As a blogger, I have an unnatural preoccupation with metaphors.
Here is an animated Ted short which reminds us about the power and absurdities of metaphor:
Earlier this week, I wrote about hopes, dreams and childhood naiveté. This last article was largely the product of a much larger internal dialogue.
To date Momentary Delight has been a vehicle for my hopes and dreams. This is where I get to talk about all the things I would like to see happen in my life. To paraphrase Lincoln, this blog is where I call on the better angels of my nature.
The irony is that if you talk enough about your dreams, you’ll soon discover how many of them never come to fruition. For whatever reason, they just never happen.
For example, this past summer I talked about producing a small movie with my oldest daughter Johanna. You might wonder what happened to this project.
Sadly, it never happened. Time passed, I was overwhelmed and the whole movie idea died a slow but painless death. Although, I still toy with the idea of reviving our movie plans, I’ve generally avoided discussing this topic with Johanna.
There have been other unfulfilled projects and dreams. For example, every thirty days, our family gives our monthly donation to our local health club. Yes, we have a dream that someday we’ll regularly go to the gym and work out. I dream that someday I will have washboard abs, or at least not squishy pillow abs. This is still a dream.
Somewhere in my closet we have two fishing poles and a tackle box full of fishing equipment, because at one point I fancied myself a fisherman. Why did I buy two poles? I bought the second pole so I could bring a friend with me. More than simply about fishing, this dream was about hanging out with friends and enjoying the chill of the morning and a beautiful day in the great outdoors.
Yeah, I have a lot of dreams and it often seems as if most of these go unfulfilled.
This brings me to my Friday morning metaphor.
In Arizona there’s an airplane graveyard, with over 4,000 retired airplanes. It’s one of the world’s largest junkyards. With row upon row of airplanes, it’s a visually stunning sight. Many of these airplanes flew at near supersonic speeds and now they are rusted scrap metal. These airplanes represent some of the millions spent on our national defense during the last sixty years. [Yeah, maybe it’s not a bad thing that these things are rusted junk. May there be a day when all of our weapons of war and destruction become rusted junk]
Looking at a picture of these junk airplanes I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to my dreams and aspirations. The world of my dreams sometimes seems like a very large junkyard. I write and talk about them. My basement and closet space is filled with them. Sometimes, it feels as these unfulfilled dreams literally surround me, parallel parked as far as the eye can see.
During Lent, the practice at my church is to pray to God about the ways you would like to see God work in your life. As a family, we’ve prayed for things both big and small during the Lenten season. Sometimes we’ve seen these prayers amazingly answered in the positive, while at other times there was no real answer to our prayers.
There is a frequently repeated saying at my church, “the greatest gift of God is God”, meaning that when we pray to God, more than receive a “thing” from God, we have the opportunity to engage and have a conversation with God. In other words, we get God.
Yeah, it’s disappointing when God doesn’t answer my prayers in the expected or desired way. If I didn’t admit being disappointed, I’d be the biggest liar in the world. Yet, despite the disappointment, I find comfort in the conversation and the opportunity to bring my requests and dreams to God. When I bring my dreams to God, I’m talking with my creator and inviting him to participate in my life. I’m also reminded how in the bigger picture of my life, God loves me.
Far from being inconsolable about these unfulfilled dreams, I want to continue to dream and hope for what might become possible in my life and in the world around me. Yeah, some of those dreams might never happen. This is the nature of life.
The day I stop dreaming and hoping, is the day I’m no longer alive.
For those rusted airplanes in Arizona, it would be easy to look at them now and see them as junk, and yet this wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, these airplanes flew into the heavens, taking their pilots to heights beyond imagination.
The same is true of us when we dream and hope. Although, our dreams may ultimately end in us coming back to earth, for a brief but magical moment, we were able to fly into the heavens and we were able to touch God.