When Our Dreams Meet Reality

I listened as the two high school seniors began to talk about college plans. Their talk turned to questions. Dorm or Apartment? Financial aide? Majors? Waves of nostalgia flowed through my memory bank as I recounted intense life changes during those years.

The two kids-not-kids listened. While excitement crinkled at their eyes, nervousness edged at the corner of their mouths.

I saw my eighteen-year-old self staring at me from their anxious eyes—the eyes of those preparing to enter the real world, though I’m not sure college is a solid example of the world and all of it’s realness.

But I remember how real it felt.

Who am I going to be? How will my life turn out?

These are the questions the two students weren’t asking out loud, but they were still asking.

They’re the questions I remember asking myself as I watched my parents drive away from my dorm that first day in August over 20 years ago. Who am I going to be? What will the portrait of my life look like?

If I’m honest, I’m still asking those questions.

More than you imagineImagineDSC_0293

I look back at that kid I used to be with all her dreams, ambitions, goals and wonder if she’d be happy with where she is today.

Because sometimes our dreams are realized in ways we never expect. Sometimes our dreams come in shapes that fit a different part of our stain-glassed windows. Sometimes our dreams lay shattered on the floor of reality.

Life will always look different than we imagine, but that doesn’t mean life’s not beautiful.

Did you hear those words whisper in your heart?

Hear them again.

Life will always look different than we imagine, but that doesn’t mean life’s not beautiful.

Here is what I know to be true. When we say yes to God, when we say yes to the little steps, the little decisions, the little moments He asks of us, beauty will break through like light filtered in the colors of a stain-glassed masterpiece.

I went to college a whole lot unsure. But I had ideas of dreams. Ideas that included marrying a pastor or missionary that would love me forever, making enough money to stay at home when I had children, changing lives in the world through politics or law or something like that, becoming a famous writer of the fiction sort, and doing long-term mission work in Africa.

Big dreams.

Ask me which came true.

All of them.

And none of them.

While Prince Charming isn’t a pastor or missionary, he does love me forever. Turns out, I’m the one with the seminary degree thanks to his unending support.

I did stay home with my daughter for three years and my son for five months. I still want to just be home. It’s still a dream. But our family does earn enough to meet our needs. And for that? Grateful.

I’m not in politics or law but I diplomatically argue my point every day in classrooms of teenagers, praying I make a difference in their lives—in their world.

While I’m not famous and don’t write fiction, I do have a tiny corner of the blogging world where my voice can be heard. For each of your reading souls? I’m beyond indebted you take the time to listen.

Africa. The word written across my heart at ten. I’m not living there, but I’ve traveled to the continent of my dreams twice and fallen in love with its people. I also was asked to write English curriculum for orphanages now using my lessons in ten Rafiki Training Villages throughout Africa.

My point? My dreams at 18 look very different from the reality of my today. But my dreams are still there—changed, honed, perfected.

The art of stain-glass mesmerizes me. Each piece of glass broken and snapped in two, to fit just right. To fit perfectly into the greater masterpiece of our lives being created by the hands of the Master Artist.

It’s painful, often doesn’t make sense up close. But when we step back and look at the work of our lives as a whole, we see the beautiful portrait we are. Even if those lives look nothing like the dreams of our childhood.

Because in the end? What we really dream of is a beautiful life.

And my 18-year-old self? She’d be smiling today.

She is smiling today.

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One Response to When Our Dreams Meet Reality

  1. Oh my.. The memories….