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1.21.2013

Dreams I Dream [Collecting My Story]

Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his "I have a dream" speech.
August 28, 1963 source
I thought it fitting to write about dreams on MLK, Jr. Day. For the first time in a long time I read his speech. Look at what he said! 
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"...I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
"This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, 'My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.' [...]
"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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He had eternity on his heart! His dream was ultimately eternal freedom. He knew that it is faith that transforms and brings freedom! Freedom here on earth from slavery and discrimination and bullying and addicting substances. And perfect everlasting freedom when we get to Heaven. Can you just picture that last paragraph? I can't wait.

Dreaming sweet dreams.

I have a dream. A recurring one. I don't remember the last time I had it, so maybe I should make that past tense. I had a dream. For many years after I graduated from college, I had some sort of version of the following dream:
I've been a college student for (pick one: ... one... four... ten...) year(s).
I suddenly realize that I haven't checked my CPO (college post office, pronounced 'see-po') box for (pick one: ... a day... a week... the whole year!)
I can't remember where (pick one: ... my key... my CPO box... the CPO building...) is.
When I finally open my CPO box, 
(pick one: ... it's empty... it's full of all the assignments I should have been doing... it's full of notices of events I wanted to go to, but have now missed.)

I suppose someone could psychoanalyze that, but the important thing to know is that I haven't had that dream for a very long time, so whatever feelings I had about missing out on something in college have subsided.


I must have gone to CPO at least five times a day when I was in college. There's no way this dream could have happened in reality. And, yeah, I went to college before email and texting and Facetime. CPO was the old Facebook homepage and the Student Union message board was where it was at.

Another recurring dream I've had is a common dream that many people have: I get to school/work and realize I forgot to wear an article of clothing. Except this dream did happen to me. For real:
I was working as an office manager at a psychological office. It was my first real job out of college that wasn't waitressing or retail. I decided I needed some professional looking clothes. I've never really been confident with fashion styles or comfortable with spending money on clothes. Not a good combination if you are 23, need to look professional, and don't know what you're doing.

Fortunately I had the Victoria's Secret catalog. Since I had given them a lot of business the previous year when I got married, I automatically got put on their mailing list. The catalog, unlike the stores, had clothes in addition to lingerie. Shopping the Victoria's Secret catalog was great because I didn't have to be around people, which is nice if you don't feel confident about your style. I poured over that catalog like a college text book, trying to figure out the best value. They were having a sale.
I decided that all I had to do, since I didn't know how to put outfits together very well, was to look at what the models were wearing and order the same outfit. If it looked good on them, then it must be a good outfit. I settled on a light brown linen skirt and blazer that looked great on the model.
No, it never entered my mind that the models were better endowed than I was, or that the outfits that they put together were not an appropriate wordrobe for a psychological office manager.
I got dressed that morning feeling pretty good about myself. Once at work, I noticed that not many people who came into my office to get a cup of coffee stayed to chat with me like they usually did. Except for Susan. 
She poured herself a cup of coffee and rested against the table opposite my desk. She small talked a little while before she said, "Anne, that's a nice outfit you have on today."
"Thanks," I said.
"Maybe next time you could wear a blouse under the blazer." She said it so deftly, I thought she was making a suggestion like "have you ever thought of wearing it with gold instead of silver? It would bring out the warm tones." It took me a minute to realize what she actually said was, "you forgot to wear a shirt."

In my defense, the model in the Victoria's Secret catalog had forgotten to wear a shirt, too.

I have lots of dreams:

I like to dream about what projects I can do next... painting, claying, knitting, soap-making, beading, photography, organizing my email inbox... I dream about someday having a space in our house where I can do those projects without having to put everything away in order to have dinner.

I dream about different projects around the house that involve tearing down walls and pulling up carpets... I like to dream these dreams with an IKEA catalog in my hands. 

I dream of one day becoming a deep cleaner... or of having a maid who is a deep cleaner. (Neither of those dreams is very likely to come true.)

I dream about writing a book someday. I don't know what it would be about. I don't know who would read it. But I dream about writing and someday even getting paid for it. That's one of the reasons I started this blog, so that I could practice my writing and maybe even find out what I want to write about. Someday. Maybe.

I dream of someday not feeling like I have to have an asterisk after my admission of being an art major. (I don't feel like I'm a real artist because...) I dream of filling my home with my own art... of overcoming my artistic fears... of hanging out with artsy people and feeling like I belong... of getting my creativity back.

I dream of vacationing in exotic places that I have never been. Of all inclusive resorts that I have only heard about. Of relaxing on a beach or on a mountainside, with a book and a drink and not a care in the world.

I dream of travelling to third world countries to see firsthand the cares of the world that I can only imagine. I dream of helping in any and every way I can. 

I dream of paying for marriage counselling for everyone who has the courage to ask me for the name of our marriage counselor.

I dream of someday talking in public without hyperventilating and developing bright red blotches on my neck.

I dream of opening a fair-trade/local-made boutique... or an art center... or both. Sometimes I dream of opening it in the downtown of a big city. Other times I dream of opening it in a picturesque village.

I dream of going green... of learning to garden... of not killing every single plant in my house.

I dream of my kids knowing God's love for them... of my husband knowing in the center of his heart the depth of my love for him. 

I dream of this blog-space being a place where I can encourage others, and be encouraged. Where I can find community.

I dream of not being afraid to reach out and find community in the community that I live in... of reaching out and creating community even when it feels uncomfortable.

I dream of being at home when my kids get home from school... and having popcorn popped for them, or warm chocolate chip cookies.

I dream of being a catalyst for good.

I dream of someday hearing Jesus say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Those are a few of the dreams I dream.

I have so many dreams that I don't have a single defining dream. If somebody asked me, "do you have a dream?" I wouldn't know what to say. I'd probably say, "I don't know... not really." Because that's easier than admitting I have so many dreams that I feel aimless.

That's why one of my words for this year is clarity. It's like right now I'm looking at my life with a wide angle lens and the subject of the photo is unclear because there are so many things vying for my attention. I want to focus in on one thing -- or two or three things. But to focus on just those three (or four) things and clarify what it is I am doing with my time right now. More importantly, what does God want me to focus on right now? 

I want to prioritize and be purposeful, intentional. Not to give up any of those other dreams, or any of the dreams that I didn't even list, but to realize that it's okay to not do everything all at once. There's a season for everything. And then, when I focus, maybe some of those dreams can become reality. 

But not in a "you forgot to wear your shirt" type of way. More like in a "free at last!" type of way.




11 comments:

Lucy said...

Anne, this is absolutely beautiful!!like you!
I believe I could copy/paste ( almost ) every one of your dreams.You make me think and I like that...
I dream of being brave like you and having the courage to write my dreams.Love~ Lucy.

Anne Bickle said...

Thanks, Lucy! I'm glad I make you think, I'm glad I make you dream of being brave... you can do it! You can write your dreams down. I believe in you. xo

Amy said...

This is good. I like your dreams and I like it when people are free at last, truly in every way free at last. I need to see about writing out my dreams. . . I know that would be a worthwhile exercise. Writing orders things for me, and ordering all these internal,many times abstract dreams would be helpful. Keep dreaming, friend. And keep taking the steps toward them. You're doing great.

gayle t. said...

Wait -- did the outfit at work thing happen, or not . . .? Either way, I haaaate those stressful dreams. I have stressful dreams a lot. I love this post -- love it.

Thanks for linking up with us on Life Lately this week!

xoxo,
Gayle | Grace for Gayle

Unknown said...

I'd read your book. I'd even buy it at your store. I loved this post.

Ginger Harrington said...

What a fun blog! Enjoyed hopping over from Studio JRU. I love seeing the fun way God puts our talents, creativity and personality together.

beegee10 said...

i too stumbled on your blog from Studio JRU and am so glad i did! i so enjoyed your writing and sharing a glimpse into your week . . . i love your word for 2013 - clarity - something i ask for too!

so keep dreaming and keep writing! saying hi from texas... where it was 72 today! YIKES. . . and this is january? :-)

Anne Bickle said...

Thanks, Amy! I encourage you to take the step to write out your dreams. It's a worthwhile exercise for those of us who avoid such things for whatever reason. I can see hints of your dreams in your writings, though. And I love your writing for that. xo!

Anne Bickle said...

Yes, it totally did happen. In real life. I can laugh about it now. :) Thanks for saying hi and for the follow! xo

Anne Bickle said...

Thanks! When I sell my book in my store, I'll let you know... oh, wait. I don't know who you are. Bummer.

Anne Bickle said...

Thanks for hopping over, Ginger!

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