Category Archives: Dreams

Living With Dreams

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” 
James 4:14

Thirty-nine years ago today my father passed away suddenly, less than a day after we buried my thirty-two year old brother-in-law who died of cancer. When you spend a week and half sitting in a funeral home making final arrangements for two people of your immediate family, life has a way of changing you. Not immediately, and sometimes not even in ways you can understand or explain. But it does change you.

It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by and even more difficult to think about everything they missed and everything we missed sharing with them. We lost a part of our future and past in a matter of days. I don’t know if we ever really recover from loss or just throw a blanket over it to allow us to function each day. We carry on, we laugh, we welcome new family members, we enjoy life because there is no other choice. We live for the living and for ourselves. Still, there’s always a hole, always moment in days where we stop and maybe smile at a memory or what they might have done or said about a family situation. Or the way life has changed so much over the years.

Here’s the strange part of the story…

A couple of weeks before my Dad died, I had a dream. In my dream, I saw him in a coffin at the funeral home, exactly as he appeared after he passed away.
Ten years earlier, my grandfather, (my father’s father), died unexpectedly. A couple of weeks before he died, I had a dream. In that dream, I saw him as he appeared in the coffin. My grandfather lived in Brooklyn so I had never been to that funeral parlor. And yet, when I walked in, everything was as I had seen it. In detail. I remember it very clearly.

A couple of days after my father was buried, I told my mother about both dreams. For obvious reasons, I had never told anyone about them before. She wanted to know why I didn’t tell her. She wondered if there might have been something we could have done if she had known. But as soon as she said the words, she understood.

You can’t alter your life chasing those types of dreams, just like you can’t alter your life chasing what might have been. There’s no time for that, no secret recipe for the secrets of life.

So hold the ones you love close. Those that are here and those who are not. And if the ones who are here don’t understand, hold them closer.

 

 

 

 

Welcome To Holland

Even though she has won 17 Emmy awards and has been nominated an additional 14 times, you may not recognize the name Emily Perl Kingsley. She has been a writer on the Sesame Street team since 1970 and has written over 20 children’s books in addition to contributions on numerous other videos and shows.

In 1974, her son Jason was born with Down Syndrome. The doctors told her he would never walk or talk, that he should be institutionalized and they should tell everyone he died in childbirth. They didn’t listen to the doctors.

In 1987 Emily wrote Welcome To Holland. Since that time it has been set to various music formats and been printed on t-shirts, aprons, cards, calendars, posters, dolls, stained glass and numerous other surfaces.

If you’ve never read it or if your life has been touched in some way by a special needs child, her words are an inspiration to all.

 

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by
Emily Perl Kingsley

images

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Another Trip Around The Sun

I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to. 
Albert Einstein

They tell me I turned 64 today. That’s what they tell me, though I don’t necessarily believe everyone is being completely honest with me. I had relatives who were 64. Those people were old and I’m pretty sure I don’t act like they did or look like them or walk like them. Well, maybe occasionally I walk a little funny. But hey, I see 20 year old’s moving a little gingerly at times so forgive me if, after playing a game or two of basketball against those “kids”, I get out of the chair a little more slowly than I did earlier in the day. Some things just need time to correct themselves.

In fact, looking back, it seems to me I was clueless until I was about 50 years old.
Nora Ephron

If, in fact, I am this age that people are singing about, I don’t know where it came from, when it happened or what it means. I know I celebrated some birthdays in the past. I remember being a little depressed when I turned 30 because, well, I turned 30. The only other time a birthday bothered me was when they told me I turned 50, only because old people turn 50. At least that what I used to think. But 50 just happened the other day, that’s why I think this 64 thing is just some practical joke. Because if the people who tolerate my childish ways are trying to convince me that 34 years have passed since I was a depressed 30 year old, then I’m in serious trouble. That means that 98 is right around the corner.

How is that possible? I can give you detailed information about the stickball game I played when I was ten or the people we got even with on mischief night when I was 12. I could even tell you how I cheated on my alphabet test when I was five years old in kindergarten; and you’re trying to push 64 on me? Sorry, I’m not buying into it. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve always been doing, thinking the way I’ve always thought and trying hard to fight this dirty word people refer to as maturity. And I’m going to listen closely to Woody Allen when he said…

You can live to be 100 if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be 100. 
Woody Allen

So I guess I’ll never reach the triple digit celebration, because I’m not going to sacrifice all the things I enjoy just so someone can smile at me as they’re wiping the cake off my face and taking a picture for the local newspaper. But I have 60 years to worry about whether that party will happen.

What?

No, the calculation is correct. This isn’t the math you learned in school. This is called birthday math. It’s a little different. If you need a lesson, let me know but my guess is you’ll understand it sooner than you like.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and blow out the candles before the smoke alarms go off. Seems like everyone turns into a comedian on my birthday.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature but beautiful old people are works of art.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Have You Met Evan Yet?

This is Evan. He’s nine years old and adorable, isn’t he?

Unknown-1

Maybe you’ve seen him before on a talk show or in a magazine article? What makes him a little different from other nine-year old children? Well, Evan reviews toys on youtube. Sometimes he shares the spotlight with his siblings while his father records and produces the video’s before selling ad time to toy companies. Nice little family business, don’t you think? The kids get to have fun playing with toys and their parents get to spend some nice bonding time with their children.

There is one other bit of information I should probably mention. Last year, Evan earned close to 1.5 million dollars, while his youtube channels have exceeded 1 billion views.

Evan is nine years old, adorable, charming as all heck and earns money playing with toys. Well, lots of money, actually.

Here’s one of Evan’s reviews, in case you’re curious. Have a great day at work tomorrow.

 

Anticipation Or Surprise?

I enjoy the fun of anticipation and surprise, as long as the end result is something I’m looking forward to experiencing.

As an example, surprising me with a skydiving gift when I have a fear of heights and knowing the jump would probably kill me, is not on the top of my bucket list.

Unknown-1

Also, the anticipation of having root canal is near the back of the concert hall in terms of experiences.

images-1Now that we’re clear, lets move on.

I like surprises. I think they’re fun and creative and gives everyone an opportunity to watch you stare into space with your mouth open for a period of time, as your mind races with the appropriateness of how you should respond to this unexpected pleasure.

Unknown

Trips, parties and gifts can all be lumped in this category. Sometimes I think the person giving the surprise is more excited than the person receiving it. There is anticipation for the giver in arranging the surprise and seeing the expression on the face of the person receiving it.

And that’s my point. Anticipation.

Because while I really like surprises, I love anticipation. There is a different kind of excitement when you know you’re going to be doing something in a month, a week, a day, or an hour, that heightens the enjoyment of it all.
When I go on a trip, part of the pleasure is planning it, speaking to friends and family about it, imagining what it might be like, reading stories, looking at pictures and sharing that excitement with the people with whom you’ll be traveling. If someone gave you a trip as a surprise, while you would still enjoy it very much, you will have missed all those moments of anticipation and excitement that the other person felt.

imagesI think that holds true for adults as well as children, because regardless of our age, we are all children when it come to anticipating something special.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that surprises are a bad thing, I’m just saying that if I had a chance to have a dish of ice cream, I’d rather have a dish of ice cream with strawberries and hot fudge rather than just plain.

And I’d love to know in advance that I was going. That way I could smile like the child in the picture above, for as many days or hours or minutes that it took to get there.

But that’s just me.

How about you?

 

Springsteen Sunday (Vol.2, The River)

Welcome back to Sunday’s worship at the Church of Springsteen.

Album: The River
Song: The River

Today’s lyrics, which are only two lines long, may be the best he’s ever written. In fact, there are few lyrics, or words, that have stayed with me as these have.

Unknown

The song itself is about a teenage couple and was drawn from his own real-life experience. Springsteen’s sister, Ginny, became pregnant at age 18 and quickly married her child’s father, Mickey, who took a union construction job to support his family. They struggled very hard, as many people did back in the late 70’s, the way many are still struggling today. He turned their story into his most moving working-class ballad with a soulful harmonica part that starts to sound like a funeral dirge as the song ends. It’s a story about the excitement of dreams that life sometimes takes away from us.

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse

How sad are those last two lines. The entire song is a haunting ballad but those two lines cut to the core of our souls. If you read them over again, you understand that they can only be written by someone who has been there and experienced the loss of a dream, someone they love, or even themselves.  Two simply worded lines that tell ten thousand stories.

Here’s hoping we all find and live our dreams.

Thanks for stopping by today’s service.

No Bologna

There’s this little story about two co-workers who walked into their company’s lunch room, sat down next to each other and began unwrapping their respective lunches. While one started eating almost immediately, the other stopped and just stared at his meal. After a few moments, the man who was eating noticed that his co-worker was shaking his head and mumbling profanities under his breath. So he put down his sandwich and asked if there was anything wrong.

The despondent co-worker continued to look down at his meal while explaining, “Everyday I come here and have the same thing for lunch; a bologna sandwich with mayo, mustard, lettuce and tomato on white bread. Everyday.”

The man who had been eating took another bite of his sandwich, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why don’t you just ask your wife to make you something else?”

The man looked up with a defeated look on his face. “Because,” he said slowly, “I make my own lunch.”

Unfortunately, too many people continue to make the same bologna sandwiches each day. While its true that circumstances may sometimes limit their choices, it’s also true that those same circumstances sometimes serve as a convenient excuse to remain where they are. As a result, they become too comfortable or insecure; too fearful or unsure of their own potential. They remain in the same job, relationship, town or career, even though their minds scream otherwise. Until one day they realize they’ve settled for less and their lives have been a steady diet of the same bologna sandwich.

A noted sports psychologist, Dr. Steve Peters, once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Too often people lose sight of that simple fact. So ask yourself these questions. What is it you really want in life? What do you have to do to get it? Where do you have to go? What are you willing to risk? Whom do you have to speak to or be with? Are you settling for less? Do you believe in yourself? Are you confident enough to ask the question, find the answer and search out the solution?

So let me ask you once again. What is your main thing?

Got the answer?

Good.

Now go get it.