Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Not that Dream Question Again

A Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

As much as I hate to say it, I sometimes feel as though that am asked about dreams an awful lot these days. “What are your dreams?” If you want to believe me or not, it's up to you, but I have laid awake for a while because of this question. I suppose it is because I feel hounded by it.

Yesterday while I was rerunning the Sunday sermon in my head I thought about how this question was asked again. All that I can think of is how I once had dreams, but I don't seem to have them any longer. It was thinking about this when the poem by Langston Hughes came to mind. It was then that I realized that maybe there is a possibility that my dreams will return, but they are certainly gone for now. I had a dream, I had a few, but they have been dashed like the ships in Hitchcock's movie Jamaica Inn, a lodge and pulic house along the Cornwall Coast. In one of the earliest of his films with sound Hitchcock told the story of how land-bound pirates would extinguish the signal light so that the ships would run aground along the treacherous Cornwall Coast and then they would kill the crew and rob the ship of it's cargo, usually very precious things, for the king and the gentry of England in what appears to be the late 1700's, but bear in mind they kept a commission.

I may not know exactly what happens to a dream deferred, but I do know what happened to the dreams of my past, few if any of them came to pass. Maybe our dreams run very high risk of going through the process of the last line of Langston's poem, “Do they just explode?” Mine did, and they did it with anything but aplomb. I don't find it necessary to share those fallen dreams with others now.

I've gone from dreams to what I believe to be the more adult and spiritual approach. I have some hopes for my life, I have desires of the heart that I believe God's spirit knows better than I do. I'll share a few of them, in some particular order, but not in exact order, I'm not sure they need to be in any particular order.

I do hope that I don't die alone. (Sure, God is with me, but I want a member of my family circle or circle of friends to be there with me. On the same topic I hope to have good care, not just from the hospital or hospice, but I want spiritual care not just for me but for my family as well, I hope that they are comforted.) I hope to see the direction God wants me to go in my life, I feel confident that this hope is being realized, but I tend to see it granted daily, but in the rear view mirror usually. I hope to have a partner some day, someone to share an intimate love, (not that kind, but true intimacy the cerebral kind). I hope to see a very real example of living peace, (it's okay to think on that one for a while.) I hope to see the joyful spirit that I used to have come back, I miss it. I hope to see an end to the bad memories I have from some of the life traumas that I've had, though I hate to call them that, I don't like the word trauma used outside of the ER.

I don't think that hope and dreams are the same thing. I see hope as being more spiritually grounded, I see hope as being prayerful; when it is a sincere hope, a heartfelt desire. I guess that I see dreams as Shakespeare described them, “True, I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy, which is as thin of substance as the air.”


Blogger Mike Mather said...

Dear Don, I love the challenge of which you speak. Perhaps it is, indeed, more mature to have hopes. A friend wrote to me this morning that she is struggling mightily with some demons and feels very lost and confused. Even hope seems beyond her reach right now (please be praying your support and encouragement for her). At the same time I sat in my study this past week and realized that the woman across from me had spoken her dream in my hearing more than once and I had done little to even acknowledge it. Since then I have done a tiny bit more. I often think of the ways I cannot stretch myself to do all that I think or (guiltily) believe I should do. Instead, I offer what I have -- sometimes dreams, sometimes hopes, sometimes confusion, and sometimes failures. But I hold on and wait for the reminder of the presence of grace and forgiveness. Not the idea of them, but the real arms around my shoulders. And the warmth that bears no judgment.

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