All I ever really wanted to be was another Molly Pitcher or Madam Curie. I wanted to be a rescuer, a crusader, a woman who accomplished great things rather than marrying and raising children. I was willing to go into battle like Joan of Ark, or at least follow up the battle if not to lead one, as a Clara Barton.
From the time I was four or five I had ambitions. Dolls meant nothing to me; my playtime was in books. When I was required to play with other children, I was the leader, except when I willingly trusted someone else to lead.
Looking back down the path of greatness I wanted to walk on, I find that I’m seeing it from a parallel road. The lane I’m standing on is not the one I wanted to travel. I was looking for ‘Out of the Ordinary’ and here I stand on the ‘Prosaic Parkway’.
When I married I was willing to give over the wheel; turning over my portion of the map in order to embrace his dreams and direction. I was also willing to walk that road hand in hand with someone else. I believed I heard his heart, but I only heard his night dreams and never his in the light dreams. Night dreams pass with the coming of the day and light dreams seem enduring. One is elusive, fleeting while the other gives way to hope.
Never realizing until today that I may never be Clara, Joan, or Molly, I am saddened. I may never crusade anything and that the part of me that had such dreams has grown old and feeble, maybe not my body or my heart but the part of me that dreamt light dreams is dying.
Perhaps the seeming resentment of some elderly persons is not because they are prisoner to their bodies but instead prisoners to their light dreams, and all that they intended to do but could never quite reach. Maybe I am bitter and frustrated myself, not knowing how to change direction and escape the parallel world I find I’m trapped in.
My disappointments may tempt me to live my light dreams through my children and like a choreographer designing a dance only he can see; wanting to manage someone else’s life and bring to existence the dancers in his imagination, living life as their backseat driver.
I can see what I wanted and how the sign Fear took me off track but I have no idea how to exit this parallel highway. I must, however leave the children alone and let them look for their dreams themselves, and not abandon them on a parallel path. Just because I lost my way, they may use a different compass.
“Lord I want to do great things, that doesn’t mean be great just do great things, important things, things written in history books…should I have told you?”
Now I realize that my days of reading about Theresa of Alvia, or Teresa the little flower or Mother Theresa has placed in me the desire to accomplish great things for God. Can I be a Corrie Ten Boon? However, while I imagine doing these great things for God I have always been aware of the fear that resides in me.
Fears I would defy and turn my back to as I jumped off a barn rafter into a mound of hay twenty feet below. Fear I left behind me to ride Sputnik bareback, that devil pony who wanted no rider on his back at all. Have I forgotten how to out maneuver fear?
It is true that night dreams may evoke certain images that can wake one from a deep sleep. I understand fear in the dark but the contradiction is the fear that exists in the light. These daytime dreams are even more deceitful because they develop with our eyes open.
Sight and perception become as hindered as a person suffering with Macular Degeneration. When damage occurs to the ‘light sensing’ macula interferes with the sharp central vision of the retina, distortion results in the center of the vision field leaving only the unharmed peripheral to function properly.
My slow and awkward steps and blurred vision only allow me to wonder at the attractions of the adjacent road. In the light of day, can great things happen on the path I’m on? Will I ever find a crossroad that permits me entrance to my true path? Will I recognize it?
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