I dream of going hiking. I dream of that freedom to explore, climb, get off the well-beaten path. I dream of running with my children, kicking a soccer ball around, the thrill of playing sports. I dream of going to the beach and not getting stuck, immobile in the sand. I dream of holding my loved ones’ hands and walking along the shoreline, letting our feet get kissed by the water that creeps back and forth along the sand. I dream of not having barriers like snow, ice, puddles, gravel, grass, curbs, stairs, etc. keep me from getting where I want to go. I dream of these experiences that I so cherished as a child, and I hurt that I can’t do them the same way with my own children.
I think it’s important to occasionally let our thoughts go to these places, acknowledging the longing inside us and feeling the pain there. It helps remind us that we can have compassion on ourselves, as we recognize that our lives have real challenges.
But after a moment of feeling that heartache, and reflecting on these lost dreams of mine, I had an important realization that helped pulled me back out of that pain. Everyone has dreams they long for, and pain in the things they have to do without. I dream of full mobility and walking without pain. Someone else dreams of love. Of having an affectionate spouse. Someone else dreams, desperately, of having a child. Someone else is dreaming of being able to be home with their children during their work day. Someone is dreaming of getting an education, and being able to pursue a career that they are passionate about. Someone else is dreaming of having a comfortable home and food on the table. Someone is dreaming of having friends. Someone else is dreaming of having any feeling or strength at all, being much worse off physically than I am.
Yes, there are things that I long for, but there are many, many things that other people long for that I am blessed enough to have. It is good to name the pain and acknowledge the human experience you are going through, but we must bring along with it the awareness of others and the acknowledgement of their suffering; and then the realization of the GOOD that we all have. It’s different for everyone, but good and hard are both there.
One thing I’ve learned and said many times, though, is that when you actually look deeply, you will find that the miracles outnumber the heart ache, and you have an abundance of wonderful things to be thankful for.
Today, after reflection and a few tears, I choose gratitude. I choose to keep dancing through the beautiful life I have, open and appreciative throughout the journey, and excited for my unique adventures. I’m all in.