Posts Tagged ‘trials’

Dare to Dream

January 31, 2018

abundanceAlfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” This statement is often quoted and yet not everyone agrees with it. If you’ve ever had your heart broken, especially recently, you may think this statement is not at all true. But I believe I know what he was talking about. Even if you have lost at love, your life is richer for having experienced it.

I’d like to ask you another question, perhaps much more controversial. Is it better to have dreamed and lost than to have never dreamed at all? For those who have dared to dream of what they’d like to see in their life, some have become embittered. I know of many people, especially older people, who would say that they wished they had never had a dream or set a big goal. They may have been repeatedly hurt, disappointed, abused, or ripped off. They took their minds to great heights only to come crashing down. Sometimes the pain is too much to want to get up and try again.

Let’s look at the story of Joe. (This is hypothetical but all too common.) Joe was a country boy who always wanted to have a farm of his own. However, he was urged to pursue another career path. So he went to school and got a job in the city. It was a good job, but his heart wasn’t truly in it. Finally one day, he decided to pursue his dream. He didn’t just up and quit his job. He worked hard, sacrificed and saved until he could earn enough money for a good down payment on a farm. The day finally arrived when he was able to purchase a farm and move back to the country. It took all of his savings to pay for the down payment on the farm, a minimal amount of equipment and seed to plant. He planted his crop and worked very hard to get it to grow well. His efforts were soon rewarded with a large field of beautiful corn stalks. The stalks were full of ears of corn. It looked like it would be a bumper crop.

Then tragedy struck. A huge storm laid the crop low. None of the corn was salvageable. It was a total loss. Joe’s savings were wiped out. His plans for a great crop that year were completely ruined.

What would you do if you were Joe? Would you sell the farm and go back to your old life? Or would you try again? Should Joe have just settled for his job in the city and never attempted to live his dream? It certainly would have been easier.

The purpose of life is to have joy. Joy comes from relationships and experiences. Unfortunately, relationships and experiences often result in pain. To have neither joy nor pain is to simply exist. That is not living. So I ask again – is it better to have dreamed and lost than to have never dreamed at all? It’s important here to step back and look at the bigger picture. We can ask the question in another way. Is it better to have dreamed a dream, including working hard to accomplish that dream, and lost than to look back on your life and see that it was wasted as you wallowed in mediocrity, too afraid of pain to try for the joy? This could be one of the most important questions that you can ever ask yourself.

I’ve known a lot of joy in my life. However, I have had dreams smashed or just never come to fruition. I’ve worked hard for things only to have them taken away. I’ve been burned a number of times and experienced a lot of pain. How many times should you have to get burned before you learn to stay away from the fire? That seems like a logical question. And yet, is it better to spend your life in the cold and darkness simply because you’re afraid of the fire?

Some dreams take a long time to come true and come with a host of setbacks along the way. Some dreams end in painful disappointment. However, EVERY GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT STARTS WITH A DREAM. Don’t let the fear of pain keep you from reaching for the joy. My wife always says, “the answer is always no if you don’t ask”. You may be afraid of failure. However, failure (the lack of accomplishment) is guaranteed for those who will not try. You’re far more likely to have wonderful things happen in your life if you’re not afraid to dream. Dreams become goals, goals lead to action, action brings results. So dare to dream!


The Parable of the Minefield

February 9, 2017

There were 5 people who needed to get from point A to point B. It was important for them to do this. Their families were depending on them. The problem was that there was an active minefield between the two points. They could not go around it. In order to get to point B, they had to cross the minefield.

The first person walked casually across it without a care in the world. When he got to the other side, the people who were there excitedly asked him how he could have done this so casually and bravely. “What are you talking about?” the man asked. “Didn’t you know? You just walked across a minefield!” the people exclaimed. He immediately had a panic attack and almost fainted. “I had no idea!” (This was not courage. It was ignorance.)

The second person also walked boldly across. When he got to the other side, the people asked him if he knew it was a minefield. “Yes, I know” he replied. “I just don’t care.” This person had given up. He no longer cared if he lived or died. He did not exhibit courage, but just apathy and self-destructive tendencies.

The third person simply refused to go. His fear of the minefield was paralyzing. He knew he needed to get to point B. He tried to figure out how to get there without crossing the minefield, but could not come up with anything. So he simply did not go. His family was very disappointed, but he felt powerless to get to the necessary destination.

The fourth person was also very afraid, but he went anyway. Every step was a huge effort. Getting across the minefield was a horrible, harrowing experience. When he finally got to the other side, he collapsed with emotional exhaustion. It caused him to need years of counseling and it was a terrible experience, but he had made it! This man exhibited true courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving forward in spite of your fear. Where there is no fear, there can be no courage.

The fifth person strolled across the field whistling a happy tune. When he got to his destination, everyone was astonished. They asked if he knew that it was a minefield and that he could have easily been killed. He responded that he knew that. They asked him if he had a death wish or didn’t care about being blown to bits. He said that he did not have a death wish and that he in no way wanted to be killed or maimed. So how could he cross the minefield so casually?

He explained that prior to starting across the minefield, he had prayed fervently to Heavenly Father about whether he should cross the field and implored that he be protected in his efforts. A sweet, calm assurance had come over him that it would be alright. He would most likely be kept safe, but even if he wasn’t, he was in God’s hands and it would turn out for the best in the end. Based on that, he decided that he would exercise faith as he crossed the field. He would replace fear with faith. He wasn’t able to do it entirely. So he did have to exercise some courage as well. But with that, he was able to cross the field with a song in his heart and a smile on his face.

The opposite of fear is not courage. The opposite of fear is faith – faith in God, faith in your own abilities, faith in those around you, etc. Going through life can be like crossing a minefield at times. At certain times and in certain situations, we can find ourselves being like any one of the people in this story. Sometimes there is danger and risk that we’re naively unaware of. Sometimes we can be so distressed and fed up that we feel like we just don’t care anymore. There are times when our fears stop us from doing things that we know we ought to do, or even need to do. Other times, we’re able to summon our courage and push through the fear, in spite of the difficulty and even getting a few bruises and scars along the way, both physical and emotional. But of course the best way to live life is with faith. When we’re able to have faith and confidence (deep down, not just superficial), we can face our trials with quiet assurance that everything will work out, even when the trials become difficult and damaging.


(The foregoing is an expansion of an idea published in my blog 9/11/15. It can be found at