When I was a child, my family went camping quite often. I grew up on an island as many of you know, and so camping for us did not involve going up to the mountains in a tent, roasting marshmallows, or enjoying the quiet and solitude of the beautiful forest. For us camping involved the beach, fire pits, plenty of comida criolla (local food), and several family and friends loudly singing and chatting through the night. My sisters and I spent most of our time in the water during the day (and sometimes even at night, pre-Jaws of course!) until our skin became like a prune, sunburnt or exhausted from too much fun with the waves.
I remember the nights were filled with laughter and music, and sometimes, my sisters and I would go for long walks with our cousins and friends. There, we would engage in conversations, and games. Sometimes we would lay on the cool sand and look up at the sky to try and find animal shapes in the stars. There were nights when we would go just far enough from the camp, where you could still hear our group singing and laughing in the distance, but close enough to the waves, the wind, and the singing of the coqui frog to know you were in the right spot. Mornings and afternoons were scorching hot, but the nights were cool enough to wear a light sweater. Laying there in the cold sand, wearing our bikini bottoms and sweaters, we tried to decipher hidden messages in the stars. I’m pretty sure that is when I started dreaming…
Sometimes, I talked to the invisible God I did not yet know. I would ask him questions, and share my crazy dreams. What did I dream of? Well, I dreamt I was riding a big dragon in the sky, or picking up flowers while performing my favorite song as if I was in a cool music video. You know, the typical kid stuff. Sometimes, I would go on these walks by myself and make up songs, and poems. The thing is, in my dreams, I was already a famous writer, singer, model, and just about anything or anyone I wanted to be. And what about God? Well he was a distant giant, with a shiny robe, and a long-white beard, of course! The sky was the limit to my imagination, but in my world, that sky was limitless. Then, (as it should be) I grew up, and soon the dreams were left buried in the sand, and hidden somewhere in the great sky. I simply got too busy to dream anymore.
Adulthood taught me much about joy and pain, and plenty about sorrow and shame. I’m sure you can relate. I’m often reminded of the innocence of the younger years; the dreaming, the wishing, the pretending…Somedays, when I feel stressed, lonely, or sad, I still walk outside and look up, wondering if maybe I get lucky and catch another ride on a dragon, or perhaps a faded memory that will make me smile and forget all my troubles. Do you know what I am talking about? Do you remember having some sort of childhood fantasy about amazing things you hoped were real? Do you still dream like that? See, when you grow up, there is plenty of real life hitting you from all sides. Growing up is hard, and unfortunately for us, letting go of the wonder is much easier.
Friends, when you stop dreaming, you lose yourself in the negativity of whatever life throws at you. When you stop searching for the invisible God, you give yourself to anything and anyone that comes your way, only to end up broken and used up. I’m not saying we need to escape or run away from our problems. Instead, in the midst of our struggles, we should continue to take walks and look up at the sky. We need to continue the search for hidden messages that can provide revelation; for that invisible God to become more than an imaginary friend. So, if you have not done so yet, I would encourage you to take time to breathe deeply and lose yourself in wonder. It’s good medicine for the soul.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.-Psalm 19:1