“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”
— Douglas H. Everett
As I was writing a letter to a soldier I found through the Adopt-A-Soldier program, I began to wonder about his dreams. Right now, he’s over in Afghanistan, away from family. What does he dream about doing … someday?
It reminded me of another dream. A dream that died.
About ten years ago, we lived in another town with our three very young children. It was a small, rural town which had a booming wine industries. We had some friends with children the same age. She was American and he was French. He told me he was going to open a winery. He was so confident, that he bought the land and even had hats printed up – Nez Casse Vineyards – a bit of self-depricating humor at his nose which he had broken years before in a motorcycle accident. One day he gave a hat to me.
Over the next couple years, I got to know him and his friends better. One of his friends, who was going to help him with the winery, was a nice man. I’ll call him Darren. He had experience in the wine industries, and I remember him explaining to me in great detail his passion for wine and growing the grapes. He and my friend would talk for hours about wines and bouquet, hopes and dreams.
One morning, of no particular interest, I found out that Darren had been killed. It was a single vehicle accident on a rural road. Darren had been drinking, had a fight with his family, took off in a rage not wearing a seat belt, and drove his truck into a ditch. He died of massive trauma, leaving behind a wife and young daughter.
I think that the dream of my friend’s winery died with Darren.
The years have passed. We haven’t talked to our friends much as both our families have moved away.
But as I was finishing up a run today, I stopped and looked at my hat. It was the same baseball cap that my friend gave me all those years ago. I’ve been wearing it as my running cap. It’s old, worn, sweaty and embarrassingly stinky. I hadn’t really thought about it until today.
Looking at the cap, I realized how easily dreams die. Perhaps because of tragedy. Perhaps because we think that there’s always tomorrow to get started. Or perhaps because we just never find the time to get around to them.
One dream that I hope you have, is the dream to be the kind of person you can be. The kind of person to whom your children look up. The kind of person with which your spouse wants to share everyday. The kind of person who is there for everyone in their community. The kind of person with integrity, honor and a generosity that knows no limits. The kind of person who knows that this dream is never reached, but is reachable by giving a tiny bit more everyday.
If that’s your dream, then you can start living your dream … today. Simply start by helping someone. Listening to them. Finding out what they need. Asking how you can help.
Whatever your dream, don’t let it die. Start living it today.
Wrote a letter to a soldier. A soldier who has dreams of his own. Perhaps dreams of being the best person he can become.