Recently I read a short essay by Joan Chittister, OSB, from her book, “Aspects of the Heart: The Many Paths to A Good Life.” In this essay, Chittister talks about dreams. Not night time dreams but those goals, desires, hopes, ambitions, and aspirations we hold for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren.
Chittister states, “The kinds of dreams we have determine the quality of our lives. The problem is not that we don’t dream. The problem is that we seldom dream high enough.”
Her words made me pause. Perhaps we resist dreaming high enough because pursuing dreams involves some risk-taking. Yet what would a risk-free, dreamless life look like?
When we dream, it seems, we embrace a piece of our identity that’s waiting to be realized, waiting to be lived. Perhaps this dream, this quiet beckoning, is a distinctive piece of our vocation, a portion that could not have been sought or realized at any other time in our lives. Like the butterfly in the cocoon, we are now ready to experience something new and free, to spread our wings, to soar into something unfamiliar yet trustworthy.
Could this pursuit of our dreams be likened to the ancient tradition of pilgrimage, where even failures and hardships are welcomed as fundamental and integral to the path itself?
And might the difficulties of this quest lead to a journey imbued with the treasures of a meaningful life, riches that we would not trade for the world?
In fact, might even snags and hitches along this dream-pursuing path work to our benefit as we become more acquainted with a deeper aspect of ourselves, where the blessings of meaning, possibility, and fulfillment loom in ways that could not have been imagined at any other time of our lives?
These are questions worth pondering, I suspect.
How do you respond to the voice of your dreams?