Temperance, and of Fortitude and Justice. Without dreams and fairy tales the seven opposites of these virtues flourish (pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust) can flourish. If we, or our children or others we influence in this life, do not learn, practice and share the light of these virtues the gathering darkness will indeed grow more suffocating.
“Fairy tale does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat…giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
I Have A Dream – ABBA
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see