by Father Mark Goldasich
Do you still dream?
I’m not talking about what happens when you’re asleep. I’m referring to dreams while you’re wide-awake. Maybe this story, told by Barry Merritt of Toledo, Ohio, can clarify things. He writes:
Our Little League coach had a picnic for the team at the beginning of the season. After we ate hot dogs and hamburgers, he gave us a pep talk.
“How many of you have a dream to one day play in the major leagues?” he asked. Almost every hand shot up. Every kid believed he could do it; you could see it in his eyes. “If that is to happen,” Coach said, “that dream begins now.” We were so inspired that we practiced hard and played hard and went undefeated for the next few years. All-Star teams from other leagues played us and lost.
Years later, when I became a coach, I brought my kids together to give them the same pep talk. But when I asked, “How many of you have a dream to one day play in the major leagues?” not one hand went up. Not one kid believed he could do it. I was speechless.
The rest of my talk was meaningless, so I said, “Really? Nobody? Well, get your gloves and let’s throw.”
I’ve thought about that day for a long time. What happened in the 25 years since I was a kid? What had come into their lives to steal their dreams? What had convinced them that they would never be more than what they are now? (Story found in “1001 Illustrations That Connect,” edited by Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof.)
Sadly, it’s not only those kids in the story above who no longer dream. Many people today — both young and old — seem to be simply existing, rather than striving and thriving. We’ve become folks like those humorously portrayed in the DirecTV commercials. The setup is the same: In the middle of a modern neighborhood, a family continues to live as if it were still the 1800s. In one of the ads, the father tells the kids to be grate- ful that their parents are providing them with “succulent jackrabbit pie, delicious gray soup and a single lick of the family lollipop each harvest moon.” When the kids question why they have to settle for cable, instead of Direct TV, the dad responds, “Because we’re settlers! That’s what we do.”
Are you a settler when it comes to your life and your faith? As that commercial reminds viewers: There’s much more to life when you don’t just “settle.”
Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed a couple of people in particular who were not content to settle, but pursued their dreams instead.
The first is someone that I knew from Savior of the World Seminary days. In early January,
he set a goal to lose 50 pounds. He then posted a picture on Facebook of a scale showing his weight of 264 pounds at that time. Over these past few months, he’s regularly posted his progress. As of today, he’s down to 211 pounds and looks great. He made his dream a reality with hard work.
The second dreamer is a former student of mine from Hayden High School in Topeka. About a year ago, I treated her to a meal for her 50th birthday. In the course of our conversation that night, she expressed her dream of becoming a runner. Hers was not an issue of needing to lose weight. Instead, both of her kids were runners, and she had a huge respect for them, their commitment and their healthy lifestyles. Soon after our meal, I began to notice posts on Facebook that she was starting to run a little bit. I’m happy to say that on April 24, she completed the Trolley Run in Kansas City, Missouri, with both of her children. She ran four miles, her daughter at her side the whole way, encouraging her. Needless to say, I was proud of her achieving her dream and very impressed.
These dreamers will tell you that the difference between a dream and its fulfillment is very simple: Have a plan and stick to it. A plan will turn a dream into a reality.
This summer, don’t be a settler. Have the courage to dream of becoming a healthier, happier and holier person. Work up your plan and let others, especially the Lord, know of your dream. Then, stick to it and prepare to discover how truly amazing, rich and blessed your life will be!