Tag Archives: The Impossible Dream

When Life Kills the “Impossible Dream”

Some time ago, I referred to Aldonza’s song sung when facing the ‘cruelest of all’–Don Quixote, after being stolen, carried off, and brutally and repeatedly raped. I associated it as that which I oft cried out to God (even when I feigned ‘proper’ polite and dutiful Christian prayers and actions, underneath my words and heart remained the same cry). If you haven’t seen it, or follow with what I’m saying, you can watch me speak here, or simply see the song clip here.

Recently—who am I kidding, repeatedly (to the point of almost being a constant) life has not been manifestingly kind. Where once excitement lay in change, in the bed now seems to be only despair.
As often as I’ve spoken—and even in symbol, representation, and connection referred to, the ‘mad knight’ Don Quixote, to seeing life as it should be and not as it is, to ‘dreaming the Impossible Dream,’ to the world being better for seeking, striving, fighting, reaching, all for the unreachable star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far, no matter how beaten and battered, no matter how scorned and riddled with scars; I can (and truthfully must) admit to presently and consistently a loss of hope.
Of late, it’s as if I am not merely struggling to keep afloat, to press on through it all, to do what I must, what I ought, what’s placed before me to do; but instead like pieces of me are being torn away, ripped out, robbed, given away like a whore for a measly scrap to get by on. Of witnessing bridges—connections in joy, and hope and love, being washed away in a flash flood (of no apparent cause but nature itself), of roots steadily unearthed without any sight of fertile soil to replant. Of opportunities and purpose fading away like phantoms, of loss and of outlets and of passions dashed.

Having hope torn apart.
Having that ‘impossible’ dream turned to shame.
And life killing that dream I dream.

In a word, from the sweet, exciting song on my lips being this:


(LYRICS HERE)

To a guttural wrench provoked both through and out of me resonating thusly:

Les Miserables Preview: Anne Hathaway – I Dreamed a Dream from LSP on Vimeo.

Fantine
(LYRICS HERE)

Change has presently rendered itself to be quite at hand both temporally and physically. I do not know what it will bring, nor where it will bring us; in fact I don’t truly know much of anything at all. What I am quite well aware of is that ‘change’ is not always neat, it’s not always tidy, and it’s not always kind.
And what I also know is myself.
And I know that where I have oft had excitement at the possibility of new, of uncharted waters, for in each, there was a bounty to be harvested, treasures and new realms and possibilities and hope and anticipation and all manner of beauty my imagination lended itself to, creating, scripting, writing my future role, the story, what could be done and would be best done; there now lay only void.

Absence.

No imagined beauty.
No wonder.
No hopes.
No dream.

Yet if experience has taught me anything (which it has, succeeding in keeping me foolhardy in never giving up), it is that there is an inevitable oscillation between hope and desperation. I’ve had change I feared that turned to wonder. I’ve had change I anticipated excitedly only to reveal itself to be nothing. I’ve hoped. And despaired. And hoped again, and despaired once more. I’ve discovered giftings and talents and truths about myself. Only to have no use of those which I reveled in, hoped to see manifest and used, longed to share and make known.
I’ve seen the simplest of me come out.
I’ve stared into the refining fire and accepted the face staring back at me, the reflection of my own therein, and the cruel, wicked, vile, dancing shadow I cast—growing larger and larger the closer I draw to that fire.

I’ve cried out in anguish and wretchedness that if God was whittling and pruning me down to nothing in this life to just take the last thing I have left, life itself—to just kill me off and be done with it, only to angrily hear a quiet whisper from my heart, “NEVERTHELESS, not my will, but yours be done.”

Still I dream.
Still I hope.
Still I believe in the sun, even in night.
Still I believe in the fixed guiding star that always remains, even behind the storm clouds.

And the more I fade, the more I lose, the more I witness the waves of uncertain, unknowable, untrusted, unsure change drawing closer and closer to my shore; of tethers to the here and now being cut, of friendships and opportunities and hopes and aspirations washed away; the more I stare at the fire all around me rather than the shadows behind me, the shadows of me, the more I lose sight of all which I place(d) importance in and I bear witness to the fire alone.

I used to think that what I longed for was what the fire could share, of what it could speak, and teach, and reveal, and change, and affect in and through me. I convinced myself (quite well, actually) that I desired more than anything for the fire to speak to me, to give me purpose, to answer my questions, and make itself real by proving to me that I am real.
But in a (foolishly) fleeting moment of truant honesty and flagrant, unmitigated transparency, I discovered that what I truly long for, what I have found myself in want of was the quite simply the fundamental, childlike desire simply for the presence. I didn’t find myself wanting the fire to tell me what to do, how to do it, where, and why; but merely to know its presence anywhere and at all times, to embrace me, to wrap me up.

Not for the fire to coddle me, but to swaddle me.

As easy as it would be for me to say that I don’t want someone to merely listen to me, to simply take me in as I am—to simply take me in, as easy as it would be to say that I want conversation, I want knowledge, I want activity and a place to shine and be me, I don’t.
I just want to know it’s there.
I just want to feel it.
To see it present with me in every moment and every where.
To hold me when I hurt.
Bounce me when I’m giddy.
Burn when I’m angry.
Correct when I stray.
To love regardless of my lovability.

This, I know, is undoubtedly foolish, childish, unwise. And I am indeed anticipating the time where this fleeting revelation, and bury it back deep within (yet this itself is hopeless, for as I said, I’m quite foolhardy).

For when life kills the dream I dream, I’m left with nothing but reality.

But it’s a reality that remains in spite of me, despite me. A reality which my dreams contain so many elements of. A reality any dream I dream is and can only be based on. A reality which even the best dream I dream proves itself in comparison to be just that, a dream in the face of a glorious reality.

***With the “Les Miserables” actual clips I had intended to include being deleted, I had to post those presently featured. If you have not yet seen the 2012 film, I highly recommend you go see it to get the full emotionally riveting, experience. Once these clips are made available online again, I shall change the video clips to feature the actual film clips capturing the emotional importance I’d wish to convey.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Broken Hallelujah or…an Apt Title for What Can Simply be Referred to as My ‘Spiritual Journey’

When I hear the words ‘spiritual journey,’ it’s difficult to keep my mind from thinking that what is desired is a whole bunch of Christian jargon strung together to formulate so cohesive a whole that it ends up looking like a religious résumé, where words and phrases like ‘hard-working,’ and ‘honest,’ are replaced with ‘repented(ance),’ and ‘it was me who murdered Jesus.’

Truth is, I believe at my core that the ‘journey’—the ‘Pilgrim’s progress from this world to that which is to come’ IS Jesus.
And Jesus is (and, through His revelation, has become) so much bigger and grander than I have ever imagined or can imagine.

I honestly don’t know if I’ve been fully ‘converted.’ Like the woman at the well, I’ve tasted living water, yet unlike what the Scriptures say, I’ve gone away thirsty again…and again…and again, as if I forget the presence of Jesus—His love and His grace. So I wander off; forgetting what is good, and even at times forgetting to remember. It’s like I’ve been awoken from a dream to reality: seeing the proverbial windmills for what they truly are (giants), and yet fall back asleep again, forgetting that it’s a dream, thinking giants to be ‘just windmills,’ and this world to be what is, not what isn’t.

Why?

If I’ve truly had a ‘conversion’ why do I not feel fully ‘converted?’

In my history, I’ve had the private time as a child alone in my room, ‘asking’ Jesus to come into my heart (as if the drawing to him—the romance was entirely up to me), battled sickness and disease meant to take my life (or at the very least, my spirit), I’ve been brought to utter ruin at the hands of others (and still bear the scars on my body to prove it), brought myself to utter ruin (time and time again), lived a year or so in utter anger towards my maker (never once forsaking or denying truth, but despising it all the same), made a covenant with God that I would follow Him and do what He brought to me to do (in a state of loneliness of drink and smoke, where I felt as if I made my ‘bed in Sheol’ and yet, He was still there with me), fallen in and ‘out’ of love, struggled with grace, wrestled with unrelenting love, and come to see that at the center of it all, in it all, through it all, IS JESUS.

So I keep coming back. Back when my ‘brains dry up,’ back when my spirit runs dry. Because to me, I have not had a ‘conversion experience;’ that is to say rather, I believe Jesus is AT ALL TIMES SINCE BEFORE MY BIRTH CONVERTING ME.
And it’s a process that both hurts and frees.
It’s a process that requires me to be ‘unmade’ in order that one day I will be fully ‘made;’ made in the image of God.
I believe the converting fire is a refiner’s fire, and that fire is good. For fire is what burns away that which is not real, to bare that which is.
And lately, that fire has been burning hot.

I have seen myself as God sees me. Not through an absence of my sin, my failures, my mistakes, my ruin, but all encompassing. That I am created for no other reason but love, and loved for no other reason but I’m created.
And that for me to see that, I NEED a nature that keeps me from God, for it is because of that nature that keeps me from Him, that He sent His son. While I was/am still a sinner, CHRIST DIED FOR ME. I cannot see His unrelenting love and His irresistible grace that is Christ Jesus without seeing and knowing that because of my sin nature, God demonstrated His love, that there is nothing in me and of me that makes God love me. He just loves because He IS LOVE.

Thus, it’s not that I ‘chose’ to be converted—that I ‘chose’ the Way, but the Way CHOSE ME. Not only that, but the Way is constantly choosing me, constantly in the process of converting me, until such a time as “It is finished.”

What do I wish to do then? I wish to be a voice.
I wish to vocalize the unrelenting Love and irresistible Grace of God.
Not to bring, but to reveal.
Not to convert, but to be an ambassador.
To show just where Jesus IS in other’s lives, and reveal how HE HAS LOVED THEM.
To bring others to see that Jesus isn’t the Way OUT OF THE FIRE, but THROUGH IT. That as C.S. Lewis says of Aslan, Jesus isn’t at all safe, but He is good.
And that is something to trust in.
That Jesus will bring about the death of you.
But that part of experiencing the love that is all around us, in us, through us, working, like Paul says in the beginning of Colossians.
And I have come to believe that part of that calling requires further education and credentials (a Masters in Theology) on my part, in order to have clout and backing to wherever He is calling me to, and placing me in specifically.

Beyond that—that is, what that is exactly, is still veiled to me, and that’s okay. For just as the story has been told whether I know its details or not, it will continue to do so. All I can do is what is and has always been in me to do: to seek where God is, what He is doing, and my part in it all.
This pursuit has led me in and out of service in the Church, be it leading Bible studies, being a group leader, leading a college group on Metro Campus, leading worship, being part of various worship teams, volunteering in various capacities in my present church, to working in retail, and teaching Early Childhood for 4 years, getting married, writing and maintaining a blog, writing and composing music, the possibility of writing for the Religion section of an online News Source, the possibility of being an adjunct at Metro State and teaching a course on Hell, gaining jobs, losing them, and going in and out of the ‘Wilderness.’

And no, it hasn’t always BEEN SAFE, but it’s been good.

Of late, that safety has been less and less a reality. We’ve come to see just what a young married couple can survive on whilst still maintaining bill pay, insurance, rent, when one is working full time and one is on meager unemployment. Yet deeper than mere fiscal safety, a spiritual safety and trust has been tested—tempered.

Song # 1 to listen to whilst reading this:

It’s strange to think that it grew to be easy to say that I would and do trust not merely God himself, but that He IS Good—that I am not afraid, that He WILL provide what is good, He will show just what path I’m meant to take, but compared to the difficulty faced presently, of course it would seem easy to say previously.
And yet even with the difficulty and challenges staring me—us, square between the eyes, and the ease at which I could just give up, stop fighting, stop seeking, stop longing, to question God’s goodness, God’s faithfulness, God’s love, I still can’t seem to bring myself to do it.
No matter how much I may want to.
No matter how much I think I do give up in the darkest of moments; alone, longing for the sanctuary of sleep, but cannot bring my heart to stop pounding, my head to stop swimming.

But that’s just the thing about hope, I guess.

Hope is what has spurred me ever forward, never satisfied, constantly seeking, and yet also presented me with some of my greatest challenges, obstacles, and disappointments. You see, when there is hope—true hope, I’ve learned that one pours all they have and all they are into their endeavors; and that can be a very dangerous thing to do when one is not prepared to be scorned and covered with scars. For hope leads to reality beyond what is seen, heard, felt, but it can also lead to heartache, heart break, and being battered and war torn.

Is this ideal? I don’t truly know. For I cannot rest assure and put forth that my relentless hope has led solely to accolades, accomplishments, honors, and prestige. Whether I’m an old fool of a soul yet or not, one thing’s for sure, the parallels between Don Quixote and I seem to grow more deep and rich.

Hope.

My hope, in its unrelenting way has many times left me realizing I’m merely fighting windmills, or that royalty are merely mule drivers. Yet Quixote could not give up hope. Hope that he was something beyond what people saw, and therefore called to fight for what is not seen. To the world and everyone in it, his brains dried up. To him, he had awoken from a dream into what was truly reality, and he lived fighting to bring about what ‘should be’—or at the very least, make it what ‘could be’ to those and for those still sleeping.

The world considered him mad; a madman in world prone to see the extraordinary as ordinary, yet void of the ability to see the ordinary as extraordinary. I hold that Quixote’s madness lay not in having the ability to do both, but verily, in the hope of bringing his reality to the world’s doorstep and into its house.

My Wife, Ricci, has been reading a book in which at one point the main character comes to a fork in the road with a sign post labeling each direction which reads:
“Lose your way”
“Lose your mind”
“Lose your life”
“Lose your heart”

It struck me as an interesting question to be presented with: if faced with the choice of losing one of these, which would you actually choose?

I wish it were that easy.

For I’ve been in a constant seeking my entire life of just what is my ‘way,’ so to lose what it seems I have not yet found is to fall into a groove of assuming I have found a way, yet it being the wrong one.
I’ve lost my life (or so it feels) time and time again, so the loss of that does not seem to be so difficult a path for me to walk down, yet with the unceasing hope God has created me with, I cannot seem to shake that there is a reason I’m still here, still traversing, still purposed.

Thus, the challenge would be choosing between losing my heart or losing my mind.
Having lost my heart plenty, and trying (in vain) to guard against that, I would not under any circumstances choose that path again. And truly, having seemingly traversed the roads and ways I have thus far, I can’t shake the feeling that to lose your heart and to lose your life may be one and the same road, if not, then at the very least being parallel.

If it were up to me, I’d take the path to lose my mind.
The problem is not knowing before I head down that path whether or not I still will feel when my heart gets broken, or lost, or hurt. Would I know? Would I be concerned?
What if I have already lost my mind? Again, can unrelenting hope when surrounded by hopelessness be considered madness?
Then I’m mad. I’ve already lost it.
And I still feel every hurt, every ache, every heart break.

And I still feel mad, I look at myself and think “you must be crazy.” After all this, to still continue on, to still Dream the Impossible Dream.
So perhaps I’ve taken the way of losing my mind long ago, and–it being my first path, have traversed all the rest without realizing it. Loss of way, loss of heart, loss of life.

I just can’t for the life of me give up and give in. I feel urged to press forward, onward, upward, into or out of darkness.

And I’ve got to keep believing that the world will truly be, ‘better for this.’

Song # 2 to listen to:

Song # 3 to listen to:

Leave a comment

Filed under God stuff