A little over a decade ago, I sat at a table high in the Guatemalan jungle inside a 100year old farmhouse overlooking one of the region’s largest coffee plantations. It was a long table and I could hear the noises of chickens outside that might be tomorrows dinner, the windows were open because the evening air was lovely and I could see through cracks between the wide plank floorboards to the cellars where coffee beans were drying. The operator of the farm, a Guatemalan born and American educated coffee aristocrat, was pontificating on a dream to build a coffee theme park in Orlando while workers on his farm fought for a subsistence level existence. Part of the reason that memory sticks with me so strongly is because right as he finished telling us about a ride where you’d follow the cycle of coffee beans, he said ”ahh…but it’s free to dream.” That line has stuck with me since.
I spent most of the day yesterday with a friend that I don’t get to see that often. We were making some plans and generally encouraging one another on shared ways of thinking that help us live as faithfully as we can amidst responsibility and creativity. One of the things we agreed upon yesterday was that dreams are nice, but reality is better.
With immersive game technology, ubiquitous entertainment and a culture that idolizes money and luxury it’s easy to escape into fantasy, or to assume that satisfaction or fulfillment or success only exists somewhere down the road or in some other place.
Jesus, sort of enigmatically, said once, ”blessed is he who doesn’t fall away because of me.” I think he says this because he knows folk had idealized what the messiah would look like. Something grander, cleaner, more beautiful, wealthier, stronger or smoother or more powerful. And yet, what they got was better. Only the ones who were willing to step out of their dreams and into the mess of reality were about to encounter the actual savior of the world.
I have been a part of starting lots of things with friends. None of them have been easy or looked exactly like what we imagined. But all of them are more fun to have in reality than some imagination or dream that never happens. This is true for our marriages, families, work and life. Don’t let the mirage of your imagination cloud you from experiencing and creating reality.