Hold Fast

Dreams by Langston Hughes

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.

I remember having big dreams as a child: world peace, clean energy, an end to starvation, etc. Life has a way of intervening, though, and I’ve come to realize that quotidian exigencies have a way of chipping away at even the most ardent idealists.

When I look at those who have managed to hold fast to their dreams through thick and thin, I see that they have at least one thing in common: a refusal to settle. The rare men and women who hold fast to dreams don’t, to borrow imagery from the science-fiction action film, The Matrix, turn their backs on their highest vision for a steak or let themselves be distracted by the woman in red.

The world is full of distractions, all of which constrain to a failed commission. To refuse to be distracted does not require that you eschew all pleasure, as the ascetics would have you believe, but holding fast to your dreams does require that you square every choice you make back to your sense of commission, your purpose.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

3 thoughts on “Hold Fast

  • The dreams we have in sleep are often confused mixtures of past, present, likely and unlikely events, reality and unreality. When one speaks of having a dream in the sense of a vision, there is likely also to be a mixture – something absolutely real and vital clothed in a mixed bag of images and expectations.

    As we mature, our vision should mature also, allowing for unrealistic expectations to drop away naturally without the loss of the central essence of vision that was there all along. Rather than being disillusioned and dismayed by this maturing process, it should allow us to become increasingly focused on the core of the issue.

    Your posts provide solid compass headings for navigating this process and fulfilling the vision at each of our cores!

  • I too had the adolescent dreams of a peaceful world where no one went hungry. I’ve never abandoned those ideals. I have realized it was on one hand more complex and on the other, far more simple. I love your articulation of the simplicity we are each responsible for,” square every choice you make back to your sense of commission, your purpose”. You really can do no more or less .

  • The Matrix was actually a good lesson for those that have a dream that they refuse to give up. You do learn a few things between the idealism of childhood and adulthood, but there is still an essence of truth to those dreams that we all had. There is something in there that needs to grow and mature, but in the end it is still that same dream that was there at the beginning; it is now just a mature and complete thing.

    Squaring your decisions to your dreams requires courage sometimes, but in the end it is so worth it.

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