Saturday, October 5, 2013

Of Dick Van Dyke and Dreaming

Last night, after coming home from a soccer game, B and I sat down together on the couch and flipped on the T.V.

News flash: not much is on on a Friday night.

We ended up watching an old episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show

(Seriously. There’s nothing on on Friday nights!) 

B and I laughed about how we felt we knew every square inch of Rob and Laura Petry’s house, including their bedroom with twin beds (!), and I noted how prim and put-together Laura looked in her starched blouse and well-sprayed hairdo. A far cry from how I look most days in my yoga pants and sweatshirt.

In this episode, Rob, who worked as a screenwriter for a T.V. show, confessed to Laura that he felt like a failure because he had started writing a novel and had never finished it. He said that he never felt like a real writer because he had never written a book.

Apparently, writing a book is what makes you a real writer.

Laura spent the rest of the episode encouraging Rob to finish his book, even going so far as to arrange for him to spend a few days in a friend’s cabin, alone, so he could concentrate and write.

But poor Rob was suffering from writer’s block. He got busy sharpening pencils, stacking paper, and getting out his typewriter in order for the scene to be just perfect so that he could finally write. But as soon as everything was set, he just sat there, looking around, eventually getting distracted by a paddleball game. Rob spent three days just pounding that ball against the paddle, trying to beat his high score.

In the end, Laura and Rob both had a moment of clarity: they realized that Rob just wasn’t ready to write his book. One day he might be ready, but this wasn’t it.

Rob summed it up this way: “I know one thing, when I’m ready to be a novelist I won’t need a cabin to write it. I’ll be able to write it on the subway during rush hour.”

Here’s what I want to know. Did Rob give up?

We read so much these days about dreaming big dreams for our lives, which, in my mind, means do bigger things than you’re doing right now.

But what if what we’re doing right now is exactly what God wants us to be doing?

For the past two weeks I haven’t written a word. I’ve been busy teaching, grading papers, talking to students and friends, and generally living my life.

Oh, I think about writing. I think about my blog and what I’d like to see happen here, but it just isn’t happening for me right now. Call it writer’s block. Call it a busy life. Call it different priorities.

Whatever you call it, writing isn’t happening for me right now, and, in a way, that’s frustrating to me.

I dream.

Oh yes, I dream a lot.

And yet, here I am in the everyday, trying to find the adventure right here.

And I wonder: am I doing this right as I live in the tension of the everyday and the some day? More importantly, I wonder: what if my dreams for myself aren’t God’s dreams for me? What if He has something else that is not necessarily bigger, but definitely better, than I can see?

I’d like to explore these questions a little further. Will you explore with me?

Over the next couple of weeks, just because I’m kind of like Rob Petry and can’t seem to find my writing mojo, I’d like to give myself a little task. To write about dreams and see where this gets me.

Now tell me, what do you dream about? What do you think about dreaming big dreams for your life? Where have your dreams led you? How would you respond to the questions I’ve posted above?


  1. Diana's post today reminded me of some of the questions you are reflecting on ... here she says that learning to listen to ourselves will help us dream. Thought you'd enjoy it.

  2. Really good questions and I love that you'll be digging deeper with this. I do think we are obsessed as a culture with performance. We fill every moment and live in such a programmed way, we don't nurture the doodle time where dreams are born. Just Be. There's glory in that when we find our Being in Christ.