Have you ever had a dream that you try to make happen on your own but it just won’t work? You try everything you know to do: you apply, you work-work-work, you pray, you talk to people who have done it, you cry yourself to sleep and shout at the ceiling, you give up and try to stop caring.
But no matter what you try or don’t try, the dream feels impossible, elusive, and sometimes, it even feels like it’s taunting you.
What do you do when that happens? Most of us shift between working really hard to make a dream happen and then giving up and getting apathetic and cynical. But there’s a better – more challenging but also more honest – way to handle these dreams that are beyond our control.
Here’s the thing: the dreams that are beyond our control are usually connected to our deepest longings and our truest selves. This is why we work so hard and feel so much pain when they don’t happen. We need to pay attention to these big desires because they are telling you about WHO you are and WHY you are here on the earth. It’s a Big Deal.
I did a short video training on how to respond to these dreams that are so core to who we are, and yet no matter what we do, we can’t seem to get them to materialize. It’s a painful moment, but it’s almost universal to us as humans. You catch my training here.
I also want to share this with you, a poem I wrote 8 years ago when we were trying to conceive our first child. I was exhausted from holding the dream out and “trying” to have a baby when there was almost nothing – aside from the obvious 😉 – that I could do to make it happen. This poem has encouraged others who have felt the tension of longing, and I hope it encourages you too.
Hope, the Foolish Child
The child, Hope, is unrelenting in optimism;
Wakes up and says, “Today’s the day”, every day,
Even though It hasn’t happened yet.
With odds against the whole thing,
Hope seems blind to reality.
A starving Pollyanna,
Hope is a survivalist.
In a concentration camp of pain,
Hope is a finger of grass, poking through the asphalt.
Sometimes you want to strangle her neck,
Silence this thing that seems only to bring disappointment.
But she walks blindly, dodging death and famine,
Evading what seems to be true,
Believing in something that is nowhere in sight.
What shall I do with Hope, this child I can’t stop feeding?
I want to kill her, but she says the sweetest things.
She knows my desire,
Keeps telling me it’s coming, it’s coming.
I start to think she might be a liar.
And just when I’m about to stop standing there like a fool,
Hand over my eyes,
Staring into that thin horizon line,
Just then she points, shouts,
“Here It comes!”
I squint into the light and sure enough,
Here comes my Longing.
I reach over to hug Hope, that bouncing child.
But she’s gone,
Gone to lay claim to a new desire.
What if I’d given her up?
What if I’d sold her for a clever book title,
Something for the cynics’ best seller list?
What if I’d held her down and shut her up,
Put my hand over her mouth and made her quiet for good?
Disappointment would have moved in.
Skepticism would have been my neighbor,
Resentment shacked up on the couch.
I wouldn’t have been at the end of the drive that day.
I would have missed my Longing as It rode by.
My Cynicism proven right,
I would have looked haughtily from my balcony,
Confident my Self-Righteousness saved me much wasted time.
I would never have known.
I would’ve been right, sort of, but I would have never held Joy.
I thought of all these things.
And then I stood there one more day,
Stood waiting with Hope, holding her tiny hand.
I was there when the Longing came by.
I welcomed the Longing, gladly,
Snatched It up and planted It in the yard:
A Tree of Life for all to see.
A Tree of Life to remind me.
For those who will wait,
Who believe enough to stand out in all that weather:
She does not lie.
No, and Hope does not disappoint.
[by Sarah Siders. Written August 2009]