Of Dreams and Glory, and What Are We Here For?

Joseph Campbell said, “Where you stumble and fall, there is the treasure.”

The thing that prevents us from reaching our goal opens the way to the goal.

We step into our life with a career plan, a blueprint for success and an itinerary in hand, checking off the milestones as we achieve them, on our way to fortune and glory, and all the accouterments attached to that prize—and damn for all eternity anything that inhibits our progress, or blocks our path.

People are always seeking miracles to deliver them from misfortune, and usher them into prosperity and peace everlasting.

Well. What’s the greater miracle—to stand up from your wheelchair and walk without a hitch in your stride, or to accept the fact that you will never walk again?

Substitute wheelchair and walking for whatever you think is standing in your way, keeping you from having your dreams come true.

What is the dream? What is preventing the realization of the dream? Who is to say what is the dream and what is the prevention of the dream? When does prevention shift the direction of our and open the way to realization of our life’s dream for us?

What are we after? Who is piloting our boat on its path through the sea? Who is in charge here? Whose cooperation is required for us to step forth into our life as complete human beings? Whose side are we on?

What is the end of the road, and what is an open door?

We are back to the Campbell quote about everything that happens to us being “an instrument of our destiny”—pulling us forth, eliciting the qualities of character and personality— of heart and soul—that are ours to share with the world as gifts of grace and blessing—which we would never know we possessed without the external events that trigger our internal response.

What is good luck? What is bad luck?

Luck is an illusion switching from good to bad, and back to good, then back to bad—as our perspective shifts, and we look at our luck in light of changing ideas of what is a favorable wind and what is an ill one.

The people who live out their life wishing they could leap out of their wheelchair and go dancing, spinning and leaping, into the night, could, instead, dance with their wheelchair throughout their life, and see what that opens up for them, and calls forth from them, in deepening, broadening, enlarging themselves and their life in ways that walking normally could never touch.

I’m not suggesting that we should choose handicaps to bring out the best in us. I’m suggesting that we see whatever happens to us as containing exactly what we need to fulfill our destiny—and that we should live in relationship with what happens as though we chose it, and not as something we hate, despise, dread and wish to be rid of.

At the end of the movie The Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli, reflecting on his career, said, “They ask ya, ‘What was the high point?’ The hall of fame, sellin’ all those records, pullin’ Sherry outta the hat? It was all great. But the first time the four of us made that sound under the street light, our sound, when everything dropped away and all there was, was the music…that was the best.”

The challenge for each of us is to find our music, and live it—to let the music live us—and see everything that happens to us, both positive and negative, as an opportunity to further align ourselves with the music, dance with what life brings us, and become who we are—understanding that to be the fortune and glory it is.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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