When we are very young, our dreams are fleeting, changeable, dependent upon what has most recently caught our attention – “when I grow up, I’m going to be . . . a fireman, a doctor, a nurse, an actor, a singer, a super hero”. Our parents smile, give us a hug, and say “that’s nice dear”. When they are feeling we need a boost to our confidence, or they need a reminder that anything is possible, they might say “you can be anything you want if you work for it”.
Our dreams loom large, and shine brightly. Our dreams could fill books. As we grow older, into those teenage years, we may not share those dreams so widely. We might keep them close to our hearts, or share them only with our best friends. We might share them only with our diaries, our journals. Each year that passes, it seems there are more options available to us in many ways, more choices. Or it may seem there are fewer options, fewer choices. Options, choices, what we can see in our futures – our dreams – are influenced by many things outside ourselves. But they are also influenced heavily by our choices, our determination, our beliefs, our family support. And sometimes – just sometimes – by the forces of nature, beyond our control. By happenstance (a word my dictionary does not show, but is implanted firmly in my mind as being an instance that just happens).
As we grow older, our dreams morph, they may grow smaller or larger, we may have dreams that are partially filled, completely filled, or filled not at all. We may find the dream that was so important to us in years past is not at all important now. The older we grow, the more we are willing to compromise, to accept, sometimes to realize that, although we may not have gone where we intended to go, we have ended up where we intended to be. Or where we are happy to be.
The flame may still shine brightly in the depths of our hearts and souls, but it does not shine as brightly on the world around us. What could now fill books, what now brings light to our hearts, are the memories we have built, the loved ones we have grown close to, the goodness in our lives, the difficulties of our lives, those battles fought and won, those battles fought but that could not be won. Some days, the flame grows dim, some days life feels too heavy, too hard to deal with. Some days we just want to hide, to curl up in our corners, to not be part of the world. For a little while. For this day. We want to pull away.
And then, dawn comes, one more time, and we look at the sky. We see the delicate, pastel-colored clouds drifting through, the bright sliver of the moon – smiling at us, shining on us, bringing with it a sense of continuation, a sense of it all being okay – perhaps not perfect, perhaps not easy, but okay. We can go on. We can smile.
We can remember that flame – those dreams of yesteryear and tomorrow.