Pipes and dreams

Where do dreams fit into our lives on earth (read: the lives that you and I are living right now)? I’m not talking about your vision for the rest of your life, the things that you hope to do and will put all your efforts into doing.

I’m talking about pipe dreams. I’m talking about you-got-your-head-in-the-clouds thinking that makes you sit at your desk and imagine life with that dream fulfilled, starry eyed and blissfully unaware of life around you. What do you do with those?

Our hope in Jesus is our anchor for the soul. That’s good, and we don’t have to question that right now. What I want to know is, what do we do with the hopes that are floating high above us, barely visible – in fact, so far away that we have to imagine what they look like at times? Do we let them float away and concentrate on the things within our reach? Do we focus on all the realistic, hard truths that make it obvious that we’ll never hold those things in our two hands?

These dreams are like soap in the bathtub, eggshell in the cake batter, gnats in midair, paper on a smooth countertop. We can feel them – or at least part of them – and have an idea that they’re tangible, but it’s hard to fully grasp them. And sometimes they’re even less graspable because they have wings or engines – actively moving in another direction.

What do we do with our lofty hopes?

Can we be dreamers and still live happy, productive lives on earth? I’m probably going to come back to the idea that it’s about balance, keeping an eye out for dreams and holding onto the things that are concrete right now. Why do I always come back to balance? Balance is hard. You have to do two things at once and have the perspective to know when you’re getting lopsided.

I’ve been remembering some poignant lines from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory today, and this one’s coming to mind now:

“We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” – originally from Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Perhaps it is in our identity to dream, to reach for the possibly unreachable. And perhaps the only way we can ever grasp it is to keep it in view.

On days like today, where I wake up and the sun shines and I successfully mail another 7 postcards, and I’m on a train to Vienna to catch a flight to Paris, my dreams seem within reach. Or maybe my heart just floats higher than other days.

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