By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
Recently I enjoyed watching the Disney movie of Cinderella, one of my favorites. I had not seen it for years and yet I found that I even remembered the words to some of, well, most of the songs, singing along with Cinderella and her friends, the mice. One of my favorites goes this way:
A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you’re fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true.
I have always been intrigued by stories, both true life and fiction, of the American Indians in the early days of civilization. Many Indian stories tell about the power of dreams, especially those we read about of the dream quests of young men seeking revelation about their future. They go off alone, usually to a mountaintop and spend days fasting and praying until they have a dream or vision. The animal that appears in the dream becomes their totem, or guiding spirit. They then take time to learn about the habits and traits of their totem animal to be able to apply them to their own lives. This experience helps them undertake their journey through life.
Then there are the dream stealers, those people who try to destroy the dreams of others. How do they do this? By belittling both the dreamer and his dream, by making fun of the other’s totem, by ridiculing and questioning everything the dreamer attempts to do. By planting doubts and fears in the mind of the dreamer.
Should we believe in dreams? Yes, as long as the dreamer has prepared himself for the dream, in prayer, discernment, and when indicated, with fasting to ensure that the dream comes only from the Source of All Good. Fleeting dreams that appear in the night without any preparation of the dreamer to receive the dream usually don’t have much meaning, or are meant to shed light on a happening in one’s past, or are experienced as a way to relieve inner tension and stress. Dark dreams should never be entertained.
Jun and I often remark that we are a couple of dreamers. I am talking here about the dreams sent by God that begin as an inspired vision or a vague idea, and as time passes, and as we prepare ourselves to embrace this dream in faith, it then becomes our goal, our mission in life. Jun dreamed of his activated carbon plant in Alaminos, Laguna, even before he acquired it; he took it as a message from God that the purchase was approved even though we didn’t have the funds, and the funds were almost miraculously provided. I dreamed of the house where we are now living nine months before I was even aware that the house existed. And these are only a few of our dreams that have become living realities.
Dreamers and visionaries know how important a dream is. It is what keeps them going even during impossible situations and trying times, it is the fire that lights up their lives, it is the wind beneath their wings. They dream to improve their lives and help make the lives of others better. They believe! The little mice in Disney’s Cinderella didn’t give in to despair when Cinderella was unable to have the time to make over her dress into a gown for the ball; they embraced her dream as their own and banded together to make it happen. A dreamer sees opportunities in every problem, challenges to grow stronger in faith in every difficulty. Dreamers are enthusiastic and optimistic, joyful and excited about the tomorrows, as they make the best they can out of their todays. They are achievers.
Dream stealers hide behind many masks, they delight in deceit and can see problems in every situation. Just remember the machinations of Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and stepsisters! Dream stealers are imbued with “crab mentality”, hating to see others become successful, trying to pull others down even while they try to pull themselves up. They are pessimistic and see the worst of every situation. Every challenge to improve themselves is viewed as an insurmountable problem. Envy, greed, doubt, fear and insecurity characterize the dream stealer.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I a dreamer? Or, am I a dream stealer?