Sometimes when you go for big dreams, they have to die first. Here’s my personal story of going for a dream, letting it die and resurrecting the dream.
A Decision for a Better Life
In August of 2011, life was good, my business was thriving, but I was not happy in my personal life. My marriage was completely disconnected and I had gained weight and was tired much of the time. On a ride home from a beach vacation, I made a decision that my life would change. The moment I made the decision, an inspired vision entered my mind of the life I would have instead. It came with such clarity that it propelled me into action.
Catching the Vision
I saw myself in a loving, connected relationship with a high energy man. We would travel together, share a love for nature, and work, teach and speak alongside each other. We would fix up my home and property, and create a place that was self-sustainable, a haven of hope, healing and refuge for those who needed it. While this vision came from somewhere outside of me (I believe from God) it was also something that pointed to the core desires of my heart.
I had always wanted to turn my home into a retreat house once the kids were grown and had lots of ideas for ways to fix it up. My family was well-aware of my ideas for home improvements, but I shared with no one the vision of the place of refuge our 7 acre property would be. I had both night dreams and daytime visions of this.
Taking Responsibility for My Own Life
Since my husband at the time enjoyed traveling, I thought he might be this person… that he might change his ways, that we might be able to reconnect, and that the life I envisioned might happen with him. I doubted it, but I certainly was not going to rule that out.
I knew I couldn’t control my husband, but I could control me. I didn’t have the energy to keep up with who and what I envisioned. I needed to get in shape, get healthier and work on myself. I thought perhaps if I did these things, my husband would follow suit.
Within a month or two I was going to the gym on a regular basis and eventually dropped at least 50 pounds over the course of the next few years. I paid for my husband to get some medical help with his weight, but that only lasted a few weeks before he lost interest. My vision was not his vision.
While I journaled much of what I envisioned, even more of it was in my mind… and none of the grand vision for the property got shared with anyone else.
When things did not work out in my first marriage, I fully anticipated entering the dating world and finding the “dream man” I had seen repeatedly in visions beginning with the first one in 2011. I had this feeling he was out there waiting for me and that we would find each other soon.
Man after man became a candidate. I met men with certain aspects of what I envisioned, but never all of them. None of them seemed interested in my property or what I anticipated doing with it. While I never shared all of my vision with them, there were a few I told about my desire to turn my home into a retreat house.
Settling for Less than the Vision
Every man I was with wanted me to move from my property. Finally, I gave up on my dream. I decided what I wanted most was a connected relationship with a good, honest, hard-working man. Everything else I could let go. My heart had been hammered during the dating process, and I just wanted some peace.
I had a personal knowing that I couldn’t fully be who I am here to be until I wasn’t a single ox hauling a cart, but worked in synergistic tandem with a partner. That’s not true for everyone, but it was true for me. I’m a headstrong woman, and I’ve paved my own way for decades. So this wasn’t neediness or dependence on my part. It was an inner knowing that would not go away.
The Death of the Dream
The problem was, in all my dating, I forgot my vision. I gave up on it and assumed it was only my silly imagination. I lowered my expectations. The exceptional life I had been shown got replaced in my expectations with a desire for a decent, peaceful life with someone who would be good to me and wouldn’t make me carry the load all by myself.
I remarried with this dimmed-down objective in mind. I didn’t worry if the man I married caught my vision or even cared about it. When he insisted we move away from my home and property, I reluctantly relinquished my vision and let it die. The vision was wrapped up in the property, and now the best I could envision was perhaps retiring to the beach with my second husband someday, since we both liked the beach.
After about 18 months of marriage, he had the courage to do what I should have known to do — get out. We were two people who did not have a shared vision or objective. I may have given up on my dream, but God had not. Sometimes I think my second husband was inspired to end the marriage — a radical idea — but I cannot deny the miracle of the timing.
I eventually thanked my second husband for ending our marriage. He was a blessing while he was in my life and he was an even greater blessing in letting me go. I was not supposed to travel that path anymore.
Resurrecting the Dream
Not even a month after my divorce was final, I met a man who loves traveling, shared my vision for doing writer retreats, is in a similar line of work as me and shares my faith.
The first day this man stepped on the property that I had given up on, he articulated the identical vision that I had in my head — without me ever telling him anything. I was so floored by his vision of the property as a place of healing, refuge and hope, I broke down and wept. I could not believe my ears.
In time, after dating for several months, this man asked me to marry him. My answer was an enthusiastic, “Yes, hell YES!” I could not begin to deny he was the man I had seen coming. I had contorted and tried to make every other man fit into the vision. There is no need to make this man fit. He IS the vision. He proves it constantly by his actions and continual investment in me and our goals.
Currently, we are working together toward our shared vision for the property. We are both headstrong people with different ideas about what that should look like. At first I was stuck in my ideas about how the house and property used to be (in better days), whereas he has ideas about what it can be. I got frustrated because things were run down and overgrown. He sees it as a blank canvas to create upon.
Together we are co-creating a new shared vision. While the overall objective is the same, the details (which I never really saw) are something we’re co-creating together. The great thing is he is talented with landscaping, natural habitat creation (his father was a forest ranger), and he loves to bargain hunt and find the best buys on everything from flooring to furniture.
As a woman who has spent her life in the driver’s seat, it’s a new (and sometimes challenging) experience co-creating with a companion. Fortunately our communication is exceptional, and we are willing to have the hard conversations (something that did not happen in my prior marriages). I have great hope that two strong people with a shared vision (which we both believe comes from God), a deep love and respect for each other, a desire to stay close to the Lord, and open communication can forge ahead and make big dreams a reality.
The great thing is we’re doing it… we’re in the thick of the weeds doing it… and the vision is there … unfolding as we go.
The song “I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You” by Savage Garden sums it up …
More than a little crazy
But I believe
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life
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