Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Weight of Dreams


It's a common thread between all people. I don't mean sleepy-time rendezvous with famous actors and actresses. When I refer to dreams I mean life-goals. I'm sure you hear it all the time, "If I won the lottery, I would..." "Someday, I'll be a..." "I would be happy if I could..."

Everyone has them. Some are smaller than others. "I want to get through tomorrow without smoking a cigarette." Some are medium-sized. "I want to open up a bakery." Some are huge. "I want to cure cancer."

While dreams differ from person to person and some are 'small' and some are 'large' none is more important than the other. A man whose dream is to quit smoking is no less important that a woman who pushes herself to get one step closer to opening a bakery. These both rival even a lofty, world-altering dream like curing cancer because regardless of the impact of their dreams, they each have one. They each wake up every day knowing that one day, someday, they are going to get to that place.

I hear often that families and relationships break apart because of dreams. A man leaves his wife because she doesn't support his dream of being a pilot. A woman leaves her husband because he doesn't want her to become an actress, ogled by men across the country. Even if they stay together, the bitter bite of resentment tailors their day-to-day life.

A relationship won't function properly if both parties aren't willing to support the dreams of their counterparts. This means celebrating successes, suffering through losses, making sacrifices together. As one. Each person has to be willing to put in the time, labor, money and effort into the dream for it to succeed. However, a dream cannot come true when the dreamer won't put the effort into it. No matter how much you want the dream of your partner to come true, you cannot accomplish it for them. You can support them. You can walk through the hard work with them. You can even reap the reward with them. But it won't be as hard for you... It won't be as sweet a payoff in the end.

I remember when Bryan and I were seriously talking about getting married. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but it was almost like a business negotiation. Sure, we had love and passion, but were we compatible? Could we support each other's dreams and live a life together? We went back and forth to make sure that we would be true partners, chasing after our own and each others dreams. That we wouldn't discourage the other persons goals and we would certainly not let they other one give up after meeting obstacle after obstacle. We would figure it out together, we would make it happen.

All of us recognize that there are seasons in life. Hills and valleys. Life is unbearably hard at times and others it coasts by, fluid and effortless. There are times that you put yourself aside and give to others, because maybe it's not your moment.

What I want to know is this: What happens when your moment arrives? The time has come; Your dream is on the horizon. You can almost grab hold of it. It's on the tip of your tongue. You are waiting for the support, sacrifice and encouragement from your partner that you have given for however long a season and slowly you realize that it is not coming. The window of opportunity for your dream to come true is only so long, heck, you can even see the end in sight... And you're alone. The return on your investment in making your partners dream come true is not paying off.

What do you do?
Do you let it pass and hope it comes around again?
Do you cry?
Do you approach your partner and say pay up?
How do you recover from that kind of let down?
What do you do with the emotions? The anger? The sadness and heartbreak? The fear that you've committed yourself to someone who didn't truly have the intention of supporting you as you supported them?
How do you continue to support the dream of the person who let yours pass?

More importantly, how can you keep the weight of your failed dream from crushing your soul and the spirit of your relationship?


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