Monday, August 23, 2010

Picking Your Dreams

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we end up where we do. A number of people that were in high school arround the same time I was are graduating from college, and it seems like every time I turn arround, another one is engaged or married. Some of them are going off to law school, others setting up house, still others expecting children. Most of the people I know who got married around the same time I did have at least one (and many have two) children. There are also plenty who aren't married yet and are off pursuing other dreams. It's an odd thing to watch, because the ones off pursuing other things are doing what I was "supposed" to do, up until my senior year in high school, when I met someone and all those dreams changed. I turned from travel and graduate school to houses and babies. Education and advancement was still part of my dreams, but they took the back burner to family. That was the dream I picked, even though it's not exactly my reality now. We all, every day, knowingly or unwittingly, shape the future we want, pick the dreams we will pursue. Hopefully this dreaming is intentional, and we shape our future rather than allowing our circumstances to do so. At the same time, sometimes the dreams we pick turn out to be out of reach, or by the time you get there have changed shape entirely. The dream I thought I picked, of lots of children underfoot, has been slow in coming to say the least. You could say I'm surrounded by people who have either pursued the dream I voluntarily gave up (education and travel) or have accomplished the dream I chose but have not yet received (home and children). There is absolutely something to be said for our agency in shaping our futures, but I've also realized that there are some factors that are out of our hands. Sometimes they are completely uncontrollable, other times as a result of earlier choices we made in the process of trying to get where we think we want to go. I always tell people that if there's anything I've learned in the last five years, it's that God is really good at changing my plans. It would be easy to get caught up in the things that I wanted that haven't come, or get distracted by the fact that in giving up one dream to pursue another you could say I've received neither. But to do that is to lose sight of the bigger picture, that sometimes when we let go of one dream to pursue another, there's another end in store for us, different than we could have imagined, harder than we could have dreamed, and bigger, deeper, greater, richer than we could have hoped. All there is for us to do is make the decision, pick the dream, then pursue it with all that's in us, realizing that the final results are out of our hands, willing to embrace what life brings, even if it may not be the dream we dreamed at first.

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