Learning to Dream

July 15 | 27 days to go

I’ve heard before and was reminded of this truth in the last few days: “When you are surviving, you cannot dream”.

I am taken back to those days following the placement of my heart stent, where there were no dreams, focus was on survival, my view could not extend beyond my current circumstances. I am taken back to those days, weeks and months of cancer. From the first MRI, to the brain surgery, to the radiation and to the chemotherapy; nearly all thoughts surrounded getting through the current challenges, overcoming the obstacles immediately in front of us. We were unable to dream, even though we had two beautiful girls, precious and perfectly aged (1 and 3 at the time) to dream about, plan a future for and hope for how their lives would unravel into an adventure of joy. The mere act of survival, the focus required to work hard, overcome, and learn to become healthy overwhelms the space to dream. And that is ok.

Despite the possible negative connotation to the phrase, the truth is that although dreaming is not possible while you are surviving, you are not supposed to dream all the time. It comes as no surprise, that dreams are reserved for times of rest. In “normal life”, we are not expected to dream all day long, life’s design allows for dreaming during times of sleep, introspection, reflection and meditation. So when we are surviving we are not supposed to dream, we are supposed to focus, work hard and learn ways to heal, so that after the survival exists opportunities to dream.

In my story, it is the same, my survival was focused, infused with hard work and dedication along with vast amounts of learning. Learning to be healthy, learning to use my hands to their fullest, learning to walk without pain, learning to tell the difference between scars and healing. And after that, became the time to dream. It was during my time at cardiac rehab, after the survival was over, that I was able to dream. It was during the first visit to oncology exercise that I was had so much atrophy and weakness in my legs, I couldn’t walk 100 yards without pain and anguish, but I kept learning. I worked hard to embody the phrase my friends repeated “Exercise is medicine”, and I worked to heal. Then, as the strength built, as the learning sunk in, as the healing began, as the confidence built, the dreams returned. This time the dreams came back, but not as dreams are sometimes thought of as “I wish I could…” or “One day I want to…”, but with true conviction.

“I will run again, I dreamed. I will help people, I dreamed. I will be strong, I dreamed. I will share my journey, I dreamed. I will teach my girls about love, hope, strength, gratitude and grace, I dreamed.”

And once the dreaming returns, comes the opportunity to do the work necessary to transform these visions into reality. Yesterday, I rode with the sunrise, and ran with the mid-morning heat, 30 miles on the bike and a 4.5 mile run.

Bike at Sunrise (1) Bike at Sunrise (4) Bike at Sunrise (3)

27 days to go until a dream becomes realized. While its’ true, you cannot dream while you are surviving, if you are blessed enough to survive, in time comes healing and the space to dream. As I continue to work towards this big dream, I am reminded of why I am doing all of this in the first place. To run, to help, to be strong, to share, and to teach. For them…

Bike at Sunrise (2)

I race for the gratitude and grace foundation, if you wish to support the effort, you can donate here.

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