By Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda:
While chatting with a man I consider to be an inspirational force on this earth, an interesting statement came up; – “I have run out of dreams”. Come on now, what on earth is that about?! As it turns out, it is from a song, in which the writer articulates the idea of giving in to a bigger deal than what we imagine, in our limited capacity as humans, is great. But let me try to share how I made sense of it eventually.
When I was little, I had many dreams.
I also told my mother about all my dreams, every single time.
It also seemed that for every dream I told her about, I would have forgotten that I had already told her previously what it is I wanted to become when I grew up.
I’ve wondered, sometimes, did she have any hope in me? If she did not, she hid it well, because I was always sure of her love and faith in me, whatever my dream at the time.
First, I wanted to be the first female pilot in East Africa. I am not too sure where that came from, but it might have had to do with the fact that I had just heard a rumour that my father was a pilot or in some kind of aviation. It did not matter because that dream eventually belonged to a person I do not know.
Second, I dreamt of being an architect, and the first female architect in East Africa at that. But let me be a little honest here; I had no clue what an architect did. It just sounded really cool and again, my wonderful mother urged me on. Never mind that I was failing terribly at Mathematics and whatever else I would need to study architecture.
My third dream was to become a lawyer. This was inspired by my eventual realization that I only had one parent present; my mother. I also had overheard a little about how we came to be with her and no father around. I then decided that I wanted to become a lawyer, in order to fight for the rights of women and children. How did I give up on that dream?!
Then as I made more sense of life, and adolescence and puberty had both graduated me into naïve rebellion, I began to think more about writing and how much that seemed to make more sense. But even then, write what? I enjoyed books; not even necessarily the literary works of Shakespeare and others. Fickle fiction, inspirational stuff, but I also liked to argue and debate and I hated being told how to write. Who does that?
I majored in English and Communication at University and in the end, I still was not sure what I wanted to do with it. I only knew that I was very happy to be studying English. And I wasn't even getting distinctions – that was never the plan. I was trying to make sense of life and understand where my dreams fitted.
By the time I graduated, I had run out of dreams…well, almost.
Now, understand that I am a Jesus freak; the kind that walks, stumbles and keeps bumping into that thing called Grace – and does not quit on the journey as a result. I do not dream of being in full-time service in church. I feel that I would be devastated by that kind of call, and the very thought inexplicably makes me drowsy – drowsy because I prefer to live outside of the impossible expectations of church folk. So let's not dwell on it.
Obviously, dreams entail a lot more than just the things we do with our skills, talents and gifts. And yet, for most of us, it is what we do that gives us a sense of purpose, and rightly so. What we do has a lot to do with who we're called to be and do in this grand design.
When my conversation started, I did not understand how anyone could run out of dreams. But at the end of the conversation, I realized that I was at a place of dryness; emptiness – not having dreams to dream anymore. But that is not all. Maybe, just maybe, I have it all wrong.
I am not a pilot. I am not an architect. I am not a lawyer. I am not even the things that others thought my qualification would take me to – whatever that was.
I do have something of a dream – to find me and exist within the person I discover; to function within/out of who I am and not what the world expects of me. I am finding God to be essential in this quest and as I find me, I am finding it increasingly necessary to give in to Him to be able to find me. And yet, with this journey, I am also realizing that I will need to let Him define the dream for me. What it will look like, its shape, how it will be unveiled, the steps I need to take to achieve it…are part of questions, for whose answers I may only discover as I take the next step.
I suppose humans should dare to take the next step into the unknown and uncertain, and trust that clarity will be waiting. We might run out of our own dreams, but we cannot exhaust God's dreams for us, within this grand thing called Life.
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