On Being A Dreamer

* * *

DREAMS

by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

* * *

I remember reading this poem as a teenager. My mother had this book of great literature and poetry that sat around the house, and I frequently looked at it. It had short stories like Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” and Edgar Allen Poe’s classic “The Raven.” And while those two are legendary in their own right, it’s been Hughes’s poem that I keep in my head and my heart.

I love every word of it. I think it speaks beautifully to our dreams, and that when we let go of them, we can allow a part of us to die along with those dreams.

I’ve had a pretty amazing year so far, from launching “Beneath the Mimosa Tree,” to speaking at Baccalaureate, to working with a great bunch of colleagues and students, to loving my friends and family for their constant support, to watching my kids grow in school and enjoy their sports, to taking a much needed vacation with my husband at a fabulous resort in Florida for our anniversary. I’m sure many of you have a list of things to be thankful for, as well. In the day-to-day rush of our society, sometimes we can forget to look at the small–as well as the big–things we are thankful for.

I’m tremendously thankful for everything, but I also believe this: I’ve never let go of my dreams, and continue to pursue them each and every day, thanks to a little encouragement that came many years ago in the form of a short poem by Langston Hughes. It’s amazing how eight short lines of words can stick with you. Sure, you’ve got to work hard, but isn’t that part of what dreaming is all about? Setting goals for yourself and trying like hell to achieve them?

As the writer C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

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