It’s the 25th of the month and there will be no salary in my account today. For the first time in many 25ths of the month. It’s a little scary and slightly worrying but it’s also freeing and thrilling. So I’m typing this in my garden because, well, I can.
I suspect there are people who think I’m weird. Ok, I know there are. I’ve jumped career ship and my life raft is two kids and a wild dream. The dream is far-fetched and who do I think I am, one in seven billion, that my dream should come true?
My four-year-old teaches me loads. Unlike Fantine in Les Mis, wandering the docks and eventually selling herself to survive, Cameron hasn’t allowed life to kill the dreams he dreams. The other day from the backseat on our way home from school he said, ‘Mom, when I’m a grownup I’m going to be a beekeeper. And a poet. Two days I will write poems and two days I will work with the bees. And maybe I’ll write poems about the bees.’ Jeesh. Talk about career diversity. And the four-day work-week is a serious bonus.
I thought again of Fantine, and of me. She sings, ‘I dreamed a dream in time gone by / When hope was high and life worth living…’ So did I.
The difference between me and Fantine (besides the fact that I still have all my teeth and she is way prettier) is that somehow I clung to the dream.
My parents helped. They took my dreams seriously, even when I was little. They enrolled me in a writing course for grownups when I was twelve and encouraged me to send my stories to magazines. I was thirteen when my first story was published. I got a cheque for R175. I remember how proud my sisters were and I still have that story somewhere.
My husband also believes in my dreams. He gallantly – kindly – carries things heavily so that I can attempt and explore. Courageous protector and provider, gentle leader and lover – he sets me free. The belt is tight but my dreams are breathing easy.
And so I’ve landed in a season of permission to dream my wild dreams. Besides being a pretend-pretend occupational therapist (I’m a wiz at writing my name in flour; soon Cam will be, too), and packing lunch boxes that are representative of at least four major food groups, I’m doing some online courses, listening to TED talks, resurrecting my French, reading the writers that inspire and challenge me, writing for free for The WordSpace and Radiant Magazine, hoping to earn cash by marking university scripts, saying YES to any speaking opportunities that come my way, and writing writing writing. Blogging here and here. Tossing around ideas for another children’s novel. Hopefully something that will capture the imagination of a Hollywood director. And if not, at least it will capture mine.
Really I have just one dream. To use my gifts to change the world – even just a very little bit. Leave it better than it was when I arrived.
And actually, because of Jesus, that dream has already come true.
Last night our cell group tackled the epilogue of an essay by Tolkien – On Fairy Stories. He writes that what makes the Gospels so wondrous is that they contain the elements of fantasy and myth and fantastical folktale – and yet they’re true. They are the very best kind of dream – rooted in reality but with pinch-myself splendour and too-good-to-be-true certainty and veracity.
Just by knowing Jesus – the God-Man whose life was swathed in authentic legend – we are living a dream that life cannot kill. I live in the surety that God imagined me from eternity past, fashioned me just-so in the womb, wired me complexly and untraceably, and shepherded me on a wholly unique journey that would awaken in me wholly unique dreams. I trust him not to waste a moment. Not to waste a single experience or mistake. I trust him to accomplish the good work that he has started in me, whether or not people think I’m weird. I trust him to hold my fragile hopes. I trust him to use my best dreams for his best purposes, and for his glory.
You can too.
Do you have old dreams forgotten? New ones just birthing? Fantine-type dreams killed by life but revived? Leave a comment. Inspire me and others, please!