I had a dream that died.
A dream that, having once dreamed it,
I chased with all my might.
I devoted every part of myself to it.
I pursued it with the all of the
Exuberance of my remaining youth.
I followed it around corners,
Over distances, and through
I hoped for it when no one
Understood it, when
Others had forgotten it,
When they had shrugged it off.
I believed in it when I was
Afraid to say it for fear of laughter,
I still believed when they laughed,
And even worse—when
It wasn’t worth their laughter,
When with raised eyebrow
They turned away.
With the constancy of Ahab
I hounded it like it was
My own white whale.
And with the same capriciousness
It teased me relentlessly
Coming just within grasp
Before diving to new depths,
Crashing my boat, or speeding away
Toward perdition’s flame—
And I followed.
Many storms and shipwrecks later,
Weather beaten and sail torn,
My dream has become a ghost.
Something hardly considered.
A memory of only the pain
Of unresolved goals,
Of people who sought to stop me,
Though I didn’t know why.
Today, a friend spoke of my dream
As if it were alive, as if she
Were looking to its fulfillment.
I said, “I’ve given it up.”
I said it matter-of-factly.
I said it without bitterness.
I said it truthfully.
She said, “I’ll just dream it for you.”
It was a kindness I have
Rarely seen and only experienced
A few times.
To bear up under with one another,
To be with one another,
To share one another’s burdens like this
Means that, sometimes,
We have to hold things for one another,
Hope in things for another even after
They’ve lost the ability to hope in them
To carry someone’s dream for them,
Even after the burden of carrying it
Has become too great,
Is what it means to be in community,
Members of one another.
Perhaps we are all bitter captains,
Agedly balancing on peg-legs,
Swearing at the waves and the wind
As we chase that uncatchable thing
To the end of our lives.
With it, we face the treacherous
Sea together, holding one another
Together. Bound together
Not by the fulfillment of the dream
But by our love for one another.
What was once a hopeless plight,
Has become a promising adventure.