“From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today…
Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who bore me these?’…
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” –Isaiah 48:6-7;49:20-23
We dream. We’re lying in bed, my best friend and me, the way we have for years. It’s storming outside, so we have a soundtrack, but there’s no light. We stare at the ceiling, our voices rising and falling, trailing off and then sparking again to share whatever new thing has just come. We stare and stare, content with being sure only of each other and the bed and the rain outside. And we dream. “I want to name my daughter Claire,” I say and she says that’s a good name. “I want to change the world,” she says and I assure her, with no hesitation, that she will. “I’d like to learn how to cook omelets,” I say again, and then she decides it’s time to go to sleep.
But we dream. Right now, my whole life is spun in bits of dreaming: I’d like to hang my poster of American authors above a navy couch; I’d like to fill a home with flowers and omelets; I’d like to leave goodness behind me in the world. The dreams can’t all possibly come true–we all know I should let the omelet thing rest–but some of them will. The adventure is that we wake up in the mornings and we pour cereal and we don’t know what dreams of ours we’re meeting that day. The adventure is that we wake up and we pour cereal and we don’t what brand-new hopes will be sown within us that day. The adventure is that dreaming over cereal (or at all) is hard and messy and sometimes, you want to wake up and hold your dream instead. Sometimes, you want to go ahead and sit on your navy couch, reveling in the fact that you have a couch all your own. Dreaming is exhausting, and believing is scary, and my life is spun out of dreams today.
But–but. The dreams, man, they can weigh you down, which is not exactly poetry in motion. We don’t like to stare into the wind and write, “Dreams are heavy.” Because dreaming, it should take you places. But–but maybe that’s the thing–dreaming does take you places, places you dreamt about and places you didn’t think to dream up. And here, in the going there, in the midst of a thousand competing dreams, a hundred different directions, in the middle of catching sight of something I could hold, I realized that dreaming is a privilege. “I just want some things to be the same,” I told an old friend as we sat in an old spot. Even there, the dreams of ours, they blew by in the wind between us. They lapped at our toes and fell down in the moonlight to land on our noses and made my hair dance in the breeze. His eyes shined with them, and mine did, too, but I said it again: “I just want some things to stay the same.” He shrugged a little, because he couldn’t make that happen. I knew that before I said it the first time. But dreaming, we agreed, is a privilege. It’s hard, that’s for sure. It’s terrifying–haven’t I said that here before? But it’s possible because of freedom and joy and belief that can’t be shaken. So we lie in bed and we sit under the stars and we dream. We dream like we’re the first ones to dream because it feels just like that.
A little while later, I sat on a bench in the dark. I watched the river, fighting with the bits of me that long so strongly to jump ahead. I let my heart wander to dreams it hasn’t found yet, and I let it discover them and jump around and place them within for safe keeping. I know I’ll take them along; I’ll drop some behind me as I go, and I’ll gather more, and I’ll spend my life doing this.
Still, the dreaming might never abound as much as right now, when the very air around me smells of upcoming-ness, of maybes and could bes and anything’s possibles. Maybe one day, I’ll forget how I dreamed so hard that it wore me out and revived me all at the same time; maybe I’ll be talking to a dreamer girl named Claire and I’ll have to dig through years of dreams come true to find the dreaming I did and tell her that it’s OK to think dreaming is hard, to plead in the night air, “Can’t something just stay the same?” I’ll remember this time, though, and I’ll take her hand and dare her to keep going, to keep imagining and brewing up and throwing fairy dust. I’ll remind her to pray, to pray for vision and courage and sustenance and magic. I’ll tell her about the dreaming I’ve done and the dreaming I’m doing, and I’ll tell her they happen. Dreams come true. (I already know that.)
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning—” [Fitzgerald]