When Dreams Come True
Note: I wrote this essay in 2015, and it was published by Daughters of Promise Magazine.
My mom always called me a dreamer. I was the one who wasn’t sure I had time to get married because there were so many Bibles to smuggle, orphans to rescue, and inner-city children to teach. None-the-less, when Prince Charming walked in, he eventually wooed me, and I thought that was the end of those dreams. But I had this ah-ha moment when I realized that many of my dreams have come to pass in our move from Pennsylvania to Belize.
My high school teacher told us statistics overwhelmingly support the fact that those who write down their dreams are more likely to realize them. At the time, I already had a list written in my journal, but I faithfully kept adding to it over the years. Would my mouth have dropped open could I have gotten a sneak preview of the future?
Dream: Live in the city.
Reality: More like a town than a city, we live in a sprawling village where the local bar plays thumping music about eighteen hours out of the day. Anything of value disappears if left unattended.
Dream: Work with homeless people.
Reality: A homeless man shows up on my porch at any hour of the day or night asking for bread and hot tea, the smell of urine-soaked pants announcing his arrival. Occasionally I need to bleach my porch after he uses it for a bathroom.
Dream: Own a dog.
Reality: We have two stinking mutts, one with a nasty infected flesh wound from a fight.
Dream: Live in the tropics.
Reality: We’re in the tropics, all right. Mildew grows on dirty laundry, damp sheets keep us tossing and turning all night, and sweat runs constantly. Humidity turns my daughter’s spaghetti-straight hair into fat sausage curls.
Dream: Have a large family of non-boring children.
Reality: While my family isn’t exactly large, it has grown by two in the last month since we became house parents to the two single teachers. Non-boring children? I think I have more than I asked for so far with my oldest daughter. How about picking wads of gum off the store counter, asking the bishop to see pictures on his phone, saying hi to every stranger she meets, and getting into enough trouble to make me retreat behind a stack of child training books?
My dreams didn’t turn out anything like I imagined them. Occasionally I wonder why I didn’t dream more safe, more comfortable things. Why hadn’t I just been content to just write “Be a mom” on all those questionnaires in grade school that asked what we wanted to be when we grew up.
But it’s a fulfilling, invigorating life. It feels right, like God placed me here. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life.” There are stresses, there is homesickness, there are annoyances and discomforts, but an overriding peace and joy breathes life into the days.
So I’ll keep dreaming. But I’m a little worried. How will God choose to fulfill the dream “Work at a crisis pregnancy clinic”?
Afterward: 2018 - God has continued to fulfill my dreams in ways I would have never imagined, sometimes in uncomfortable ways. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next.