In recent weeks, I have had cause to use the term 'living the dream' on a number of occasions. Preaching at the first Mass of a new priest is an obvious example, but in a curacy - if all goes as it should - we can readily describe ourselves as living our dream.
In all good ways, of course, we are. Most ordained people have been labouring under the particular burden of their calling for years, and whilst it as often as difficult burden, in the end, it forms our dreams. Those dreams are realised at ordination.
On a different tack, I once heard a lottery winner state that all their dreams had come true, that they could now fulfill every ambition and dream. That sounded marvellous, but only for a moment.
In the cerebral world that is Coronation Street, one of its older characters stated that she still had her dreams, that she knew that they would never come true, but that they were still worth holding on to. This gave me cause to ponder over my Gin and Tonic and think how life really would be if we had no more dreams to chase after. It sounds perfectly awful to me.
Our dreams, aspirations and ambitions colour in the person that we are. We are clearly a product of 'past', and fact of the 'present' - but it is all of those things that give us our 'future' dimension. I number many people who (if they but did the thing) would give most lottery winnings away for fear that all the little (or not-so-little) things that we dream of would all ocme true and there would be no dreams left. Without our 'future' aspect, we are nothing, except flesh-bones-and-memories.
Witnessing the ordinations of friends was bitter-sweet for me. It was sweet to see a much loved friend recieve God's Grace and Charism and to become that which they were born to be. It was slightly poignant then to realise that in fact, it is good to look forward to something (maybe or maybe not) happening. Ordination for me is now past - so now what ...?
For me, my dreams project upon my children now. I want for them and not so much for me, though I am still a man who harbours ambitions and dreams. The 'biggies' (family, priesthood) are real now, so they need to be replaced with other things. I once heard a story which I am reminded of now ...
There was once a man who loved to go fishing. He loved to fish and he dreamed of the time when he could sit in his boat and fish all day. Eventually, his dream came true, and as he was rather a good fisherman, was quickly overwhelmed by his catch. He asked a friend to join him and they fished together. They too were very successful and other friends joined them. There were so many fish that they couldn't eat them or give them away as they had done so before, so they bought a little shop and sold their catch their. So popular was this fish that the man and his friends needed bigger and better boats, and then trawlers which needed a yard which needed staff which needed a bigger shop, and another and another. The man's fish business soon became the most successful and the most profitable and he and his friends became rich beyond their wildest dreams. Time passed and the man became stressed with the burdens of his business and became ill. When he went to his doctor, he was told that he needed a little hobby; something that could help him relax and reflect on the wonderful life he had. Being a man who took the advice of his doctor, he thought hard about how he could unwind after a hard day at his Corporation's Head Office.
So he went fishing on his little boat ....