I remember as a kid always being interested in asking questions just so I could answer it myself. My favorite was asking others “If you had three wishes, what would you ask for?” “More (or unlimited) wishes!” was the typical response from the majority of those I asked. I could have written a fairly large book then with all the things I wanted, which could usually be categorized into 4 typical desires–money, candy, video games, and my own bedroom.
Looking back, I still have wishes but now they cost a lot more than those previously listed. I’ve never been one to never want anything. The vacuum in my soul is a bottomless pit with no ladder to scale its walls. When I was young I had low power or ability to gather the things I wanted so badly I could taste them, but now it’s become clear that even my most worthy wishes are still what James Taylor calls in Fire and Rain, “Sweet dreams and fine machines in pieces on the ground.”
“Great minds have wills, while feeble minds have wishes.”
Wishes should graduate from the daydream department to the idea incubator as we age, but sadly the ideals of childhood often get demoted to junk drawer pragmatics. We shuffle through them when looking for the grill lighter or an extra phone charger until they are moved to the Chiquita banana box in the attic where all the other wishes go to die. Maybe they’ll find another home through a yard sale, or your kids or grand-kids will discover them in a pro level game of hide and seek.
My family and I lived in Pittsburgh for less than two years. We didn’t own a home there so much of our stuff never made it’s way out of the boxes. One Christmas I went into the attic to fetch the tree and ornaments when I stumbled across a fish tank with everything it needed except fish. I called the landlord and asked if he had plans for it, to which he replied “What fish tank?”. After a few minutes of me describing it to him, he realized that it had been there since the early seventies. The house had belonged to his parents and it was also where he was raised. When he went to college in 1970 his parents apparently had a “He’s finally off the payroll party!” and moved his belongings to the attic. It was 2008 when I found it, which means it had been there almost as long as I’ve been alive at the time of this writing.
Having a fishtank is not the loftiest goal in life but it serves a point. There is a beautiful innocence in the honest longings of a child and the aspirations of one’s adolescence. Our wishes need time to mature. They need to be well watered in a wish tank of sorts with new air to breathe life into them as opposed to the anonymity of the junk drawer or the slow cook of the attic. You may be thinking that only children and dreamers have the ability to make wishes, but you’re just wrong.
My wish for the natural dreamers is to demonstrate how to commit to the hard work and deep joy of seeing a abstract wish become a concrete reality. My wish for the ideallistically challenged is to redeem the best work left over from the age of innocence.
- The dilemma for the creative person is not that they don’t have enough wishes, but that the transmission of their will slips for lack of maintenance and discipline. A positive note for creatives is that there are wishes-a-plenty, but they need help in breaking it down into doable doses.
- The dilemma for the pragmatic is not that they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but that their creativity has rusted shut due to lack of use. A positive note for pragmatics is they can bring a wish into being if they value and exercise the creative process.
Wish-drift doesn’t happen instantaneously but is more like the snow plow mountain in the Mall of America parking lot that disappears over time in the Spring, or sometimes Summer, if you live in Minneapolis. One day you wake up and see your wish more off in the distance that it was the previous day. It doesn’t disappear all at once but in a slow fade of neglect. Your wish needs to breathe daily which requires work from the dreamer. Think of it as pulling weeds. Just five minutes, or longer depending on the scale of your dreams, a day in order to stay on track!
There are a couple of assumptions that this post has that come from my conviction as a Christian. God is the Creator and everything we “create” is really more curating. God is the inventor and we, by His will and good pleasure, innovate with already existing material. This doesn’t mean we don’t create things. It just helps to remember the source of our creativity. Glen Fry of the Eagles remarked on his writing relationship with bandmate Don Henley saying, “He’s the talent, and I’m the taste.” By nature we are either creators of the content, or curators of the created.
We’ve been given not only the ability to wish and dream, we’ve also been granted the ability to will our wishes into existence. God gets the glory (primary recognition and pleasure) when we use the gifts He’s given us to create, curate, invent, or innovate. He gets even more glory when our hearts align with His, which changes the nature of our wishing.
There’s much more to be said about the craft of making our wishes come to life but I will save it for another post. I wish you the best most profitable year in 2018! Please leave comments below about what dreams you hope to become reality this year!