THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS THE SAME. It doesn’t matter how perplexed I look or how I try to rephrase, explain or water down the question. The answer is always, “I want to be a fire fighter, famous rock collector and a ‘fixer’.” (A fixer of what she is not sure, but fixer nevertheless). Yes, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, my eight-year-old Chloe never flinches, second guesses or wiggles in anticipation of what I might say or think. Both feet on the floor and brown innocent eyes sparkling up at me, she declares undoubtedly her dream to be all three. There is no doubt in her voice or sway in her swag. THAT is what it is, and THAT is what it will be, and I can’t help but wonder who am I to tell her that she can’t make a lucrative career from collecting rocks or she has to define what kind of “fixer” she wants to be specifically because I have never seen “fixer” listed as a college major. Not to mention it is going to be hard enough being an African-American female at a prestigious university without having the extra burden of explaining the art of “fixing” to her professor. Who was I to crush her dreams…? Try to mold her identity…? Tell her what she couldn’t do or shouldn’t do…?
If only we all had the audacity to dream BIG and BOLD like Chloe! There was a time in all of our lives when we truly believed that we could be anything that we wanted to be. No dream was too BIG, too out of the ordinary or too impossible. There was no such thing as CAN’T, SHOULDN’T or YOU BETTER NOT! EVERY dream and ANY dream was fair game and was met with a smile, even if the job came with a cape and the capture of an evil guy and his minions. THEN WE GREW UP. We finished school. Some went to college. Some chose a different path, and we got “jobs” and got entangled in relationships and real life that quickly taught us to put away the cape and dream of saving people. Instead of smiles and applause and affirmations of “You can do it!”, our dreams were met with surmounting debt, the loud, irritating sound of a clock telling us that it was time to work and the doubt of the one person we were sure would believe in our dreams. Our dreams were swallowed in self-pity, self-doubt and resentment. They died because long before life had the chance to strangle any life that was left in them, they died in us, and we didn’t have the courage, the strength or the know-how to save them. Today we look at our children and either live vicariously through them pushing them too hard to achieve the dreams we never did or their dreams are greeted with our scorn and disbelief. No one wins.
And here we are- YOU and I. BOTH uniquely gifted with a talent, a gift, A DREAM placed in our hearts to bless the world with. Reread that line. Yes, YOU are uniquely and incredibly gifted with SOMETHING to help SOMEONE. I would even dare to say A LOT of someones. Here is the interesting notion about dreams: even though they are placed in our hearts, they are almost ALWAYS about blessing others. In some way YOUR dream is going to CHANGE someone, HELP someone, IMPACT someone, BUILD someone and get this- RELEASE someone to follow their dream. This is why it is crucial for you to resurrect the dead dreams- the ones on the shelf, the ones you forgot about and gave up hope of ever accomplishing. You know- the delayed dream- yes, the one that is taking longer than you expected- the one that people laugh about (probably behind your back) and tell you to forget. The dream that used to keep you up late at night and get you up early in the morning excited about life! THAT ONE. THAT DREAM.
I know that Easter isn’t until April 1st, but I think it’s time for another celebration of a resurrection. It is time to bring those delayed and dead dreams back to life. Pull them off the shelf. Dust them off. Sit down and reread, and if necessary, rewrite them. Make a plan. Gather support. Do some research. Ask for help. Take the classes. Sign up for the internship. Get a mentor. Do something- ANYTHING- to breathe life back into the dreams you once believed would come true. Remember there are people waiting on YOU to take the next step. But what are YOU waiting for?
-C. Mack Auspicious Living Magazine