“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
I have always been a daydreamer. I come by it honestly. My mother was a daydreamer, as was her father before her and his father before him. I’m quite sure that each one of us was told at some point to get our heads out of the clouds. I don’t know that for sure about my Pop Pop and my Great Pop Pop, but looking at their life choices, it’s a pretty good guess.
I’m sharing this with you as I put together the Making Sense Out of Change course. It’s not coincidental. Without a vision to work toward, we have no hope of creating something finer. We settle for far less than our potential.
Carriers of Hope
Daydreams are the wings upon which hope rides in. Daydreams remind us of who we truly are when life tries to tell us a different story about our potential. It’s ok if we dream bigger than we can achieve. Dreaming, and working toward our dreams is a two-fold gift: We will land in a better place than where we started, and, the journey to get there will be much richer than the life for which we may have settled without the dream.
Our individual striving also ripples out far beyond us, even if we don’t achieve what we intended. As we say in the Chickamauga Nation, “All things affect all things.”
Consider the legacy of the dreamers in my family of origin:
Theodore, (my Great Pop Pop,) dreamed of being a fine art painter. When the US entered World War I, his children were 12, 11 and 6. The fine arts were not particularly lucrative as the country struggled to fund the war. Instead, Theodore painted houses all over an emerging Baltimore. He didn’t achieve his dream, but he did pass it on.
Jack, (my Pop Pop,) also dreamed of being a fine artist. In my family, we seem to have a knack for being born at the wrong time. World War II began in Europe when Pop Pop’s oldest child was an infant, and my Mom Mom was pregnant with my mother. When the US entered the War, my aunt was 3, and my mother was 2. My uncle was 7 months old when it ended. This was another bad era for creatives to make a living with their art. So Jack worked a good, steady job on the USPS Railway Mail Train. He was a mesmerizing storyteller, but he didn’t reach his fine arts dream either. Like his father before him, he did pass the dream along to the next generation.
Holly, (my mother,) drew, painted, wrote and told stories throughout my life. She had wanted to go to college for art, like her grandfather on the other side who was a successful Graphic Artist. However, in my mother’s time, a woman needed an extraordinary amount of chutzpah and support to either choose a career over children, or to try to do both. My mother lacked confidence and loved children, so she chose the expected path.
My parent’s marriage didn’t last past my preschool years. As a single mother of three … “challenging…” children, she resigned herself to a mundane, low paying job that kept a roof over our heads. However, she kept her creativity alive anyway she could. I remember her drawing and painting when I was little. I remember loving who she was when she created things. But her self-doubt held her back for many years.
Still, she raised us with wild and wonderful creativity. She loved whimsy and taught us to look for it everywhere. She read us wonderful books by authors like Norton Juster, Roal Dahl, and that ultimate dreamer of dreamers, (author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,) James Thurber. These writers took our perceptions of life’s possibilities and turned them all inside out. My mother encouraged us to do the same.
My mother was ultimately able to weave her creativity and storytelling talent into pastoral ministry in her later years. She passed her artistry onto us, and onto our children. My brothers and I each use our creativity liberally in our personal and professional lives.
Me. I spent the first 20 or so years of my life deeply steeped in the study of music. I shifted to Broadcasting Arts, and later began my life as a Therapist. Like both of my brothers and our mother before us, as well as her father before her, I am also a storyteller. Now, with the emergence of technology, I have been able to weave music, writing and digital creation into my work. I never got that Grammy, but you know what? I don’t miss it. I love both what I do and how I do it.
Jazmyne, (my daughter,) lives a life entirely infused with art and artistry. She has a career as a Music Therapist which affords her the liberty to use both her musical ability and her visual art, helping people take hold of much richer, more complete life through their work with her. Our multi-generational daydreams have become her day job!
The desire for a creative life has been a stubborn weed in our family. It has been frustrated, denied, choked and ignored at times. And yet, here we are. Theodore’s frustration helped Jack, who’s frustration helped Holly, who’s frustration grew something challenged-but-beautiful for Tom, Dan and Tiffany, which then manifested into an “of course,” for Jazmyne.
Don’t Quit Your Daydream
As you think about the changes you want to pursue for your own life, I leave you with the words to Lily Meola’s song, Daydream:
We all got these big ideas
One day, they’re replaced with fears
How did we get here?
Darlin’, don’t quit your daydream
It’s your life that you’re making
It ain’t big enough if it doesn’t scare the hell out of you
If it makes you nervous
It’s probably worth it
Why save it for sleep when you could be
Living your daydream?
Want help following your dreams and making changes? Contact Tiffany today.