By Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run
Does it stink like rotten meat
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I’ve been thinking about dreams lately.
Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis.
Maybe it’s the approaching year-end.
Perhaps it’s the daily looking down at 3 small children who are daily looking up at me with dreams in their eyes…with whole lives full of dreams in front of them (Lord willing, as my Bigma would say).
It could be moving – again – that sparks an excitement about new beginnings and starting over and leaving the old behind. The old, that though filled with memories of precious times with amazing people, also has a lingering smell of darkness.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I was asked recently, “What is your wildest dream?”
And, I couldn’t answer it.
So, I’ve been pondering that.
What happened to my dreams of old?
Did the busy-ness of life squeeze them out?
Did other priorities push them aside, telling them that they weren’t important enough for consideration?
Was it too much work to achieve them?
Did fear tell me that they couldn’t be done?
Did my dreams dry up? Spoil? Are they burdens that pull me down as I think about achieving the impossible, because isn’t that what dreams are? Things that we want to see happen that seem unrealistic to achieve so they remain dreams instead of reality?
I’m smiling now. You can’t see it. And my line of questioning may not seem as though that is my mood. But it is, because I’m learning something about dreams, my dreams at least.
My dreams, my God-given dreams – not my fantasies or my goals – but dreams, are often coming to fruition all around me.
I just don’t always realize it because they aren’t packaged in a way that I think or the timing is beyond my statue of limitations.
But, God doesn’t have limits.
I smile because I’m thinking of the dreams that Joseph had and how the manifestation of them would not only come years later, but after years of slavery and imprisonment.
I smile because I think of Abraham who was told that he would have a son, but it would be 25 years before it came to pass. Even Sara laughed when she heard it was to be.
I smile because I came across a journal written years ago, when my life was in limbo and I had stepped out of the boat to walk on water like Peter, and like Peter I started sinking, and things were uncertain, and questions were unanswered and all I knew was I was to “build houses and plant gardens” while in that exile of sorts. I saw that journal recently. In it, I had written, “All I want to do is write, and teach and have babies.”
I smile because I was the last person my family expected to have kids, because I wasn’t the “nurturing type”, so that had to be a God-dream – have babies. And, I have babies, y’all. 3 of them.
Last week, I had the opportunity to do some training and facilitating. Both were opportunities that I did not pursue, because I did not know they existed. And, both seemed tailor made for how God has wired me, so much so that I was asked if this was my occupation. Teaching.
And, this month, I committed to writing every day for 30 days straight, and this is the 28th day, and unless something crazy happens, I will make it. I have had words when I thought I would run out. I have been in tears as someone has been there to encourage me to keep writing every time I decided to just quit. Writing.
So, that’s what I’m learning about my dreams. They aren’t mine. They are things that God has wired me for, planted in me, experiences He has given, people I have met in places I have lived all coming together in a way to make sure that I know that when these dreams come true, it is not because of anything I have manipulated, but because He is faithful.
He is faithful.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6