Dreams and Disappointments


To say I liked The Greatest Showman would be an understatement. To be honest, I saw it four times in theaters. Judge me if you will, in my defense we have Movie Pass, but there was something about it that hooked me. The first time I saw it I thought it was just the story or Zendaya, but over the next month as I belted the soundtrack on my way to work, I felt something come alive in me. I realized, somehow in the past couple years, I had stopped dreaming. It has been survival mode, going through the motions at best, and healing. All of which were needed, but that part of me that believed for something brighter and better was broken and I hadn't even noticed. Hugh Jackman, of all people, reminded me of the purity of dreaming, the risk required to execute those dreams, and the perseverance to pass through disappointment should those dreams fail.

A majority of my day-to-day life is filled with less than magical moments. Nothing super exciting about brushing my teeth, answering emails, or scooping cat poop out of the litter box. Yet in the midst of the unremarkable, dreaming is a gift that allows us to look at life for its possibilities, for what the world could be instead of what it currently is. It orders those mundane tasks into a larger purpose and drives them forward to accomplish larger goals. Dreaming dares to see change happen, and I think deep down everyone has a dream.

When you were a child, what did you want to be? A super-hero, mom, chef, whale trainer (was that last one just me)? Big or small, there are dreams inside of you waiting to be made manifest. You were put on this earth to change it. There's something inside of you that no one else can contribute to the world, whether you believe it or not. It's our mission, should we choose to accept it, to uncover that buried dream and share it boldly without reservation.

Alright, for the three of you that haven't written me off as a fairy-minded-fluff-for-brains by now, I really don't think 'dreaming' is a flowery idea. Not in the sense I'm talking about. We aren't talking about sitting at your desk, head in hand, day dreaming about riding unicorns with Viggo Mortensen (although, that sounds exciting). We're talking about that tug in your gut that says you were made for something more. That feeling that nudges you to take a risk. That voice that says, launch that business or begin homeschooling your kids or write that book.

To dream is to imagine a world better than the current state and call that into reality.

It's weighty and important. It requires strategy, skill, and most importantly risk. When people take that big glittery dream and translate it into the dirt of daily life, that's where change happens. Here's the risk: you might fail. In fact, you probably will and more than once. Fail isn't a bad word nor will it necessarily be your fault if your dreams don't come to fruition. Sometimes dreams just don't work out, and we'll never know why. That doesn't make the sting any less real or the disappointment any less bitter.

I've found disappointment to be the mortal enemy of dreaming.

Disappointment can keep people hunkered down in self-induced safety, afraid to lift their heads or use their imagination because dreaming once betrayed them. Being burned by a flopped dream can strip you of your security and, if we're being honest, can really shake up the foundation of who you are.

But it it will not break you unless you let it.

We're in the midst of a disappointed dream. It wasn't our fault that it didn't work out, nor is it anyone else's, but it's done all the same. The disappointment of that has lasted a full year. So I can tell you from current status that dreaming is risky. And fear will tell you you've peaked. The good days are behind you. You don't have what it takes to succeed and you shouldn't try again because this "fail" was just a warning- the next failure will be worse.  But that is a lie, and it's so important to call it that. God, in his wonderful humor, used Hugh Jackman to show me that.

In the TGS, Hugh takes out a massive loan to start a museum (a really creepy wax museum) that fails. Total flop. And he's pretty bummed about it, understandably. He comes home dejected one night after a long day of hard work and his sweet daughters literally speak life into his disappointment. They tell him to mix it up, add something live, and BAM...inspiration comes in a catchy show tune montage. Ah, that real life could have a soundtrack.

The point is, he could've wallowed in his failure. He could've quit or gone and gotten another desk job, but he was open-handed enough with his dream to be flexible. In humility, he braved the risk of disappointment (again) and he pivoted his dream. He moved on. It was still a risk. It was still a dream, but because he didn't camp out in disappointment, this one took off. 

Disappointment is a place you pass, not a place you stay. 

I'm rising out of a long season of disappointment, but I don't regret the risk that brought me here. That dazzling dream that we took a chance on brought me four years of love and friendship, even though it was tail-ended by a year of loneliness. In fact, if you told me five years ago that the dream wouldn't last forever- I would do it again in a heart beat. I cherish those memories and am learning to let that disappointment mold my character and lead me to dream again. I'm pivoting and imaging something new. I'm coming alive and it feels good. 

Here's the thing- most dreamers I know, "failed" or "successful",  have no regrets in taking the risk. I think it's because the risk of taking the plunge, calling that dream into being, is nothing compared to the reward no matter what the outcome is. There's a bravery forged when you follow your dreams. You realize you can live simpler and work harder than you ever thought you could. Once you've lived like that, going back to purposeless monotony just won't do. Not that monotony will disappear just because you're dreaming, only that dreaming gives monotony bigger purpose. Good dreams paired with action will change the world around you. No doubt. They can effect those around you for the better, creating new opportunities and glimpses into a future that wouldn't exist without what you carry. We just have to brave disappointment in order to see the dream come to life.

There is something really beautiful in that, don't you think? No matter how many times you've "failed" or been burned by disappointment, it just takes one dream and one person brave enough to make it happen to change the world. I want to be one of those people. I want to be Hugh Jackman, say it with me! I don't want to hide away, just surviving. Sure the risk is great, but the reward is so much greater. So Hugh Jackman, I know you're 100% definitely reading this, thank you for doing what you do. You and Ree Drummond have changed my life.