Posted by: rusch | September 20, 2007

Negotiating Dreams

This post was inspired by John Remy and his blog Mind on Fire. I have been reading this blog for the past two years and think that it is by far one of the best that I have come across.

“Negotiating Dreams”

I have had dreams at various points in my life. Some have come true others have not. For the most part I am thankful some have been realized, those still in the ether, and those that did not come true.

From about the time I was twelve until fourteen, I had serious aspirations of becoming a professional basketball player. No one could dissuade me from my purpose. My determination was fixed. Every time someone told me how improbable or impossible my goal was it only strengthened my determination to practice harder and longer.

That dream did not come to pass. I failed to make my high school basketball team thus closing the door to the next crucial step of playing college hoops.

But along the way I discovered distance running. I discovered a sport that had nothing to do with the subject judgments of a coach, or the poor performance of teammates. I discovered a sport that pitted you against yourself. Cross country appeals to behaviorist in me because performance is easily measurable and verifiable and subjective opinions of human being do not come into play. Either your times get lower, or they don’t and there is no question as to where you are on your team.

The next dream that I had was of serving a mission in a foreign country. My hopes for this were completely deflated when the letter in a large white envelope read “California Roseville Mission”. I can’t say that that was devastating though it was really, really, disappointing. Though I served as faithfully as I knew how, I still carried that disappointment with me for a few years after coming home in March of 2000.

But in retrospect I am grateful that I did not have to negotiate the things that many missionaries in foreign countries have to deal with and was able to devote time that would have been spent learning another language to intensely studying the scriptures. I have found that becoming very familiar with the scriptures has opened doors to me that would not otherwise had opened, or been presented to me, had I not seriously read the standard works during those two years in an effort to know for myself and not rely on the light of others.

If I had served in anyplace else, I doubt that things like FARMS and apologetics in general would have ever come into my life. Frankly I don’t know where I would be now if I had not had the opportunity to study the Gospel, as I did, while serving a mission. I think that the challenges of learning a foreign language would have impeded me from appreciating some of the finer points, and least understood doctrines of the Book of Mormon and the Atonement.

While I have had my share of disappointments, some of my dreams have turned out to be all that I had hoped for and more.

About three months after coming home from my mission, my family spent about eight days in Hawaii. I loved every minute of it. Several times during the trip I remarked that I would someday like to live there. My parents told me that living somewhere and vacationing there were two different things and that I might not enjoy living in Hawaii as much as vacationing there.

Fortunately they were wrong.

I moved to Hawaii in 2002 to attend school. From the moment I moved into my dorm until boarded an airplane to leave the islands forever in 2004, I absolutely loved everything about it. I have even thought about moving back.

Because of the experiences that I had there, I am so thankful that I took the path less traveled and found that that narrow near invisible trail led to an island in the Pacific.

The final dream that I am thankful for that has not come true was my dream of becoming a full time seminary teacher for the Church Education System. This was a dream that I decided to pull the plug on.

The time I spent subbing last year for an early morning class in my stake was incredible. It went so much better then I thought it would. The students were so astute when it came to spiritual things that I was able to depart from the correlated lesson plans and talk with them about things that I did not begin to understand, or even began to be aware of, until recently. What was even more gratifying was that they seemed to appreciate, enjoy, and were thankful for what I felt inspired to teach.

I hope that someday I will have more opportunities to teach seminary on a voluntary basis.

I have come to the conclusion that if all our dreams came true, we would be very unhappy. We would not appreciate the good things the dreams that do come true. I hope that more of my dreams do not come true, so that I can find better things then what I hoped for. That seems to be how things have gone up until this point, and I hope it continues to be that way.


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