When Dreams Die…

“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”
J. Abdul Kalam

Did you ever have a dream?

Of course you did. I can safely say that everybody in the whole world had a dream or two. No matter who you are, where you are, free or not, short or tall, rich or poor, young or old, sane or insane, dreams are universal. It’s all out there, floating around in the invisible, magical world, as we secretly hope that, with some hard work, endless prayers, never-ending faith, a wish upon a star, a click of the heels, and a bit of luck and magic, our dreams would come true, one fine day.

In many ways, dreams keep us alive and keep us going, every day. We endure all the mystery and squalor of life, walking through dark and hopeless times often alone, because somewhere in the core of our being we believe that someday our dreams will come true and everything would have been worth it – the loneliness, the endless sorrow, the injustice, the humiliation, the pain and defeat, and the unbearable heartache. It kept us smiling despite agony and the all-too-common human despair. We get out of bed despite aching body parts, hunger, poverty, and horrible people who yell and degrade us, all because we have a dream. No one and nothing could take that away. Not even in a physical or mental prison.

But as we got older, some of our dreams started to fade and die. Especially in midlife, we realize not all of our dreams were destined to come true in our reality. Nobody told us that. Dreams sometimes die like everything in life. We all had a dream that did not come true. For reasons we’ll never know, you didn’t become a ballerina, a fireman, or a dad. Your parents didn’t love each other forever, and the boy you loved gave his heart to somebody else, and true love did not conquer all. Despite believing in the magical powers no one could see or touch with all your heart and soul, your dreams faded away, like a runaway balloon.

When my dreams began to die, I started to wonder who decides whose dreams came true and whose did not. Who was the God of dreams? What were the rules, the rhyme, and the reason? I was willing to make sacrifices, no problem, if only the gods would tell me the rules. I was willing to obey. Foolishly, I started to ask questions, but there were no answers. There seldom are. I was angry and cried “unfair!” as I stood at my graveyard of buried dreams, weeping endlessly alone. At that moment, I learned a precious lesson about the mystery of dreams. It’s okay to let them go. It’s okay for a dream or two to die, because when you bury one dream, a new one is born in its place, and it might be more incredible than your old dream. Besides, dreams don’t really die. They reinvent themselves beyond our own imagination and understanding.

As human beings, we can’t often digest the mystery of dreams and why it works the way it does, but somehow, somebody knows what is truly best for us, and we need to believe there is a reason for everything, even if we are not allowed to understand it in this lifetime. Dreams evolve. We have to simply let go and trust the master of dreams.

I’ve also learned that the purpose of dreams wasn’t solely to come true, but to keep us living, bringing us hope, and a bit of magic. That’s the secret. Dreams keep our hearts open, and our incredible imagination unleashed beyond a restricted reality. When all else fails you, there are your dreams. And remember, there’s never a short supply of new dreams to come, no matter how old you are. That’s the beauty of it. Dreams are timeless. So dream on, because you never know. You never know.

Excerpt from the book, “Happiness to the Rescue.
by Clara Young, Ph.D