When Dreams Turn To Ashes

I was only a small blonde-haired girl, sitting between my older brother and younger sister in our brown Plymouth staton wagon. Two more siblings shared the back seat with us and our youngest sister sat in the front between Mama and Daddy. We were stopped at a red light when an aqua colored Mustang breezed through the intersection in front of us. I watched it go in silence but in my mind I thought,”There will never be a prettier car than that.”

Over thirty years later my husband and I were traveling down a country road and passed a home with an old, white Ford Mustang sitting out by the road with a “For Sale” sign on it.

” Ya wanna stop?”
“Naw. ”
“Yes you do.”

I laughed. He knew my childhood dream of one day owning the prettiest car in the history of ever. So he turned the rig (18-wheeler, mind you) around and we went back to look at that ’65 ‘Stang. I sat in that drivers seat and marveled at how old it felt, from the skinny porcelain ( so it felt) steering wheel to the brittle and cracked by vinyl upholstery. There were puddles of water on the floorboards. The headliner sagged down over the narrow back seat. I smiled. I loved it! But I knew the cost of the dream would be many times more than the $2000 purchase price.

I stepped out of the little white car with red interior and smiled up at my husband who was so kindly offering to buy the car for me.

” Some things are better left in your dreams,” I said, chuckling.

I simply could not put ourselves to such an expensive restoration project, even if it was offered to me.

I regret that I have not always been so wise. Another one of my childhood dreams was to be a writer and write for a newspaper, chase stories, be the paper’s photographer, and design the layouts and ads. I thought ink flowed in my blood. Instead I was the mother of four children, so I wrote poems and short stories in longhand on lined tablet paper and sold them in small publications who lacked for writers.

The first year we homeschooled our support group took a field trip to a daily newspaper and toured the entire building. As we were standing in the newsroom where at least a half-dozen reporters busied themselves at their desks tears wanted to prick as I thought to myself”This is where I belong. “

I regret those thoughts now. I wish I had thought instead that some things are better left in your dreams. I’m embarrassed to confess that when I had cancer at 45 years of age, the one thing on my bucket list that I most regretted not having done was, not to have been a better mother, but to never have been a reporter. Only one month post-treatments, I applied for a part time job at a weekly newspaper and got it. Several years later I applied at the daily where I’d stood with such longing ten years earlier. For about four years I covered local news and government proceedings, with our political circus for amusement thrown in, for that paper. Even though I enjoyed the work I slowly stopped my dream job because I realized that my family needed me far more than the paper.

Today I wish I had thrown my life into my family while I had them. I regret that my dreams meant so much to me. I do not want to be remembered as a writer. I want to be remembered as a kind and godly mother and grandmother. I want to be among that “great cloud of witnesses,” who cheer others on from the sidelines of the spiritual racetrack! I want to make a difference in our world on my knees instead of at my computer.

Some dreams are better left in your dreams.


6 thoughts on “When Dreams Turn To Ashes

  1. This was beautifully written. And I think you are too hard on yourself, you will definitly be remembered as a wonderful & Godly mom & grandmother!!


  2. Some dreams are meant to be chased and conquered though. I’m living/working one of my dreams and although somedays I wonder why in the world I ever wanted this, and think sometimes for a second that “the grass is greener on the other side,” it is still what I believe God wants me to do in this season of life and I’m thankful I had this dream and could pursue it. And be thankful for it. Most days. 😉


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