I am uncomfortable voicing dreams. I’m also uncomfortable voicing prayers. There is something so deeply personal, so intimate about sharing them. I don’t know precisely why I feel this way, but I sincerely doubt that I am in the minority: we – at least we in North America – aren’t exactly encouraged to bare our souls and share our deepest, tenderest feelings. And dreams and prayers really are tender. They are one of our most sensitive, most vulnerable places in our heart. I always feel that I risk mockery or embarrassment if I’m voicing my dreams. But dreaming is important and prayer is an integral part of my life. Maybe it’s some quirk of my personality, maybe it’s the way I was raised: growing up in the Presbyterian church, a practice where prayer is generally conducted silently, seated, heads bowed and eyes closed, expressing intimate thoughts and concerns wasn’t generally done. Whatever the reason, I need to get over this.
Last week, as I was thinking about this season of change I seem to be in and about where it may take me, I came to an unfortunate and almost shameful realization: I was even uncomfortable voicing my dreams and ambitions and prayers to my own husband. How can we move forward together as a family, though, if we aren’t sharing our dreams with one another? My reflection really came to a head after reading this post on Saturday. I was particularly struck by this section:
Just a few days ago while on a walk I realized something. We live in a home in the Pacific Northwest, tucked away in the trees, a block away from a bay where we canoe and kayak… and every morning, we take Cedar to the side of the house to pick raspberries for breakfast. I said…Of course there were a few jokes tossed around because Boho Boy cannot whisper a word without humor interlaced. Like its raspberries instead of blackberries and Washington instead of British Columbia…but it is so close, non? It gives us chills. The power of speaking our dreams out loud. The power of manifesting. The power of vision boards. The power of prayer. The power of meditation. All of it. Just gives me chills. And I am living proof that the dream may not turn out exactly how we envisioned (I am not talking raspberries here, but adoption rather than conception) but if we stay close to our desires. If we whisper them or shout them or write them down or release them…if we BELIEVE them…we find ourselves one day looking around and realizing we are in it.
So that afternoon as we took our annual Scottish pilgrimage (careful with the volume if you click that link) I took advantage of our drive – and the girls’ quiet contentedness – to begin the conversation. It’s definitely a conversation that needs to be ongoing. Goals change, dreams alter and our prayers and desire reflect where we are in our lives and what we are living. Some would argue that The Recruiter and I should have had long, deep, detailed conversations about all our dreams and goals before getting married, but ultimately, we just wanted to be married to each other, regardless of anything else. In the time since we were engaged and first married, my own ambitions have changed dramatically at least four times. My priorities have shifted as well, becoming more and more focussed on living a life of faith. Whatever I might have said back at the age of 23 is far from what I’m dreaming and praying about today.
It isn’t enough to have one chat about dreams: it has to be a continuing dialogue in order for it to be reflective. Talking about our dreams hardly accomplishes them, but the immediate effect of just voicing those dreams, speaking our prayers, is truly tangible. I feel like our family is stronger today than possibly ever before – and we were doing pretty well, I like to think! It felt so wonderful to speak those visions to each other, to wonder out loud about what we might accomplish or what we might become.
So we’re going to be dreaming together, openly. Whether we ultimately realize those dreams, whether our goals change entirely, what is important is the looking forward, working towards something. Speaking our dreams is our first step toward living more intentionally, more thoughtfully, with purpose.