Our Former Dreams

Photo by Danny Trujillo on Unsplash.com

Finding Peace Today By Exploring Our Unlived Life

by Eric Elkin


How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
— Luke 13: 34

What do you make of Facebook? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? There are definitely certain aspects of it which are addicting. Some, and I don’t think I am one, become so obsessed it is hard for them to break away from checking posts. Facebook also can swing your moods. One comment, typically political, can turn a beautiful day into a dark day filled with anger. The kind of rage which lingers in your head for longer than you want.


Generally, I like Facebook. It keeps me connected to people from distant places in my life. This is especially meaningful for a pastor. Once you leave a congregation, you need to depart from it physically and socially. However, you have formed meaningful relationships with people. It is nice to know how and what these people are doing in your absence.


There is one unintended consequence in people sharing their lives with me. More often than I care to admit, I find myself confronting the dreams of my former self. Associated with those previous dreams are the realities in my life which stood in the way of them coming true. There was always a paralysis of fear lingering in my head when confronted with pursuing a dream. Fear turns the joy of what could be into a disaster of what is likely to happen.

 


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
— Arthur Ashe

An online article from the Harvard Business Review titled, “Make Peace With Your Unlived Life,” may have influenced my reflection in this matter. The story was about a professional woman, who at 45, suddenly found herself lost. She was empty in her home, uninspired at work and complacent in her marriage. Determined to confront this problem, she started writing down her former dreams in a journal. Then naming the feelings of her former self associated with those dreams.


As her journaling developed, she started sharing her thoughts with her husband. It turned out, he was in the same place. The conversation helped him come to grips with his own former dreams. Together, they discovered where they could make changes and live fully into their “true” self.


In reflecting on today’s reading, I also read a commentary on it by Ruth Anne Reese. She observed how the Greek word for “want” plays a central role in this little snippet of a story. Herod wants to kill. Jesus wants to protect. The people do not want protection.


The two articles got me thinking about the forces, whether internal or external, which try to kill our dreams. Where is that safe place, like under the wings of a mother hen, where you feel secure enough to follow dreams? Then finally, how do we not want the protection which helps us follow our dreams? Perhaps this might actually be an excellent Lenten excursion to take. A journey to discover a more profound sense of life. 

Click to read: Luke 13: 31-35

Reflection Questions:

  • What are some of your former dreams?

  • Which ones did you follow and which ones did you abandon?

  • What stood in the way of you following them?

  • How can exploring them help you find peace today?

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