I took Annie to the park today. She loves the park. She loves to swing, play in the sand pit and run through the maze of wooden passageways. But mostly, she loves chasing the birds and the ducks down by the lake. She tells me, with a very serious and determined face, to stand back and not make any, any noises. She begins to walk painfully slow and awkward towards the birds, which makes her foot steps sound louder, which scares the birds faster. They begin to make bird noises and decide as a group that they must escape. She yells "NOOOOOOO" and starts charging at them, arms flailing in the air, jumping, nearly running into the lake. The birds and ducks fly away from her and she retreats, visibly angry and frustrated.
"Mom they won't let me catch them," she grunts out.
"Baby, birds don't like to be caught. And ducks bite. You aren't supposed to catch them, you're just supposed to look at them."
"But mom, all I want to do is a catch a bird."
I wonder sometimes what I will tell the Emergency Room staff when I check her in with duck-bite-wounds. I imagine them saying something like, "Well, how did she get close enough to a duck to get bitten? Why in the world was she holding a bird in her hands? Where were the adults?"
And I will have to say, "I was there. I was there praying to God that He would please, for the love of all that's holy, just let the kid catch a bird. It's all she wants to do in this life." And the nurse will shake her head in displeasure.
Dreams are hard.
They are. Because some dreams won't ever come true. And if you fight and scratch and chase your way into a "dream" that was never meant to be, you might end up with duck-bites all over your face and a room full of triage staff treating your wounds, wondering, "What in the world possessed you to chase a duck for so long that you actually caught it? Don't you know birds bite?"
All she wants is to pet a bird. To hold a duck in her hands. She just wants to catch one.
But how do you tell someone that the only thing they want is never going to happen? How do you tell them, that if it happens because of their sheer determination and will power, that a forced dream almost always ends in an emergency room? That what happens after catching a bird is not really going to live up to their expectations?
Some dreams have to die.
Not for lack of trying or giving up- but simply because they were never ours to dream in the first place.
No matter how much I want it, I will never be a fashion designer or a professional whistler. And if, by the work of my own hands I landed myself there, it would be a long, embarrassing, forced journey that at best would leave me unsuccessful and un-content, and at worse might leave me in a hospital reeling with grief at the dream that ended up crippling me.
Dreams are Beautiful.
Before Annie and I went to the park this morning, I sat on the couch watching last night's recording of David Letterman's show, crying like a baby. Annie didn't understand why so many tears were coming out since I was smiling.
"Why are you smile-crying Mom?"
I hushed her. All wrapped up in the moment. Tears streaming down my face. Watching that TV screen like it was delivering the most beautiful story I had ever seen. My heart was racing and I felt so proud and happy and giddy and grateful, I just wanted to run outside and gather people up to come in and watch it with me.
There on the screen was my college friend-roommate-bridesmaid, Elizabeth A. Davis, playing her violin, dancing, singing...
living the dream she dreamed when we were both girls-
doing exactly what she was uniquely created to do.
She is part of the Broadway cast for the new, highly acclaimed musical, Once. Everyone is talking about this small, tight-knit cast who has taken the movie, Once, to a new level of beauty and artistry on the stage. It seems like overnight they went from an off-Broadway show to being the darlings of the theatrical world in the heart of New York City.
Dreams are Born.
We were just freshman sitting around in dorm rooms and odd buildings on campus singing Dixie Chicks, playing instruments and convincing Dr. Todd Lake to let us add music to the chapel services at Baylor University. Staying up late, wondering if we were the only girls chasing big dreams... and what might happen if... if we saw them come true? What then? How do you stay true to your beliefs in a culture that is irreverently seeking to push moral boundaries to entice and entertain? Is it even possible? And why were we created like this? Quirky. With too much love to pour out. Enough energy to charge a small country. Drawn to broken people. Making art that inspired those on the fringe. Constantly talking our demons, and there were many, down off the ledges.
When she didn't come back on her red bike with the basket, I assumed the worst. One of the homeless men had finally taken advantage of her kindness and grace.
When yet another guy showed up at the door, I assumed the worst. For him. Not only did he not stand a chance, but if he did, would he be able to live with her complexities? Her dreams? Her divinely given giftedness?
When she spoke another outlandish dream out loud, I assumed the worse. What if it never happens for her and she ends up waiting tables and wishing- wandering where she went wrong?
She. A girl from a dusty West Texas panhandle town, in the middle of no-where, with dreams bigger than the whole state and talent to match. She dreamed these dreams long before leaving home- long before landing the lead role in the Texas musical, long before spilling her guts to her roommates in college, long before taking bit jobs in New York city to pay the bills, long before millions of people saw her on David Letterman, long before starring as a main cast member in a Broadway musical that has captured the most stringent reviewers heart's... long before any of that...
She was just a girl- who dreamed big.
How could you stop her if she wanted to catch a bird?
Dreams are Dreams.
Dreams. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they are dreams worth chasing. Sometimes they aren't. Some dreams were never meant to be. Others are waiting for you to wake up and do what you were always supposed to do. Some dreams were written just for you...
a girl in a West Texas Panhandle who just happened to be born with beauty, the voice of an angel and artistic parents who taught her to play instruments in a way that makes another person melt...
and a broadway play who needs the beautiful voice of angel, in a tiny, passionate package, playing the violin the way Billy Joel bewitches the ivory keys.
I'm all wrapped up in dreams today.
It's true, some dreams are not meant to be. Some dreams, if we chase them, will definitely leave us broken and bandaged- being scolded by the nurse who doesn't understand why we were chasing the flock of birds in the first place. And yeah, we will eventually come to the same conclusion. Catching a bird in our hands probably wasn't the dream...
But the dream is out there. Your dream. My dream. Her dream. Small and quiet. Big and loud. Broadway or Baton Rouge. Music or mom-hood. Career or care-free living.
Figure out your dreams- the ones that aren't going to inevitably bite your fingers off after a wild bird chase. But the other ones. The ones that you were truly created for...
and keep going. Because some dreams are...