What We've Forgotten To Do


By Carolyn Shields

When we were little it was easy to dream. The world was before us. We were young. The chains were few and spare.

I was a funky child who dreamt of being a martyr in China, of joining the air force and seeing the world (at least the latter half I did…my fear of heights got the better of me for the prior part), and writing novels (which is half actualized, actually).

But as we’ve gotten older maybe reality made itself known a bit more. We see limits all around: finances blaring, commitments holding, insecurities strangling. That doesn’t mean we can’t dream though. In fact, I almost think it’s more important to dream now than we did when we were little, however wild or tamed they might be.

Our big sisters over at theCatholicWoman recently wrote, “Dreaming is a beautiful act of hope. Eager to hear our desires for future relationships, jobs, adventures, the Lord patiently waits to be invited into every moment to encourage and guide us. He delights to dream with us.”

When life becomes hard or the sky seems to have become so heavy as to touch the ground, we need to look past to the stars. That’s kind of cheesey but it’s true. It’s so important to engage with your reality, sucky or not, and to remain rooted in the present, but dream your dang heart out. If it helps you to look five or ten or one or fifty years down the road to a reality that’s a bit more bright, more calm, more exciting, to what it is now, allow yourself to.

Allow yourself to dream about owning your own little house with those cute non-orange pumpkins on the porch, or what your studio would look like, or what the name of your shotgun riding pup will be, or moving overseas, or what vegtables you’ll grow in your garden, or waking up Monday morning before your kiddos and husband to make pancakes…Sometimes we need a reason to live that goes beyond our here and now.

And here’s the next step then: slowly walk towards it. Not fully committed, not latching on too tightly, because we always want God to be able to show us another path if necessary, but start saving $10 a month to put aside for your Brittany Spaniel named Duke. Start a mood board with the type of furniture and plants you’ll hang in your studio. Research mortgages and what you’ll need to own a house.

Pope Francis said in Mexico last year, “We have lost the wonder of walking together, we have lost the delight of dreaming together, so that this wealth, moved by hope, can take us forward; we need to walk together, we need to meet, and we need to dream. Do not lose the fascinating power of dreaming! Have the courage to dream!”

Whether you’re an overworked mama, a twenty-something who has absolutely no idea (….cough…), a young bride or whatever, dare yourself to dwell on a what if. Take baby steps towards it. And see if you wake it up.