What are your dreams?

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

This was one of the first poems I memorized as an adult. It seems I have never lived apart from its influence. Thank you, Langston Hughes.


What happens to a dream deferred?

Hughes wrote:

“I was unhappy for a long time, and very lonesome, living with my grandmother. Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books — where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas.” (Wikipedia)

Chronic illness defers dreams. This is my 4th day sitting or lying on the couch ill and completely unproductive. Saturday was a bad eye day (like many over the last month). Thankfully, I got over it, but immediately came down with my trademark “cold” or upper respiratory infection that utterly wipes me out, leaving me short of breath and mentally stupefied. What a bummer being sick, when there’s not even solace in books. Hold fast to dreams.


“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18)
“And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”‘” (Luke 4:4)

Hughes reminds me that I always need to ask myself the question, What are my dreams?

Our dreams define us more than external forces ever can:

“When you’ve got a dream like mine,
nobody can take you down…”
(Bruce Cockburn)

For me, illness prompts their reassessment. Do I have dreams like that?

The question What are my dreams? remains always new. It’s much larger than setting goals — actually, it’s about love. To ask it continually is to sustain constant dialogue with the world around me. To ask it continually is not to neglect friendship with those I love. If “work is love made visible,” then dreams are the magic, the energy and the means, which transmute hidden love into visible work that I may share with others.

In “The Weight of Glory,” a masterful essay in the book of the same name, Lewis wrote: “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, … far too easily pleased.”

When ill in particular, I must hold fast to dreams.

Let us pray for strength to hold fast to our dreams and love one another.


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Michael Barfield, thepaintedsoul

Bruce Cockburn, Love in a broken world

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