Friday, May 05, 2006

Distinguished Dreams

"All men and women are born, live suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about... We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live."
Joseph Epstein

Well, amen to that mouthful of solid truth. Birth itself is choiceless, and our origins are like grabbags, take what you get and make the most of it. We are not all blessed with equal birthrights, either; some of us are born into tragedy, some into poverty, some into prosperity, and some are given extra heavy burdens to carry due to health issues, but all of us dream in one form or another.
There are people who never lift anything heavier than a thought toward making any dream come true, and there are those who never stop attempting to give life to their imaginings. There are those who never believe and those who never have a doubt. What puts us into one group or the other is our attitude and that is something that can be changed as our awareness of its power becomes clear.
I once simply adopted whatever was placed upon me by others, at least outwardly. I studied the actions of loved ones and excused bad behavior I never would commit myself. I formed opinions I never voiced. I accepted crumbs as if that was all I deserved. I was not aware of how much of my silent sorrow was caused by my own attitude. I dreamed of better days but did little to make that my reality.
I thought I had no choice when truly I held all the keys to the kingdom. Each of us holds our own, yet many of us never realize how we set the stage for how we are treated by how much value we place in our own worth. How we react or if we react at all sets the perimeters of our relationships, and the most important friendship we ever have really ought to be with ourselves.
Once we alter our attitude it is a sure bet that our dreams will become more than just distant longings of things we wish were true. They become vivid blueprints of what surly will be if we put some effort into making it happen. Life itself is a gift and how we unwrap it is up to us. Handing it to someone else then complaining about how they abuse it makes no sense, but all too often that is done in the name of love.
Real love does not seek to control, it only hungers to share. Words said that contain no actions to back them are simply words said and nothing more. I learned this over and over, but I know it by heart now. I dreamed of possessing unconditional love. It was only a dream until I gave it to myself first then it became a reality in its own fashion. My attitude toward myself has made my life richer and it spawned a dream that is acted upon here.
I received the following email and place it here to illustrate how the smallest kindness can inspire someone to keep dreaming. Thank you, June!


One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"
"You don't owe me anything," she replied "Mother taught us never to accept pay for a kindness"
He said ... "Then I thank you from my heart."
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Many year's later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.
Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case. After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill then sent it to her room.
She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words .. "Paid in full with one glass of milk" (Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands."
There's a saying which goes something like this: Bread cast on the waters comes back to you. The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place - And, after all, isn't that what life is all about?
The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which--to burn