“It’s important to share your dreams,” a friend told a group of us the other day. She’d been reading about how it helps us to confide your dreams with your spouse or a friend and about a company where people helped each other achieve their dreams.
It was so foreign to me. I realized with a jolt that I don’t dream anymore. And the funny thing is I was such a dreamer in my youth.
Why do people stop dreaming? Why are youth known for dreams and ideals and us middle-aged and older folks for our realism, if not cynicism? I suppose, to a degree, it's natural, a part of human experience.
Maybe we avoid dreaming because some dreams came true, but still left us empty. Maybe because we’ve achieved our dreams, and we can’t think of new ones. Maybe we’re too busy. Maybe we’ve suffered too much. For some it’s too painful to try again, after the death of a beloved dream. Some, who had to let go of a dream, have concluded that dreaming is a form of attachment, opposed to being docile to God’s will.
What does God think? Does He want us to be devoid of dreams?
I think not. I would even go so far as to say that God has dreams.
That may sound strange—how can the All-Knowing, Almighty One have any dreams? Doesn’t He know what is going to happen anyway? And can’t He make whatever He wants to happen, happen?
Not altogether. Just because He knows what will happen doesn't mean that He's making it all happen or that it's what He wants to happen. And what is a dream if not a wish that we long for but that might not be fulfilled? A dream by definition is usually not a sure thing. By making creatures with free will, He made it possible for His own wishes not to come true.
His attitude toward our dreams surely is that of a parent (He is our Father, after all). I don’t want my children to be dreamless; I want them to have good dreams. Dreams that will make them happy and holy, not dreams that will leave them miserable, either because the dreams are sure to disappoint or because they're dreaming of things that are not good for them.
What does God dream for you and me? Is He dreaming that I’ll grow in patience? Is He dreaming that you’ll someday start that apostolate He’s laid on your heart?
I don’t think He wants us to go from worldly dreams to no dreams, to cynicism. I bet He hopes instead that we will want to dream His dreams. If anything, He wants us to dream bigger dreams.
How many of us dare to dream of being able to conquer this or that sin that we confess over and over and over again? Or to suffer with the patience and joy of a saint? To love as He loves?
I’m trying to come up with some new dreams. First of all, I want to spend more time dreaming about the Lord and my eternal destiny. I think that would make everything better.
But I should probably also come up with some dreams for this life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someday I could enter into real contemplation and experience union with God like St. Teresa of Avila? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if I could become a mother like Mary? What if my greatest joy was God’s will and doing His will was my focus throughout the day? What if I could truly pray always and give thanks in all circumstances—and not by the skin of my teeth, but with a full heart?
Ambitious dreams, yes, but if I want to dream God’s dreams, then I’ve got to dream big.