Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Old Dreams, New Dreams

One of the difficult things is being in the house where I had so many dreams when I was married. When I first moved in, anyway. By the time I left, those dreams were long shattered. Still, it hurts to see the house as it is now and even the garden gone—buried under weeds and tall grass.

It is difficult, too, seeing my son as he is now and remembering both my dreams and my fears for him when he was born and we found out he had Down syndrome. I see in his behavior echoes of his father. And I see a distinct personality all his own. I ache that I cannot make the world right for him— or him for the world. I ache that there are no magic answers, that I cannot create miracles to make his path easier.

But I cannot. He is turning 30 soon and I know that I cannot change what is.

I go back home tomorrow. There is both relief and fear and worry in leaving now. There is frustration, too. Not just because of the situation with my son, but because there were friends I hoped to see and cannot this time. Again. Too much time, too much energy spent just trying to cope with what had to be done and schedules that just couldn’t mesh with mine.

There is nothing easy about coming face to face with the loss of hopes and dreams once held so dear.

At the same time, even through the sadness I feel, there is profound gratitude that I am visiting and not trapped in the chaos here—as I once was. There is profound gratitude that even in this short visit I have begun rewriting relationships that were not working well. There is relief in knowing I go back to a place I love with people waiting who clearly value me.

There is more than a little pride, too, in having faced these fears, in having found myself in conversations that echoed past conversations and been able—this time!—to sidestep the role laid out for me and suggest better ones for all of us. There is comfort in knowing I have not acted out of anger or revenge or pettiness.

There is comfort in knowing that NOW I value my dreams and needs and hopes and strengths. Now I can walk into situations that would have intimidated me a few years ago and know I can handle them. There is pleasure in seeing and hearing respect from people and realizing that a few years ago I would not have perceived that respect even if it had been there.

I tell you all of this, clumsily fumbling for the right words to convey the depth of what I feel because I know that so many of you out there may feel as trapped as I once did and believe there is no way out, no real chance for change. I want somehow to share with you that there is always hope and that profound changes can take place. I want to somehow let you see that one doesn’t have to be afraid of the emotions that can accompany profound changes—that with the sadness can be very real joy as well.

As difficult as this week has been—and I don’t know how to put into words all the shades of significance this journey has had for me—I am so glad I made it. I am so grateful for the challenges that helped me to see my strengths and that (some) relationships can be rewritten and that yet again I am finding people may perceive me far more favorably than I expect. (I have been deep in the heart, after all, of my ex-husband’s territory—social, religious, and geographic.)

I know that until my plane takes off late tomorrow afternoon a part of me will whisper I should stay longer. Another, wiser part will remind me of what good—for all of us—may yet come out of my having to leave.

Change can bring wrenching emotions. Those are not necessarily bad things. Letting go of what doesn’t serve us opens the way for new good to enter our lives. What once scared or overwhelmed us does not always have to do so. Letting go of old dreams can open the doorway for new and better dreams, dreams that a few short years ago we may not even have known how to dream.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


jumpinginpuddles said...

we are so pleased for some the journey you are making and also we know the heart wretchedness of trying to do it, you are such an encouragement april :)

April_optimist said...

Thank you, Jumping in Puddles.