Hopes vs. Dreams

As I was driving to work today, I mulled over the difference between hopes and dreams. That brought to mind a favorite Langston Hughes poem:

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.

~Langston Hughes

To me, to hope for something means to live with the expectancy that it might happen. I do what I can to ensure that my hopes turn into reality. But when you get down to it, you can’t guarantee that your hopes will come true. You just have to live as though you believe they will.

Here are some of my hopes:

I hope my children will grow into well-adjusted, happy adults.

I hope I will be healthy enough when I retire to enjoy traveling and other fun pursuits.

I hope I get to retire.

I hope my husband lives a long time and that we get to enjoy many more years together.

I hope that after this life I will spend eternity with Jesus. I hope I will see my mom, my aunts, my friends, my grandparents, and other people I have loved and lost…and that we will know one another and enjoy being together again.

I hope there will be animals in heaven. I can’t imagine heaven without them.

I hope that the political rancor that is taking place in America settles down soon and we are able to have civil conversations again.

I hope that in the next few years we will see peace in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East.

I hope that people who are hungry will live to see the day that they have enough food. And that they will find employment if they are without jobs, and homes if they are homeless.

I hope that I will do something to be part of the solution to many of our society’s problems.

I hope that I will keep my faith and live a Christlike life.

Okay, I have other hopes, but this is getting long. Now on to dreams . . .

Dreams seem to be the stuff we live for. Many of my dreams have already come true—

I married a man I love, and we were blessed with two healthy, independent-minded, compassionate children.

I am lucky to be paid to do what I love, and I get to work with some fantastic people.

I am blessed with friends, some who have known me since I was a teenager.

Some dreams that I have:

To get out of debt (maybe I should classify this as a hope, since we are actively working toward this goal)

To travel to Italy and to the British Isles

To take some extended road trips in the U.S.—to New England in the fall, to Wisconsin in summertime, to the Grand Canyon again in my lifetime, to San Francisco, and back to Oregon to spend some time with my sister-in-law and cousins

Hmmm….I can’t really think of many dreams right now. Maybe it’s because my energy level is low today. One dream I have is to enjoy good health as long as I can. I’ve had some health challenges since age 30, and I do not take a good day for granted. I have an autoimmune disorder, and I feel blessed to have days when I feel energetic and have enough steam to get my house cleaned, or at least partially cleaned, to my satisfaction. In some ways my condition has been a blessing because it has reminded me of the brevity of life and that I need to spend time focusing on things that are worth the effort, and let go of the rest.

Oh yes, I dream to be able to do some challenging yoga poses. For now I would settle for being able to stay in downward dog long enough to be able to do “down dog splits,” bring my knee into my chest, and hop forward until my foot reaches one of my hands. I am setting my mind and determination on accomplishing that goal in the next few weeks.





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