Dreams, I Have Dreams

“… when I’m awake, when I’m asleep.” Ok, I will stop quoting from Brandi Carlile songs and get on with it. My apologies on the month-long wait for a new excursion into blogging mediocrity. Let’s face it, people, I live in a foreign country that I still don’t feel comfortable in, face a new semester in little over a month, live with chronic illness, and have a very active almost-two-year-old. Given that, I am unable to make any commitments that this blog will see more regular posts, despite my best intentions. I assure you, however, I am going nowhere and whenever the opportunity presents itself, you will hear from me.

On to the purpose of today’s post: I have dreams. I am not talking about the ones that come while sleeping, though I have those, too. I am talking about those ambitions, desires, and grand life aspirations that most of us have and may or may not have accomplished. I am not one to think dreams are unattainable. In fact, I really believe that dreams ought to be attainable, just not easily so. I accomplished so many of my dreams before I was 30: marry the love of my life, start a family, get a bachelor’s degree, see Europe, and on and on. There are many, however, that are still just beyond my reach.

Most of you have probably heard that my “oldest” dream was to be a doctor. I wanted that since I was a young child. After realizing that was not strictly possible for me given some lupus limitations, I began to reformulate that into a dream of helping people. In a way, I am informally accomplishing that even through my friendships and am on a path to more formally realizing that dream as I pursue my pastoral counseling degree in seminary. Given lupus-challenges, the help I often provide (both formally and informally) involves a less direct method: I listen and offer what little advice I can. I have a counselor’s soul. I am not as much of an “active” helper because it is regularly incredibly painful or difficult for me to provide physical help. Living with chronic illness means living with daily, unrelenting pain and struggle. Though it may not be visible from the outside, and despite my generally positive attitude, I face a daily struggle even overcoming the pain of rising from bed each morning. This is not a sympathy play, it’s merely a fact of my life, always will be, and it is something you should know. But I digress…

For those of you who know about my doctor dreams, this next bit may shock you (or maybe not). The doctor thing–helping people–was NOT my first dream. My first dream was, and still is, to be a writer. I have been writing stories since I was a kid. I would sit at my mom’s word processor for hours and write stories and letters to my grandma. I would sit in my room and write for hours in my journals dreaming of the day when these might be published as part of my memoirs (maybe a bit pretentious, no?). When I discovered sites like xanga and myspace, I began writing to everyone and to no one in particular. I started not one, but multiple, blogs in hopes that I would have something interesting about which the world might want to read and become enamored. I write about the most mundane and boring aspects of my life. I write about movies, books, music, and TV shows that move me. I write countless assigned papers for classes and (up until last semester when I became severely overwhelmed) I enjoyed writing all of them. I write and have written frequently and at length, either publicly or privately, about my struggles with lupus, about my admiration for my best childhood friend who passed away from leukemia, and even of my teenage and young-adulthood battles with anxiety and depression over dealing with chronic illness.

One thing I have not done, however, is actively work to make my dreams of becoming an actual author come true. This may not be the time to actively be stressing myself over accomplishing this dream. In truth, it is probably the worst time to do that (a statement which some of you will understand now, the rest of you will in the near future), so I will not stress. Given the timing, I do not anticipate instant action on this front, but rather a more gradual, but purposed, move toward this accomplishment. It could be that my pastoral counselor and writer dreams coalesce and I begin writing to that purpose. Maybe someday I’ll be a famous memoir-ist (after I have lived much longer and achieved actual wisdom through which I may inspire others).

I know this was a round-about and rather drawn-out way of getting to my point, which is this: In whatever capacity my writer-dream manifests itself, I know now, after much introspection, that it must come to fruition and that the only person on this Earth capable of making that happen is me. 

Vera said, “Why do you feel you have to turn everything into a story?” So I told her why: Because if I tell the story, I control the version. If I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me. Because if I tell the story, it doesn’t hurt as much. Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.”

-Nora Ephron in Heartburn

This dream is heavy on my heart and mind right now following the death of one of my favorite screenwriters, Nora Ephron. My dream will happen slowly and with much struggle, but it will happen. Someday. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.