grieving a dream
You’ve been there. You have this idea about the future that feels so right, you can’t imagine a different outcome. Maybe it’s a relationship or a career or a plan to bring more children into you family or a future with physical or mental health.
It’s a dream but - in little (or even big) ways - you see this future becoming a reality. You pray about it and feel God telling you to move forward. It feels all but within grasp - or maybe it even IS within grasp. It’s there for the taking.
And then it’s not.
For one reason or another, the future you imagined doesn’t come to fruition.
Ooph. It’s hard.
Loss of a not-yet-realized dream is real. And as much as I like to skip over my feelings, grief is a process and it requires my participation.
The grief I’m working through just now is this. The loss of a dream and an imagined future that I thought was meant to be.
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I’m a homeschooling mom wannabe. I’ve had this title for a long time now, but I thought by today - by the time I had a first grader and a preschooler - that I would have removed the “wannabe” part and just been a homeschooling mom. But it is not to be. At least not just now.
Sam is in first grade and loves it. Eli is more and more ready to join him at school each day - and next fall he will. A couple years later, Maggie will join her brothers and there will be a veritable Petermann tribe at our neighborhood elementary.
For a variety of reasons, this is the reality.
This isn’t the deepest of my “lost dreams” griefs. I’ve been through this before and some of my previous experiences have cut much closer to my heart, but this is perhaps the longest held hope that I’ve later had to see pass by me.
I teeter on the edge of embarrassment when I think of how many people I’ve told my plan to homeschool my kids and the fact that I now have to eat my words. I like to be a person who follows through on her plans. I feel like I am somehow failing in not going forward with the plan. Part of me also fears that people will think that I didn’t follow through because I decided that it is in some way a poor choice. This is about as far from the case as can be.
I strongly believe that both the longing and the calling to this dream were from God and served some purpose that I don’t yet see. I have to continually remind myself that I may never know the reason. I don’t know why God put this longing in my heart and then didn’t see it to fruition, but I trust that there was a reason. And I have confidence that he’s looking out for what’s best for our family.
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As seems to be the theme of things around here, even though I don’t understand the why, I have a very strong sense of peace about this decision.
I’ve thought and worried and prayed about this for many years now - sometimes more fervently than others. I finally gave up the worrying and just let it rest with God. By that I mean literal prayers of “God, I don’t want to worry about this anymore. Show me the way and give me peace about the decision.” And with that, he has so graciously given me rest.
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I’m still grieving that it isn’t to be. A part of my heart still wants it. It is the dream that I saw for our family and I am still in the midst of rerouting my brain to create a new picture of our family reality - both in the here and now and also as I look into the future.
But with the mercy of peace, this is not a tumultuous kind of grief. It is more of a reworking and a reframing and really just an effort to find my new place in the parenting and schooling world.
Oh, my God is good.
I look back on those past lost dreams and I see the way he so beautifully weaved one plan and hope into something new. I see the way he taught my heart how to love in new and better and deeper ways. I see how the hope, followed by the trust built my spiritual maturity and built my life into something richer than I could have imagined for myself.
I pray that you too can find God’s gift of peace that goes beyond what makes sense to our human hearts and minds. I pray that you can find hope in the future and confidence that all things work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
He has the bigger perspective and the better plan and all he asks of us is to talk to him and to trust in his all-seeing and all-knowing ways.