My sister, Janet, brilliantly shines with her loving way of helping people in unique and timely ways. Recently she surprised our mom with travel plans to see a favorite violinist later this year. Our practical and frugal mom is 92, so naturally her first question was, “What if I don’t live that long?” Her question is one any of us would ask! But Janet is willing to take that chance, and in so doing, offers our mom one of her longtime dreams.
No matter what happens, in the meantime our mom is excited. She eagerly anticipates the joy of traveling with my sister and niece, seeing new sights, and experiencing the beautiful music at the concert. Her days are brighter, her spirit is livelier. I know that even if her one “concern” would come about, she has already been richly blessed by the anticipation of this once-previous dream.
How often are we too practical and frugal with our lives? I know that I have too often kept myself from pursuing my God-given big dreams. Because I once doubted my abilities, I lowered my expectations to more “reasonable” ones. Because I have lacked courage, I have at times discounted my ability to achieve goals of value and worth. Because I question how long my life will be, I wonder if I should shorten my dream list. Because I am content, I hesitate to take on new responsibilities. But thanks to Janet’s example, I hope to be more open to pursuing my present and future dreams.
God places wild and wonderful dreams in our hearts, but how often do we respond by immediately listing reasons why we can’t pursue them? Do we think we can only pursue them if we are guaranteed to succeed? If we take those steps toward our dreams and goals, why should we care if we actually make it across the finish line? What if our initial steps are leading to another as-yet-unseen new goal? What if we are to learn something from our failures, too?
I’m reminded of the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
This earth IS crammed with heaven. We are standing on holy ground. Our practical souls want to pluck blackberries. But these burning bushes will be more visible to us in the planning, the training, the daring, the excitement, and the PURSUIT of our God-given dreams. Our days will become more purposeful and abundant. Our trust in God will deepen as we risk each new step. And whether or not we see the anticipated finish line, we will find our joy is in the journey, feeling God’s presence leading and guiding us on.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver