Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dreams and Surprises

our favorite place

There are a lot of things we've wanted for our family life that we've gotten to have. Sometimes when I look at what has happened in the past five years alone, I can hardly believe it. So much of what we wanted and needed has been given to us, but even more than that, dreams we've had have come true. I don't mean for that to sound like a Disney movie. It's not like we didn't have to work for the things we've gotten or that it was somehow instantaneous and effortless. In fact, some things took a long time to come around before they completely took us by surprise. But they've always taken us by surprise; that's pretty much a given.

Our move to London is one of those things, getting out of debt is another, bringing E into our family is still another. None of these dreams came true without sacrifice and hard work, and yet there was also a sense of the timing of our life being just right for each thing. There was so much that was out of our control in each situation, and yet we set our intentions and moved (sometimes quite feebly, maybe falling down every few steps) in the direction of what we believed was the right thing for our family. There was a sense of knowing that each thing was the next thing to pursue. But there was also a sense of not holding on too tightly to our hopes, of understanding that we had a lot less control over things than we imagined.

I have a habit of trying to micro-manage aspects of my life which really can't be micro-managed. Our dreams and goals as a family are no exception. While there are some things I can do to work toward a dream or goal, mostly I've found that the realization of those things is a surprise. It never comes to pass the way I would have planned it, and I'm learning to be grateful for that. I'm learning to trust in the process. I'm learning to be open to being surprised by the method of getting from Point A to Point B. This has been uncomfortable for me, but ultimately, very good for me as well.

Sometimes the process of realizing a dream has been humbling and painful. Nobody ever wishes for that, or at least I don't. But I've learned the most in those processes, about not knowing anyone's whole story, about reserving judgment, about how friends will hold you up when you feel embarrassed and small. I am as grateful for those lessons as I am for the beautiful surprises of our family life.

There are several things we are dreaming about now. We've spent a year on the last big dream, our big move, and now we are settled here in London. I feel like it is time to dream again, to point our feet in the direction of things we believe are right for our family and then watch how life unfolds. I really have no clue how it will all work out. Some things will likely turn out differently than I imagined they would.

These things we want feel like very big things suddenly, though I envisioned before that I could make some of them happen without the usual meanderings of our path. When we moved here, I had an idea of when each of the things we currently hope for should occur and how I would plan (or, ahem, micro-manage the process) to get them. Like every other time I've tried to do the same, my efforts have fallen flat. I have work to do to meet these goals, but they're not going to be rushed. I need to take the long view, which is also the unknown view and the hopeful view in many ways.

And so I sit in our quiet house and look at a photo of my girls on a magical evening in one of our favorite places in the whole world. I smile to myself, knowing that however these next things come to pass, it will be a glorious surprise. I know that in the meantime, it is right to be grateful for all we have, to keep working slowly and steadily toward our goals, and to rest a little, too. If the past is any indication of the future, the hard work to get these things will come in due time. It will come suddenly and without much warning at all. I will be ready. I am sure of it.

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