What do you do when your future disappears? Fortunately, Bill and I tried to live every day fully. We were blessed with lots of fantastic days and looked forward to many more. Bill looked forward to retiring sooner rather than later so he could travel with me and work with me. He loved church work as much as I do and was ready to use his energy doing that even more than he did.
We bought a place on Tybee Island where we could walk on the beach on our days off. We drove less expensive cars, only bought something if it was deeply discounted, and counted our pennies so we would have the money we needed when he retired and I slowed down to only one full-time job. We already had decided on the next phase of our lives when we learned he had stage four cancer. Of course, he was gone seven months later and with him all my dreams for the future.
Today, I have no idea what the future holds. It is amazing how many people are in the same situation. Fortunately, most of them haven’t had their life-partner die, but things seldom go as planned for anyone. Your company is sold, your business goes under, the person who owes you money or the place you invested in defaults, or the world simply changes and your dreams seem to evaporate like the morning mist. Millennials, faced with the rapid rate of change in our world, are finding it hard even to formulate goals or dreams.
I’d like to be able to share with you what I’ve learned about this and advise you on how to handle it or prepare for it. The harsh truth is, if my experience is anything to go on, you can’t. Life never goes as planned. Seldom does a dream come true in the way you hoped. Even those whose dreams come true often find themselves disappointed, or bored, or cynical without anything to work for.
So, I don’t have any dreams anymore. As a life-long goal-setter, this is frustrating and a little disconcerting. Perhaps dreams yet will rise, or, without my dream-man, perhaps they will not. Either way, I’m resolved to follow John Wesley’s advice and, “Do all the good I can, in all the ways I can, in every place I can, at all the times I can, with all the zeal I can, as long as ever I can.”
Rev. Michael Piazza