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The Risk of Failure on the Heart

I hold my fingers above the computers keys, wondering, will I have anything to say, or should I just read someone else’s book, or blog, or play.

I flip the pages of my sketchbook and remove my mechanical pencil, pause, and wonder, will the pencil marks amount to anything really good or original?

I watch the film, mentally moving the camera to a different angle and adjust the order of the storyline, as the movie plays on, I wonder-what if I put my own hand to theater only to find my work has no truth or beauty.

Would my heart be safer without dreams?

What about a world without dreams, I wonder? No dreams, only duty. No longing for anything greater than myself, just the reality of the hard and fast world in reach of my fingertips.

To dream means to hope and to hope means to risk.

As I enter a season of taking my dreams and unfurling them into the daylight, the door to my heart tries to close hard against the risk. To keep the dream a dream, nothing more.

What am I risking?

Failure.

When I type the word it’s bathed in red light, it’s reaching out to me as vivid and invasive as a 3D, high-def movie.

This nauseous pit of fear lodged somewhere between my stomach and my heart has been with me ever since I said yes to test-driving one of my dreams.  Well, the “yes” was exhilarating.  The need to vomit came about 30 minutes later.

As the day approaches, I take out my fear and I look at it again and I send a searchlight out for my dream and it’s still there, pulsing.

I think of the parable in the Bible when the character buries his talents in the ground until his master returned, thinking himself safe and wise. Imagining my dreams inside of the cool, dark earth instead of the burning light of day sounds very tempting.

Which leads me back to my original question.  Would a world without dreams be safer?

But this time a second question shoves it’s way in.

Am I called to lead a safe life?

Is a safe life an abundant life?

A world without dreams may be safe, it might protect me from rejection and heart pain.

But as I imagine this dreamless world further, I imagine a life without invention. Without beauty. Without poetry. Or stories. Without the grace that arrives when dreams die and are resurrected into a new hope that couldn’t have been born without pain.

A world without worship because a safe heart has no need to worship.

It’s a daily choice to keep walking toward the risk instead of toward the hole in the earth ready to swallow my hope as if doing me a favor.

It’s good to be both awake and dreaming.

I feel alive.

“You must once and for all give up being worried about successes or failures.  Don’t let that concern you.  It’s your duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, for failures…”

Anton Chekhov, quoted by the character David in L’engle’s Certain Women

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