Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
-Pope John XXIII-
I was thinking back to my youth today, more specifically the year I turned 17. Just days after my 17th birthday I was rushed to the hospital in the early hours of the morning before the sun rose and the birds started to sing.
The pain I felt in my gut was like none I had ever felt before or since. I recall making my way to my father’s car, I was doubled over in pain, doing my best to keep myself upright and moving forward. The ride to the hospital was long, and I could feel every bump and pothole on the road’s surface.
The world felt small and insignificant at that moment. I could only feel the pain in my gut and the pain on my mother’s face. My father did his best to abide by the rules of the road and made haste to the nearest emergency room. The car was quiet as my parents undoubtedly worried about their eldest son, in pain and unable to give the needed assistance to alleviate the suffering.
Once I reached the hospital, the Doctor took one look at me, asked one question, touched my abdomen and gave his diagnosis, acute appendicitis. This case seemed far advanced, and immediate surgery was in order.
3 surgeries later, 36 days in intensive care, 3 brushes with death, battered, bruised, weak, and cut open, I finally made it out. Life was sweeter after that, until I forgot the agony, the pain, and the fact that I almost lost my life 3 times in those 3 different surgeries.
Every now and then I recall that experience to remind myself that I have one life to live. That life is mine and I can make of it what I choose, at any moment I can lose this life, without warning, without fanfare, without having lived out all of my dreams.
This is all so easy to say, even though I lived it, sometimes it is more difficult to practice. Life has oligations that may prevent us from living out our dreams, there are things that must be done and there is no time for bucket lists and other such silly notions. You can’t do that, what will people say? How will you explain this to the people in your life?
I’m afraind that I have no answer to those questions as living our dreams is our own responsibility and answering for our actions is also our burden to bear. So we choose to ignore those dreams in order to keep the peace, keep everything as it should be, to keep the questions from coming.
How sad that we have not the will nor the strength to make our dreams a reality. Maybe, just maybe, if we all would realize that we each have unfulfilled dreams, and we gave each other some room, then maybe the whole of humanity would be better served for us haveing realized our dreams.
Maybe we each should just lighten up a bit and give one another permission to dream and reach for those dreams without guilt. I think that it all begins with each of us giving others room to dream.