Remember your dreams? Not the ones that came as you slept at night, but the ones that made you feel fully alive when you were awake? Do you remember the possibilities, the adventure, the colors, patterns, ideas, and outcomes you imagined? Do you remember the thrill of sharing those dreams with others, and the excitement of finding someone who would dream with you? Do you remember?
Right now you are angry. Oh, you might not admit it, but everyone around you will testify. You are sullen, moody, quick to retort, socially withdrawn, and frustrated. Really frustrated. Nothing is good enough, no one is smart enough, life isn’t beautiful enough to accommodate you. No, everything is gray, cold, bitter, and laced with larceny.
Your dreams became a part of you back in the day. Your aspirations for the future became the fiber of your soul, and you knit your life together with those dreams. The colors you chose, and the textures you wanted became your fuel and your passion. But then something happened…
The world you live in withheld some of the colors you wanted. That job, that promotion, that particular family or dynamic you were longing for didn’t happen. In fact, reaching your goals became harder and harder until it felt impossible. Nothing worked out. Sometimes you gave up and cut the threads on purpose. Sometimes you let them unravel, or burned them altogether.
Now your dreams are your tormenters. They are voices in your head that haunt you. You look at them now as inflicters of pain, and anyone who reminds you of your dreams, or begins to dream in your colors, becomes a source of frustration to you. You don’t want to talk anymore in colors, textures, or future. You snap at those who do. You are bitter. You are jaded. You are hurting.
While you are certain the world has turned its back on you, those around you are still singing, dreaming, coloring, and filling their lives with dreams, goals and possibilities. You are tempted to shut them out or shut them down. But wait….
While you were actively pursuing your future, other threads were woven into your story. Dynamic colors, subtle shades, varying textures, and joy-filled patterns that sprung up from the every day living. Laughter, friendships, children, sunsets, opportunities, excursions, good food, good music. They wove their way into your life in order to secure your soul, and keep you alive. But you weren’t watching.
The “real opportunities” you wanted, didn’t materialize. The good food was just a temporary pleasure, and you took it for granted. The laughter of children, you decided, was just naivety on its way to pain, and you let it roll on by. Your dreams were beyond all of that…so you thought.
Think back for a minute. In your dreams, wasn’t there laughter, joy, beauty, music, opportunity, love, and flavor? Weren’t you expecting those things at one point in your life? Hmmmm….
Perhaps the dream you knit into your soul was a “life event” you expected that would re-color your world, and instead of it being one big event, it came in little threads, in a million little events. Turn around. Look. What do you see?
Maybe looking back you can see the tattered ends of broken threads where you gave up, and the surprising entrance of other colors, shades, and strengths. Maybe if you turn around, you will see that you were not the weaver of your soul, as you thought you were, but that maybe your soul is knit together and secured by Someone who knows you better than you know yourself.
Can you see the patterns? Can you marvel for just a moment at the strength and durability of the differing threads? Can you see the blessings of your life for what they are? Blessings! Can you stop and thank God for those?
The only road out of bitterness is thankfulness. The only cure for an angry heart, is returning to “wonder and awe”. The journey back to relationships is through forgiveness, both the giving and receiving of it. And if you want courage for your dreams again, you need to encourage the dreams of others.
You’ll soon discover that your soul is made stronger by the threads of others, and your dreams were never meant to be woven in isolation. Those threads that you thought were taunting you, were actually calling you to “look” “to see” the life that was being woven, and to encourage you to keep going. Your life really is worth living, and the beauty of your life is yet to be fully seen.
Laugh again. Go ahead. Enjoy the pleasure of a walk again. Breathe the air and take in its smells, and sensations. Eat your food slowly, and notice its flavors. Hold your loved ones, and squeeze them like you won the lottery. Ask for forgiveness, and let love back in. Restart your dreams, but this time…look around. Don’t miss the blessings. Don’t despise the little things. Rejoice in every delight, and find joy in the patterns of your life.
Above all, delight in the Weaver of your soul. God who knows you, loves you, and delights in you…even though you’ve been a stinker!
Psalm 103 New International Version (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Photo courtesy of Chuck Skeek.