A dear friend of mine recently shared this poem and I thought it rather fitting as I have been trying to allow myself to dream more. My personality type is that of a dreamer and an idealist. However, I often stifle this part of myself because, well…what do y’all think of when you think about dreaming and fantasizing? Are we not told to keep our heads out of the clouds, to stick to the facts, to stick to reality, to not get our hopes up, to not set ourselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations?
So I’m thinking about this. Because I guess that I”m tired of the teaching that if doing something could possibly lead to pain or heartache, then it best to steer clear from that something…to flee it like the plague in an effort to protect and guard our hearts. You know? So if dreaming could hurt us, we should avoid dreaming…
Because I lived my life, for many years, doing everything in my power to keep myself from pain, from the possibility of screwing up, from the possibility of causing others’ pain. But what came from this kind of living was even greater pain. Pain from suppressing desires and hopes and dreams that I was created with. Suppressing them did not make them go away. They never left. They were always there. They are still there. Except now I can hardly recognize them. Because they are trapped behind the stone-cold walls of self-protection.
There have been moments in which I have begun to risk chipping at pieces of the walls. Allowing parts of them to come down. But this is also painful. This is scary. This means feeling and experiencing what I’ve kept myself from for years.
My greatest fear is that perhaps they don’t even really exist. Perhaps I don’t actually have real dreams and desires. Perhaps I’ll find nothing behind the walls…emptiness. This fear whispers in my ear, “don’t even go there, Katy. Because what if there is nothing. What if your greatest fear of finding yourself to be an empty shell comes true. Stick to what you know…it’s safer.” This voice wants what is best for me…it is trying to protect me…but right now I believe it is mistaken.
This fear was trying to convince me that safety and security is what I want and that it can only be found with these invisible walls of protection. The walls may have a role…a place, but when they begin to feel oppressive, I want to challenge them…challenge their purpose. Choosing their form of safety may also mean missing out on beauty. Now I cannot tell you if your walls of protection are helping or harming you. And is it really as cut and dry and being one or the other? I”m sure not…dichotomies are dangerous. But this time, for me, it was time to challenge them. Time to say, Thanks for trying to help me out and protect me, but I believe you’re mistaken this time. I think I want to risk finding out what’s behind you.
Because I had tasted something more beautiful than this self-protective life I’d been living. However brief, Grace had allowed me to and grace will continue to help me chip away at the walls. And my heart with it’s dreams and desires will become more and more alive. And it will be painful, but it will be real. And grace is how this will happen. How it all happens.
Thought nothing is as simple as I just made it sound with those beautiful words. ;)
Here is the poem written by Louise Driscoll.
Hold Fast to Your Dreams
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And, sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart,
Within your heart,
For little dreams to go!Think still of lovely things that are not true.
Let wish and magic work at will in you.
Be sometimes blind to sorrow. Make believe!
Forget the calm that lies
In disillusioned eyes.
Though we all know that we must die,
Yes you and I
May walk like gods and be
Even now at home in immortality.We see so many ugly things—
Deceits and wrongs and quarrelings;
We know, alast we know
How quickly fade
The color in the west,
The bloom upon the flower,
The bloom upon the breast
And youth’s blind hour.
Yet keep within your heart
A place apart
Where little dreams may go,
May thrive and grow.
Hold fast—hold fast your dreams!