Betty J. Slade
Whether young or old, we all still dream. The young have big, bigger and biggest dreams with long-term plans. My Sweet Al and I find comfort with dreams that are short and sweet, and just plain realistic. It is something of a reverie to look forward to taking in a good movie after a busy day around the house. Certainly, and always, the anticipation of Sunday dinner with the family is never too far from our thoughts.
We recently met up with one of our grandsons in Gallup. A needed trip and a good excuse to meet with him somewhere between Pagosa and Phoenix. It was a long day filled with fun conversation and forward-thinking plans. In the end, we were left to relish the moments as we planned to see each other again.
I read this week, “The future shapes us as much as the past or the present, maybe more.” What an incredible statement when we think about all of our tomorrows.
My writers’ group met at a restaurant for an 80s party. No, we didn’t dress in big purple garbs, turquoise headbands or wear leg warmers. Nor did we tease our hair, sport big owl glasses or show off bright pink tennis shoes.
The party was to celebrate those who were tipping three scores and 10. It was a rip-roaring good time. With canes, walkers and limps, we were ready to cause a ruckus, but we didn’t. I can’t imagine having to call one of my children to drive me home because I threw a hip.
Our event planner came armed with a list of thought-provoking questions. “What is the greatest wisdom that came from the bumps and bruises in life? How did you live so long and how did you get here?”
Each person answered questions about childhood experiences and siblings, also about mistakes made and detours taken. Then we got to the clencher. “Did any of your dreams come true?”
I was surprised when one of the ladies said she wanted to be an opera singer. I didn’t even know she could sing. Another said she wanted to join the Naval Academy before women were allowed to enlist. I wanted to go to college, but my Sweet Al came along and I couldn’t resist his charm.
I realized as I sat among friends, everyone’s life was rich and experienced. But, even when direction took each person down a different path, they were full of peace and contentment. No one was waiting to die, but was challenged with new purpose for living out their later years. They were still dreaming about another book they wanted to write.
When I think about our lunch party, no one was ruined because an outcome didn’t go their way. And, there were some who experienced tremendous disappointment in life.
Three widows, two singles and me still married. No one felt they had drawn the short stick. They were steadied in their incorruptible core and found themselves in who they were.
We were with each other, whose vision of life matched ours and who equaled our energy in giving us hope for tomorrow. Our dreams were not too big for where we were in life.
As each person spoke, it was easy to see how God had orchestrated their lives through plans made and beyond unavoidable detours. It was almost fascinating. Each of us could have found ruin because a dream didn’t come true. Instead, each spoke of strength and knowledge gained by living where landing.
I am learning to appreciate a quality of life that comes by just experiencing where I find myself. As I focus more and more on where God is taking me, the journey planned or migrated suddenly has less importance.
Final brushstroke: The power of a dream — it stirs in us something that excite us, gives us pause and encourages us to go the distance. Without our dreams, we would be void of hope. But, hope doesn’t die because we took a different direction, it just changes shape. And if we allow it, it can bring us to a place of a new horizon that is different from what we would have chosen, but is equally beautiful.