When it Hits You All-of-a-Sudden

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This morning before the sky fills with white light I lie in bed and hear a flock of geese fly over. March comes in honking and I can’t sleep.
I pad downstairs and pick up the conversation on the dining room floor. We started this talk yesterday under a dewy sky. The last glimpse of February brought snow all day—thick slushy strands of light that left everything wet and cold. Cold to the bone. I worked all day and came home to fix supper and then drive Jeffrey back the way I just came. Drum lessons.
Some days feel like a constant retracing of my steps—never moving forward…just back and forth, back and forth in that same span of twenty miles. I suffer to see the new—I fight for fresh eyes on these days.
So as February disappeared under snowlight, I sat in the van by myself in front of the music store—waiting for my son to finish his lesson. I always bring work to do while I wait—books to read, keys to type on. But I was tired from a Lenten fast—this sweet taste still lingering in my mouth; the burn of the rich feasting I’ve given up these past days.
The book I was trying to read piled on more tired—thick conviction pressed heavy on my chest until I dropped the leaden words in the floor. They fell beside the empty yogurt cup—the morning’s breakfast eaten in haste on the commute—and rested on bits of dried mud left from the wet day.
I stared glassy-eyed into the fast-falling dark. Suddenly, in front of the store window stood a young woman—in a lacy mini-skirt, fishnet hose with tube socks pulled up over them, and army boots up her shins. She gestured to the piano on display excitedly and turned to her companions.  Two skinny guys in hoodies materialized, both with cigarettes dangling between their fingers. All three stood in front of the window, cupped their hands over the glass to cut the glare, and leaned in to look at that piano.
I wondered what kind of band they might be in together, smiled a bit at her unusual outfit (stage presence, I mused), and tried not to stare.
That’s when it hit me. From out of no where.
Those three kids took off walking up the street, hunched down against the cold but laughing. Laughing and dreaming dreams. And I felt so old and tired and used up. And it occurred to me that some of my dreams are just not going to be realized on this side of eternity. There are going to be things that I want that won’t happen. I was already behind before I started dreaming and sometimes you just run out of time.
I was just about to the point of despair when I remembered Leaf by Niggle. That little story by Tolkien that helped him keep pursuing his dream.  And then I remembered what Byron said—about how the word disciple means learner. How Jesus calls us to be lifelong learners. I reminded myself that I was made for eternity—that God put eternity in my heart and that is where this longing comes from.
I will have more than this lifetime.
And just as I was telling God this is all fine and good but what about right now? What am I to do with this feeling right now? Just as I was about to shake my fist up at that white sky falling down, the face of hope appeared. He opened the door and tossed his drum sticks in the back seat. Then he sat down right next to me.
And on the way home Jeffrey asks me this:
Mom, do you think if I try hard enough I’ll be able to live my dream?
This question from my 14 year-old son took me by surprise and my tongue felt too thick to answer at first.
But as I guided that minivan down that same 20 mile stretch of road that I had already traveled three other times that day, it became fresh and new.
Well, I said. I think it will make God happy if you try.
I reached over and squeezed his hand.

So this is what I ask this first light on this first day of March with my face pressed to the dining room floor. Does this make you happy, Lord? Does this bring you glory? 

Everything falls in its proper place and I can hear the geese honking in the distance. 
Sharing with Holley and her God-size dreamers:


  1. pam says

    So often the dreams of youth have been grand and as I age I realize fulfillment that touches that deepest part of me can come in the smallest things. I don’t think we should ever give up on some dreams, but glory yes, we were not made for this world and all the fulfilled dreams in the world will not touch that part of our spirit that only eternity with our Father can fulfill. How our hearts can be filled in a moment with something God breathed is astounding….so in all I am trying to remember when my human thoughts assail me to ask God where He is in that moment. Sometimes I must just sense Him drawing me in close under His arm to hear His heart because this world and my messy mind just don’t make sense some days.

  2. Maureen says

    Imagine if we couldn’t dream…. I think we have to, because by dreaming we are able to think of and imagine the possible.

  3. smoothstones says

    Yes. And I guess, from the outside looking in (as on that piano), I don’t understand your discouragement when you are so fantastic?

  4. says

    Oh, Laura, how I love you and needed to read this. I know every thought here….just a bit further down life’s road. I’m writing those questions on my blackboard right now.

  5. says

    “And I felt so old and tired and used up.”

    Yes. and this cold is hanging on and I couldn’t sleep last night and there’s a sermon bearing on me that isn’t ready yet for next Sunday and there are extra police at my daughter’s school because of a shooting threat and somehow, in the middle of all of this, we’re supposed to “spring forward”?

    But, I suppose that’s how Abraham felt too, and Sarah, and why she laughed that old, bitter laugh. Despite how I feel, the seed of something new is always within me, just waiting to come to life and, ahhh, deep breath, I make way again for life to be borne in me.

  6. says

    Never heard of this story by Tolkien before so looked it up and read more about it. Fascinating. Both it and your post filled me with hope. Dreams live on here and beyond.. Thanks Laura

  7. says

    “…some of my dreams are just not going to be realized on this side of eternity…I was already behind before I started dreaming…”

    What a beautiful, comforting and inspiring post, Laura! We see time so differently than God, I think. Our destinations are mere stops on the journey and the value lies, as you say, in the trying and the manner in which we conduct our travels. 🙂

  8. pastordt says

    Omigosh, Laura. This is just GORGEOUS. So real, so true. Love, love this – where you started and where you ended, too. Thank you.

  9. kingfisher says

    Oh, Laura, I’m so glad you are able to connect your heart to the beauty and the wisdom of God, in every little incident of life. I know we have to “make ourselves” see, and not expect it to all pop out at us in accidental oversight, but oh, you make the effort so worthwhile!

    I’ve struggled so much with the sadness and grief of dreams being lost forever, as I’m incapable of fulfilling them even though I’m sure the ideas originated from God. Yes, oh yes, we’ll have all eternity to enjoy seeing Jesus Christ face to face and know that he is Lord of all. Perhaps some of the things we can’t seem to accomplish, are actually intercessions to stand with other Christians to make the dreams come true in the right place at the right time for mankind’s benefit. And perhaps those others that “felt” God-breathed but didn’t come, will have been prayers which are complete when we get to heaven. And of course, those dreams which were really “just our fantasies” and not from him after all, won’t matter any more on the day there is no more death, sorrow, tears, or lostness.

    Love ya, gal.

  10. soulstops says

    oh, Laura…I hear you and your ache…and I love how God used Jeffrey & Tolkien to give you a new perspective…wish I could give you a hug…praying God blesses you with a sense that He is using you in bigger ways than you can imagine…Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart 🙂

  11. Linda Chontos says

    Oh Laura, dear friend, how I need to read this words over and over. The tears are standing in my eyes and my heart is stretching a bit.

    P.S. From where I stand you still have so much time dear one. For me, I begin to count the days and long to make them all they should be.

  12. says

    I’m so glad, Patricia. Do you know that all that beauty you share with your photography takes me to this place also? Every time. It’s a deep sigh of knowing–a recognition that there is a plan for restoration.

  13. says

    It is a painful struggle, isn’t it, Marilee? And the knowing and resting in God’s arms sometimes doesn’t make it easier. But these little deaths grow us in new and surprising ways. And letting my hope be Him…this is the place I am happiest.

  14. says

    Loving you from here, Linda. It helps me to remember that all these desires that are in my heart are really for God’s kingdom–for His good purposes. So I do the next thing. And then the next. Love to you, lady.

  15. says

    You had me at the drum lessons.

    I, too, want to shake my fist at the winter sky. And I know this feeling of realizing there are things, dreams, that just won’t happen. God bless Niggle and his leaf.

  16. Being Woven says

    “…do you think if I try hard enough I’ll be able to live my dream?” Oh, how often have words such as these entered my heart…some to naught and some lived. I am grateful that God has given us the ability to dream and to try and to actually live some of those dreams He instills in us. Those dreams seem strongest in my youth and as a young adult, waning as I have grown older. Yet… every once in a while, a strong desire peeps through the fog of age and is achieved because it was a dream for me by my Creator.
    I have recently turned a major corner in my life and don’t know what I am supposed to be doing or being for I have been doing and being for someone else for so many years. My Mama has gone to be with the Lord and I am here on this earth.
    Do I have a dream? Do I even have a thought of a could-be dream? Not at the moment, but if I “try hard enough”, if I line myself up with my God, if I look to Him for His will, He will guide me… even at age 65. We can still dream, still see them become real.
    I thank you, Laura, for writing this and sharing your son’s words for no matter how young, how old, dreams are part of what keeps us young at heart and in God’s will. May I ask, “Does this make You happy, Lord?”

  17. Kendal Privette says

    we have drummers the same age. and the same mud in the car. and the same i-feel-older-than-my-dreams feeling…..these children. hope.

  18. Donna says

    What a wonderful question and a very wise answer. I love that your son is the face of hope to you. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  19. says

    Thank you, Holley. Your words have been inspiring me to be faithful in the journey–trusting that God’s purposes will be realized. Lately, I’ve been wondering about the generational language in the Bible–thinking maybe my job is to foster the dreams of my young-uns. It’s a humbling thought but it makes me happy too. Dreams are complicated, aren’t they?

  20. says

    I thank you for sharing these thoughts here and opening your tender heart this way. Yes, some days it feels like age is chasing me, overtaking all my hopes and dreams. Then I remember: eternity. 🙂 Ahhh. Just think of the things we’ll do…

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