Yesterday I had lunch with my mom and her sister, Margaret, who is visiting from England.
We sat down at a French bistro in the heart of Wellington Village and my aunt asked me point blank, “What are your dreams, Natalie?”
“I don’t have any dreams.” I said.
“Really?” she asked.
“Well, I want a job. And I want to buy a coffee table from Ikea. That’s what I dream about these days.”
I know it sounds harsh, especially coming from a “dreamer” such as myself, but I don’t mean it that way. Lately I’ve been reading bits and pieces of the book Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus (gifted to me from his personal assistant in LA). There’s a chapter on Destiny that makes me want to simultaneously pump my fist in the air and chuck the book across the room.
I’m a little bit cynical right now, but that’s not to say it won’t pass. I definitely believe in dreaming, and I know that life’s a lot more magical when you add a touch of whimsy. I just think that my dreams are a lot simpler these days.
I saw my friend Erin M this past Tuesday and she asked me to tell her stories from Thailand. The stories that I had weren’t the ones that I anticipated I’d come away with when I departed for Bangkok in January. They weren’t stories of rescuing children from harmful situations or providing women in the bars with skills training. They were simply about loving people, and about the impact that love had. The stories were about the fruit that I saw when I put aside my selfishness for two minutes and focused on other people.
“Natalie! Those are the stories that I want to hear more of!”
We walked past the Parliament buildings and then through Major’s Hill Park, and I was struck, probably since the first time I’ve been back in Canada, by how beautiful my city is. I said this aloud to Erin.
“Yeah!” she responded. “And Natalie, we live here!”
I can dream about going back to Bangkok, and I hope that one day I will. But whatever “work” I do there will be no better or more noble than the work I do anywhere else. And whatever dream I have will remain just that unless it’s built upon a foundation of love.
I’m not doing a lot of big dreaming these days, and I have to remind myself that that’s ok. Right now I’m more focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Perseverance. Discipline. Consistency. All of which, when bound together by love, will create some pretty awesome dreams. Of that I am positive.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing…
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
– 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13