Our dreams are our own. They are something in our lives, that cannot be modified by someone else’s will. No dreams are too big or too small. People might tell you, that your dreams are unrealistic and seemingly impossible. It’s your choice, if you want to believe in what they say. With time, I have realised the value of dreams in my life, and the lives of many others. Every journey of a thousand steps started with a single footstep, every great legend was born from a dream. Just like sunlight, water, fertilisers and soil are the requirements for a plant to grow, dreams are necessary for our development.
Gillian McDermott was sobbing, silently. Her eyes were puffy, and she was breaking from the inside. She had lost her mother to cancer, and her world had shattered. She made herself believe, that with her mother, some part of her had died to. The part that helped her feel. She felt numb and emotionless. Pear-shaped tears made their way from her tired eyes to her chin. She didn’t flinch even once. She was lost in a hole- the memories kept coming back. Her mom braiding her hair, careful not to leave any strands untucked. The way her mother’s warm hands drove any fear away. The memories were all happy ones, but could she smile; thinking back?
She distinctly remembered one summer day, spent at her grandfather’s ranch. She was stroking her favourite pony’s long neck, and was smiling at her mom, who was sitting outside a small wooden cabin, sipping coffee. She ran back to her mom, her favourite pink sneakers brushing against the soft grass. She reached the cabin, and sat down with her mother, on the cane armchair. She was panting, but what she wanted to say was more vital than how tired she was, after running to her mom. ‘I love it, around here!’ Gillian’s mother warmly smiled. ‘I know that, sweetie. It’s so nice coming here.’
Gillian smiled, as her mom tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
‘I want to buy a ranch for you and dad, someday when I’m older!’
‘Aw honey, of course. If you can dream it, you can do it!’
Gillian smiled. This was probably one of her earliest dreams. The one thing she wanted so bad, above everything else. Her mother had taught her the value of dreams. ‘If you want it, you gotta work for it’, she would say. Maybe this prompted Gillian to go on to accomplish so many of her goals.
The next vivid memory was her sitting with her mom, on her bed. It was a month before her first big test at school. She was anxious, but she also wanted a good grade.
‘Mom’, she said. ‘I have a test at school, next month.’
‘Yeah. I want to get an A+’
‘Of course you can. Just remember what I’d told you.’
‘If you can dream it, you can do it,’ They both said together, and exchanged smiles.
A couple of years later, her Mom came into her room, one sunny day. She was holding two glass jars in her hands, and sat down beside Gillian.
‘What’s that?’ said Gillian, pointing at the jars.
‘Oh these? These are the dream jars.’
‘The DREAM jars?’
Alma smiled. ‘Yeah. Whenever you have a dream, just write it down on a piece of paper. Put it inside the jar, and work hard till you achieve your goals, and get what you want.’
‘Sounds great!’, said Gillian cheerfully. She was a sensible girl, and did not wish for impractical things to happen.
Over the course of the year, she wrote down everything that she wanted to achieve. A good academic record, Being the president of the drama club, Keeping her parents happy, and buying a house on a hill, when she would be older.
Slowly, the jar became full. She would keep writing, and keep achieving all that she wanted. Her mother had taught her that no dream was too big. You just have to believe in yourself.
In seventh grade, she wanted to go to Spain, as a part of the yearly student exchange program. She wrote that down and put it inside the jar. She worked hard throughout the year- she was a part of the Spanish musical, wrote poems in Spanish, and even aced all the tests. Sure enough, she had achieved what she had desired.
As an individual, you have to believe that you have the power and capacity to achieve all that you want. You just have to channel your thoughts and energy in the right direction. You might try as hard as you want, but your’e never going to get what you want, if you lose faith in your own capabilities.
In her Sophomore year at high school, she had decided what college she would go to. She wrote that down on a piece of paper, with the same kind of pencil. She folded it, and put it inside her Dream Jar.
She submitted her application and her essay. She received her letter a few weeks later.
College was stressful. Deadlines, Targets, Assignments. Gillian did not allow herself to collapse, under the burden. She knew what she wanted, and worked hard to get it.
She had been waiting for Spring break. She would finally go back home, and let her mom know that she had been dreaming and achieving. She was so thankful to her.
She had a diary, which her mom had gifted her for Christmas, back when she was ten. It was a beautiful blue diary, and had the lyrics to a very famous song, printed on its cover. In large, bold, yellow letters.
‘Some dreams live on in time forever
Those dreams, you want with all
And I’ll do whatever it takes
Follow through with the promise I made
Put it all on the line
What I hoped for at last would be mine.’
When she got home, she realised that her mom wasn’t keeping well. Her health was going from bad to worse, and somehow, Gillian felt like she was dying.
When the doctors said that she wouldn’t last very long, Gillian lost her desire to live. She had stopped looking at the brighter side of life. To her, life was now dull and gloomy. A tapestry, woven with dark threads. Symbolising sorrow, pain and defeat.
Just when she was dying, Alma desired to see Gillian, one last time.
On seeing her dying mother, Gillian broke down. She could not bear to see her like that.
Alma held Gillian’s hands in hers.
‘Promise me one thing,’ she said slowly. ‘Never give up on yourself, or anyone. Continue to dream and aspire to do great things. I love you.’
‘I love you too,’ said Gillian, tears trickling down her cheeks.
Here she was now. Trying hard not to pick at her healing wounds.
She couldn’t give up. She had to dream and work hard. She was a brave girl. Her Dream Jar, which was now empty, would be overflowing with dreams again.
She sat up in bed, and dried her tears with the sleeves of her sweatshirt.
She had dreams that were taking birth. Waiting to be fulfilled.
She sat at the wooden desk, and picked out a page from the beautiful blue diary. She picked up a pencil, and began to write.
In life, we will be faced with hardships, sorrow and so many challenges. One thing we must learn from them is that we cannot give up, and stop believing in ourselves. We are as strong as we think we are. We all have Dream Jars. Inside our heads.
There is so much waiting to be accomplished. Life is all about dreaming, believing, working hard and achieving.
And remember, when your life looks like it is a tapestry woven with dark threads, don’t give up. Try and slip in a few light coloured threads.