On Dreams Deferred

When I was 15 years old, I had three dreams for the future: 1. to be a Catholic priest; 2. to be an actor; and 3. to be a Major League baseball player. Obviously, none of these dreams came to be. So was I wasting my time?

Dreams can be painful. Some go unfulfilled because of talent or opportunity. More painful, though, are the efforts we take to achieve our dreams, only do have that step stumble. Such a dream is portrayed by the late Harry Chapin in his song “Mr Tanner”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upZB5VlbC6o

Have you had experiences like Mr. Tanner’s? When you tried to live out a dream only to be disappointed, even defeated? Or were you content to try, as was Rudy Ruettiger. Rudy’s dream was to play football at Notre Dame. In the end, he played briefly in one game and made a tackle. For Rudy, this was enough.

Pursuing a dream requires discipline and patience. For these reasons, we often give up. Sadly, though, we often never get started because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking foolish. Just plain fear.

For this reason, I encourage you to embrace your dreams, no matter how big they are and how old you are. The spirit of dreaming and pursuing those dreams can enrich your life. Yes. you might be disappointed as was Mr. Tanner. But you won’t be living with the “what if”.

Even more important, your dream may not be realized but it can be transformed into something enriching. Thus, my desire to be a priest transformed into a deep abiding love of the spiritual journey. I actually have done some acting and have known the deep joy of portraying characters from Tom Wingfield to Sherlock Holmes to Aslan. As far as baseball goes, I embraced baseball as something to be enthused about at a time my recovery desperately needed enthusiasm. It worked. I stayed sober and became a Redsox fan!

Reflections: Have you pursued any dreams? Deferred any? To what effect?

Further viewing: Enjoy Rudy’s moment! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ7ZpLgkVxA