Yesterday as I was lying on the couch I watched the branches outside gently dancing in the wind. I thought of how nice of a day it was and how fun it would be to drive myself to a nearby lake. And then instantly thought of how much would have to change just to accomplish that tiny task.
Some days the whole illness thing is quite a drag, I’m not gonna lie.
But I’m a glutton for punishment, as my husband lovingly tells me. So my daydreams didn’t stop there.
I though of how cozy it would be to visit a local coffee shop, without the fear of someone’s perfume or loud voices sending my symptoms into a tailspin. Then, of later sitting at the lake, without worry of how the sun’s warmth or bright rays may affect my delicate system.
I dreamed of someday exploring the long list of waterfalls here in Oregon. (Sing it with me: Don’t go chasing waterfalls…)
I’ve thought about dreams a lot in the last couple of years. Plans I had made. Goals I had set. Visions of where I’d be as I approach the big 3-0 this year.
I’m sure you aren’t surprised when I say that living with Lyme disease and having a handicap parking pass weren’t exactly at the top of my bucket list. Let alone ON the list.
Before sickness took hold, Trevin and I had envisioned that by now we would have a budding family. We would have traveled to Spain, among other cities, states, and countries on our list.
We planned to move further north than southern California – and that we actually did accomplish! (Hello, southern Oregon. Don’t tell Trev, but I have a pretty big crush on you).
There are many things about our life that I’ll admit would never make my dream list. I’m sure you can think of things in your own life that weren’t things you’d have chosen either.
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Yet, somehow…here you are.
Perhaps in a job you never dreamed of having, in a city you thought would be the last place you’d live, or single when you’ve always dreamed of marriage and a family.
It can feel depressing at times, can’t it? Sitting in this place of “what now?” or “will this ever happen/change for me?” We wonder what dreams we dare to keep holding onto and if it’s time to just let go.
For some of these plans, letting go can give beautiful freedom. For others, there is deep grief involved in loosening our grip. There is so much pain in accepting that some things may just never be.
And even though this place is raw and feels deserted,
I believe dreams can still exist here.
They may look different, yes. They might sit in the shadows, over in the corner of “someday, I want to do this. Today I legitimately can’t, but someday I will.”
They could be the kind of dreams that feel small or maybe even as if we’re settling for less, but they’re the dreams we have the strength to reach for. The ability to cherish in this moment.
These are the ones that give us hope wherever our hearts are sitting. They’re the dreams that don’t require us to wait for xyz to happen before we bask in their beauty.
They give us a sparkle now.
My simple dreams have become my fuel of late. They may seem far too basic to some, but they’re just the right size for me.
They’re things like being able to enjoy short visits with family or going for a drive through the countryside with Trev. It’s the task of successfully nurturing the pot of herbs a friend gave me and crafting a blog post each week.
These are my little dreams, filled with hope and purpose. They are reachable and enjoyable NOW.
I still have the bigger dreams. The dreams of traveling, building a family, becoming a better writer, attending cooking classes, and beating Lyme disease. But the reality is that sometimes those dreams feel so distant it’s painful.
So I am learning to give myself permission to set them back on their shelf when my heart is too heavy to hold them. To remind myself that I’m allowed to grieve what cannot be, what has been lost.
And I’ll keep reaching for the day they can be made possible. Hoping for someday. Asking God for the answers I’m aching for.
But for now, I’ll hold onto the pieces of these dreams within view.
I have a husband to love and support. Nieces and nephews to enjoy. A community of writers that inspire me to keep sharpening my skill. Fellow illness warriors who amaze and encourage me to keep fighting. An incredibly wise doctor who is advocating for my health and giving me hope to dream of wellness.
These are my pebbles of hope. My current fuel for tomorrows.
My plans and circumstances may change, but I will still reach to be a dreamer.
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