She clutched her coffee and got real quiet. I have a tendency to fill the empty space but this time I waited.
“I’m a dreamer”, she said.
I kept real still, hoping she’d share more, and said with eyes -- me too. I wanted her to know it was safe to go on. Because I was a dreamer at her age. I still am.
I have books and retreats and businesses swirling around in my head. I want to own a B&B in Ireland one day. On walks with my husband, we notice abandoned warehouses and see possibility and promise. And pray that our hands might be part of the restoration.
Dreaming is good and healthy. It’s necessary. I believe we’re made for it.
I get into trouble though when I only live from this place. When my view is only up high and never low to the ground. When I start to believe I’m in control of all that is happening. When I begin nitpicking my every job transition and move and think location equates purpose. When I look at the work of my hands and assume that it’s small and insignificant. And when I become so paralyzed by choice and indecision that I refuse to do anything, for fear of chasing one dream and forsaking the others.
I’m not saying we neglect this part of us, dreamers. We must fight for this space in our hearts. Particularly as we get older and folks try to tell us to just sit still and be quiet.
The echo of their words still stings -- it cannot be done, that’s a foolish idea.
But what would it look like to see just three feet in front of us? When we’re plagued by indecision and discontent, let’s find the small space of green at our feet and begin there.
And ask ourselves one, simple question -- how can I make this spot healthier, cleaner & a bit more beautiful for the rest of humanity?
It happens with the small, daily acts on repeat. Picking up a piece of trash on our sidewalk. Saying good morning to the same man on his daily walk. A mama singing a lullaby after a long, hard, thankless day of diapers and finding cheerios crushed into the carpet. A teacher who stays after class to go over just one more math problem with a student whose struggling. An actual phone call to say -- I’m grateful for you.
It happens when I stop and stare at the little gingerbread looking house across the street and notice the tulips before the frayed edges.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” - Mother Teresa.
Maybe that’s why we’re all here, to create ripples in the water. To stand on the edge of where we are with faithful obedience and keep tossing stones. To look straight head, rather than to our left or right comparing our efforts with others. To focus on repetition instead of success and worry of how long it might take for our ripple to reach the edge and touch the other side.
How different my life might look if I believed I didn’t need a bigger or better stone to change the world, I just needed to keep tossing the ones I’ve been given from where I am.
We all have a bit of dreamer in us, it’s how we are made. And we don’t need to apologize for that. But when the ache turns to restlessness, find the small bit of earth in front of you. Start with just three feet. Notice what needs to be done. And get to it.
You might stand amazed at all that’s been happening right under nose, your posture might even turn to praise. And in time, you might start to celebrate the sheer fact that of all the places you could be, you get to be right here. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Article by Maeve Gerboth | Photography by Hilary Hyland