What Do You Do When Your Dreams Die

dead-stump-new-tree-sprout

As I walked across the porch, down the steps and jumped into the car, no one knew that I’d just watched my dreams die.

No one knew my heart was shredded and dragging in long fragile strips behind me.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I would say that I felt like no one cared either, but feelings and truth don’t necessarily match. I knew my feelings weren’t the truth.

But I was up early, too early really, and my thoughts turned to that exact day a year earlier. I remembered the pain and hurt of that day and I was determined that history would NOT repeat itself.

The smile on my face, and the care and attention to detail for my client, belied the “death of a dream day”.

The car was moving so my photo was blurry, but the dead stump and new tree sprout caught my eye.

Because what to you do when dreams die?

I’ve heard it a lot. Chase your dreams. Never let your dreams die. A dream without a plan is just a wish…

But dreams really do die in many ways.

Sometimes life just smacks you upside the head and POOF…the opportunity is gone. No matter how hard you work OR PLAN.

And then people say, “Why are you chasing that dream? Just let it go.”

I don’t even pretend to know why we pursue the things we do.

I don’t know why we hold on…or let go…

In my life, the times I’ve let go of a dream, felt like I was loosing faith and trust.

And I felt grief, and didn’t understand my feelings and didn’t feel justified in what I WAS feeling…my loss, my grief seemed insignificant to the ones looking down on me.

But I’ve learned that every one of us experiences life in our own unique way. Two people sharing common experiences can have opposite reactions.

So what do you do when your dream dies?

  1. Acknowledge your circumstances. Admit where you are emotionally, spiritually and physically.
  2. Look for ways to find laughter and joy. Search for it. It may be hard to find ways to laugh. Laughter isn’t saying you aren’t hurting. Laughter is finding humor in your current moment. Laughter provides great chemicals for your whole body. Mayo Clinic provided this information.
  3. Realize that the pain you are walking through will serve a greater purpose. Find a cause that needs you. I wrote about another way to find a cause here. Something new will come from your circumstances if you allow it. Keep your eyes open for a new path!

I was contemplating all these things:

is it ok to let a dream die?

why do we have dreams?

What do you do when your dreams die…

how long do we wait before we just give up on a dream?

And then I saw this old dead stump with a fresh green tree sprout…

and I thought to myself, “Give up?…Apparently never!”

What do you do when your dreams die?

Or has that ever happened to you?

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16 thoughts on “What Do You Do When Your Dreams Die”

  1. YES.
    I am thinking when our dreams die….it can take a very long time for our heart and emotions to heal so the soul/soil can become strong and healthy to be able for new dreams and hopes to grow. I think you will always wounder how your dream would have turned out if it hadn’t died.
    Love the picture, it shows new life can come from what once was.
    Have a blessed day.

  2. Wendell Berry touches on the grief of the past when he writes, “The old…I think of now as sort of a picture puzzle. It was not an altogether satisfactory picture. It always required some forgiveness, for things that of course could be forgiven. …The new grave contained a necessary and forever finished part of the old life. The new life seems to be composed of pieces of several different puzzles never completed.”

    1. Yes!!! I agree Kathryn. I look for ways for our family to laugh together when we are in a difficult time.

  3. Recently, one of our dreams was placed on a very big “hold!” But, I do believe it was placed in this situation for a purpose!! Hopefully we will find a new path!! My faith is strong and I do believe circumstances happen for a reason. I know something better will come from this. Thank you Rachel for making me feel pertinent once again. I was lost only for a moment!!

    Gail Snodgrass
    gsnodgrass@bluemarble.net

    1. Gail, I am so glad that this helped you to find hope. It’s true, many times, delays or lost dreams open the door to better things.

  4. What a great and gentle way to share this information. I am printing this to save for when my children are older to share with them💕

    1. Abigail, I am so happy that you found this helpful. It’s true that sometimes it’s difficult for our children to process that life can knock us really hard.

    1. Thank you so much Michele. Yes, we are never too old to dream new dreams, no matter how hard it has been.

  5. I had to say goodbye to my dream of being a teacher several years ago. Things were not working out for me and to safe guard my own mental health, I had to resign my teaching job. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was in the fourth grade.
    I am not fortunate enough that we homeschool – so I am still teaching – and I blog – so I can share my love of history with others.
    Saying goodbye to my dream of being a teacher – that was hard and still hits me some days.

    1. Kristen, I am so sorry that you had to resign your teaching job. I hope that a new little green sprout of dreams will spring up and you will feel fulfilled.

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