“A beautifully messy reality is better than the most perfect dream,” so went my nephew’s Facebook post this week. Admittedly, I still think of him as the toddler who could not resist a flower off my wedding cake before we served the guests, but in reality, he’s a burly grown man now–with obvious wisdom.
Hopes and dreams provide powerful motivation. When I was a school girl at my little private Christian school, I wanted to come back and teach at that school and eventually become an administrator there. Part of the dream happened. I did, in fact, go back and teach in the same classrooms where I sat as a child.
You may not think that’s such a far-fetched dream until you realize how much I struggled just to read. I had to force myself to read aloud in class because deciphering the words themselves took so much effort that I lost comprehension. I remember reading the same paragraph two and three times just to follow along in history. Later on in high school, biology kicked my hind end, and let’s not even talk about algebra. I just wasn’t a very impressive student.
My somewhat iffy start in college landed me a nifty little 1.79 GPA after my freshman semester. All of this probably comes as quite a surprise to those who follow me and understand my love of learning.
Fortunately, that dream inside my head inspired me to keep working, and for my final two years, I made the dean’s list every semester. I could see the difference between an attainable goal and a pipe dream.
Life is a mix of “beautifully messy reality” and “perfect dreams,” but balancing the two leads to a fully-developed life, where we appreciate the struggles that bring us to a brighter reality.
I don’t believe that I can do or be anything I want just by working hard and not giving up on my dreams. I’ll never become an Olympic athlete, no matter how much I dream it or work toward it. Wisdom helps me see those dreams I can achieve and distinguish those that will become an obsession that keeps me from a full life.
In college, one of the girls in my dorm shared with me that she had trained her entire life to be an Olympic gymnast. This was 1982, at the height of the Cold War, so the US boycotted the Moscow Games. Everything she had worked for would have culminated at those games, and she was an actual contender, not a wannabe. Gymnasts have a short shelf life, or at least they did back then. Imagine the disappointment when those dreams died.
Fortunately, this gal had more going for her, and she studied and achieved and eventually adapted, but far too many people set goals that cloud every other aspect of their lives and keep them from living fully in each moment. They let a dream rob their reality, when reality offers some beautiful things.
At the end of my life, I hope I can stay away from what I should have done, or could have done, or would have done if only this that or the other thing. I plan to look back on a full life and value what I do have and share that blessing with others.
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.