“And still I dream he’d come to me;
That we would live the years together;
But there are dreams that cannot be;
And there are storms we cannot weather.”
~Susan Boyle, I Dreamed a Dream.
When our dreams are shattered... what then? The Boyle song is a song of truth for the vast many that travel life’s rusty way; something that promises so much, yet delivers so much routine disappointment. And the key idea of life is that our dreams will be crushed. This is for a good many reasons, not the least of which is our propensity to dream the unrealistic dream.
Life cannot deliver on these dreams, for we live not in the Garden of Eden.
So, what happens when we have dreamed—for instance, a lifelong romance with a soul-mate and the partnership has failed—what then? No contingency plan? Have we vested so much in life with them that without them we’re nothing? Certainly our identities are in for an overhaul. And here stands a golden opportunity...
Many of us have had our dreams shattered, and many will in the future. It’s what we do with these broken dreams—the “fresher” reality, if you like—that forges our future. From hopelessness, rage, hurt and resentment we need to find ways of seeing our purpose anew. The fresher reality is then to be accepted, truly, not in some platitudinous way, but real acceptance. But just how do we get there?
The ending of Susan Boyle’s song is poignant:
“My life has killed the dream I dreamed.”
Dark words? No, I don’t believe so. I don’t know the intent of those words, but one thing I do know is this: the perceived end is merely a framework for the most real re-beginning—a life where truth beckons and so too the opportunity to align, finally, with ‘life’s agenda.’
The best thing about the reality of your dreams-in-ruins is they were to some extent fictitious from the beginning, anyway; you know the truth now; now you have the experience of reality with which to dream up something more real; something more pressing; something fervently unique and meaningful, personally. Living on the ‘other side’ of the fantasy can give cleaner, more understandable meaning.
It’s so life-giving to know we’re not to come close to achieving our dreams—for our dreams are false, romantic and misleading. The entire press media propagate that dreams can be realised and we all love reading and hearing about dreams coming true. But they’re overdramatised and hardly realistic as a model for common living.
When our lives have finally killed our dreams we can then wake up at last and begin viewing life on life’s terms—only then will we begin to glimpse our real, realisable dreams; our very purpose.
And this is simply to understand and live in a present where we are but one very small (but incredibly significant) part of the universe. Understanding this is a huge relief!
Dreams are made to be broken. Look around you. Life is about finding the purpose beyond the dream. Beyond the dream life is real and it will treat you fairer than ever before.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.