December 4, 2013: Room for New Dreams

~by Louis Templeman

The human mind has room for more than one dream. However, many hold to only one: fame, love, physical strength, success in an art form, academics or career. Often these dreams are masks for addictions. Whatever the motivation behind our dreams we find a painful time of darkness when our dreams crash.

When a love comes to an end we despair of hope. When an illness or accident removes us from the career track we craved we question the meaning of our lives. When the aging of our bodies limits our movements, ability to drive, athletic expression or the decrease of sexual ability or stamina we come to grief. This grief is as real as the experience of the loss of a loved one.

Our spiritual task in such a dilemma is to become less rigid in our attachments to dreams and abilities and accept the flow of life. We are not always in control. We can stare at our losses and have a good cry, however long, and grieve over them. Healthy grief is about letting go and saying good-bye. Not just good-bye but also hello to new dreams. Our losses can awaken us to new possibilities.

My good friend lost her marriage and her career as a co-pastor when her husband succumbed to the devastating disease of alcoholism. Not too many years later she lost her daughter to the same disease. She faced a long period of severe grief, but in the end awakened to new dreams and new loves.  She has developed a new life and a new dream of rescuing people from the devastation of addictions. She returned to school and became an addictions counselor.

Another friend of mine lost the love of her life twelve years ago. After a healing period of grief she found herself rediscovering her love for art. She has taken many classes and given away many beautiful canvases she has painted. She also developed a leadership role in her church. This year, at age 83, she will make her fourth short term trip to Central America with a missionary team from her church. These women discovered the “hello” that should follow the “good-bye” of grief.

The loss of a dream makes room for a new dream. The loss of a dream can lead to healing and a new dimension in our relationship with God. The other side of grief is freedom and even new adventures.

~Louis Templeman

Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D.

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