A Dream Deferred

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“Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or maybe it just sags like a heavy load.” -Langston Hughes

On the last week of my freshmen year of high school, cicadas attacked Princeton. Now, they are screeching outside my window. It’s time for change. Or so I thought. Really, it’s time to sit still.

Like when my mom use to belt me to the chair at dinner, so that I would eat my vegetables.

God is belting me to the chair of the ministry already started here in Athens, the nitty gritty, the laying down. The fear that stirs inside of myself every time I walk into the choir room, with people who don’t look anything like me and most terrifying of all, think they know who I am, but they really have no idea.

Or even more scary, I have no idea how to show those people who I am.

I dream of tornadoes all the time. A force which brings together high and low pressures. a meshing, a forging, a blending. A destruction. I dream of tornadoes and streams.

Dreams are fine when you write them on elementary school posters, or when celebrities tell their young fans to dream. Dreams are fine at Sunday night church, when you’re fed by someone every night, the older parent who belts you to a chair. Missions is okay in a small box. For a summer, or for a title that covers over a two week vacation. Missions is okay as a fad. But as my grandmother tells me today, “Missions don’t feed ya.”

Dreams are fine to have when you have faith. Dreams are okay when you trust that the Lord holds your hand. Dreams are even okay when God crushes your plan, and then hands you another option.

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.” Platitudes and cliches are hollow, and never show you the pain in the waiting, the dying to self.

I can’t be patient in the small things, because I’m in a perpetual state of waiting.

But dreams die and are weeded out when plans crash down, when the path you had planned on traveling dissolves and looks utterly ridiculous.

When the parents and grandparents tell you that you are not allowed to dream until you got a stable bank account and a steady man and a steady life. You dream when you are steady.

Dreams are selfish. Dreams don’t make a lick of sense.

And sometimes in your twenty two years of life, when you’re sick of fighting and striving and believing against all odds, you lay your dreams down, you bury them deep underneath the reedy earth and the red clay.

You stick your neck in the ground and bounce on a trampoline for a year, or forever, until the God who whispered things in your ten year old ear  returns – and picks up the dream and carries you.

option a:  i got nothing

option b: i chase the wrongs things down

option c: i can’t trust my intuition

option d: it’s best to not have faith in things

option e: best to sit still and do nothing

option f: best to be a blob

option g: work means nothing

option h: Keep your mouth shut tight. Stop retaliating. Stop running away from your only support.

I feel slightly dooped. I signed up for this town, these relationships, this church, this ministry temporarily. Now I have to assess what I want, and articulate boundaries, I have to say no or yes. Or commit. I have to commit.

The deepest cut of all, the cut where God let you down, he broke your trust. He let you believe in something, and then cut you dry.

For the first time in my life, I am starting to doubt in my dream, that I’ll ever get there.

In the face of a pointed finger, “I just checked on TV, that country is in a war” I’m not watching the signs, he says.

A stressed mother who worries about provision, “but how will he provide for you? Does Wesley give you a paycheck?”

A dad who wants me to have a dignified career with the state department.

Grandparents who “never wanted me to live in a muslim country, anyway”

Best friend and boyfriend who are sick of me running away.

Church leaders who don’t understand why I can’t commit, “its crunch time.”

Lay it down, its not for now. It’s for later. Tuck that away tight.

Apply, apply, apply.

Cacoon yourself in this American dream, for now. Or for forever until you forget what you wanted anyway.

The worst part is, I know His plan will be better. But he alienated me and instead of seeing the John 10:10 life  for my benefit, I see it as Him winning. He always wins, but tonight I feel like I’m on the losing side.

Then the dream is a burden or a buzzing gnat in your face. You don’t even know what it is or why you ever wanted it. No one else does anymore.

Lay it down, until He picks it up. Then you don’t know what your role is in this dream. You don’t know why you are, who you are.

Who are you? The girl who dreams forever. Always wanting to be somewhere else. That’s obnoxious.

I hate being the girl who needs to be somewhere else, above, other.

No one likes that girl.

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