Do you remember what dreams you had when you were a kid?
I had a plethora of them, constantly changing and always quite big. I wanted to be an astronaut. A marine biologist. A singer. A musician in a professional orchestra. A music therapist. A full-time missionary. A scientist. A teacher (when I was really little). A wife and mother.
Sometimes those childhood dreams simply fade as you grow. Others morph and change as your interests and personality shift year by year. And others are flatly discarded when you realize that you had to be insane to think you'd ever want to spend your life that way. A few remain even into adulthood.
When I was an undergraduate student, my dreams went into a new direction. I knew 100% that God was gently nudging, then pushing, and finally shoving me into the path he wanted me to go. After about age 7, I never really considered being a teacher. I didn't think I had the skills or the confidence; I was terrified to have to stand up to talk in front of 10 people whom I knew and trusted. I certainly didn't want to teach whole classes of people. But God was completely and totally clear.
And so my dreams morphed to align with God's will. I set my goals on graduate school - a Master's degree, a Ph.D. - so that I could teach full time and be obedient to God. And so I did. I went to Ohio and spent two years to get my master's degree in history. Then I moved to Tucson to work on my doctorate. It was ridiculously hard work, but after four years I finally took and passed my oral and written doctoral exams and was officially a doctoral candidate. All that was left was the dissertation.
But then my mom got sick. I tried to keep going with my dissertation research, but those two months that I spent in Spain almost killed me. My priorities were crystal clear. I couldn't stay halfway across the globe while my mom was dying. And so I went home.
That decision probably destroyed any chance I had at finishing my PhD. I took care of mom, returned to school, and watched that particular dream bleed out. I met my husband, got offered a job, got more grant rejection letters than I could count, and so I moved on. I taught for a year, got married, and moved in with my husband. For the past three years, I've taught online courses for a distant university and, for the past year, have worked at my church's elementary school & preschool.
My dreams have sort of ... disappeared.
Between the multiple jobs, the health issues, the worry about my husband's well-being and his misery with his job, and the grief of losing Mom, I don't really know that I have dreams anymore.
I have lots of dreams for my husband. So many dreams, dreams that involve him being happy, joyful, spiritually strong, in the center of God's plan.
But for me? When I try to dream, they fade out before ever becoming tangible. It's a lonely place to be, living day to day without a dream. Right now, I'm just trying to get through one day at a time. But maybe the dreams will return.
Maybe. A girl can dream, can't she?