It’s usually about mid-January when we realize our lofty goals might be too high, too hard, or maybe just a little bit overwhelming. The shine of the New Year rubs off as the long winter days drag their icy feet.
If this is where you are right now in the realization of your dreams, may I spin a little story for you tonight?
Once upon a time in a long-ago land, there lived a simple girl of no significant distinction or honor. She lived in a small village in the most common of circumstances. She knew she was ordinary, and yet, she could felt somehow unique. There was a bit of her that was unlike anyone else she knew. Lyrics and harmonies soared through her mind as she went about her chores, and she could see poems dance before her eyes in the creations that surrounded her. As the days passed, she began to recognize her creative gifts, and they filled her with awe. Season after season delighted her and caused her to dream up all sorts of wondrous things. In the spring, she planted her dreams right along with the seeds of the field. She tended them in the summer, and watched them grow tall in the fall. But when winter came, she found herself discouraged. The stages of planting and watering and harvesting her seeds and dreams were easily apparent, but in the winter, things turned invisible. She looked at her ordinary life and wondered if she had been wrong all along. Maybe there wasn’t anything special about her after all. Maybe her dreams would never come true.
So on a bitterly cold, January afternoon, she made the journey to speak with the wise elder of her village. Perhaps, she thought, he might have the answers she sought.
She found the wisened ancient standing alone in a snow-covered field, gazing at the setting sun. And when she approached and told him of her plight, he never took his eyes off the western sky. She went on and on about how her dreams felt so far away and so entirely unreachable. For a long time, he stood still and silent, and she wondered if he’d heard her at all.
Twilight was drawing near when the elder finally broke the silence with his deep, soft voice. Said he, “Your dreams seem impossible to you, but that is only because you have not learned how to see.” He turned and looked her straight in the eyes. “Do you believe it possible for any object on earth to hold the sun?”
She paused, wondering what he was getting at. “It seems impossible to me,” she finally replied.
“Ah yes. It is impossible…but only because you have not yet learned how to see. All you need is a change of perspective.” And with that, he turned back to the western horizon and pointed to the setting sun which was now framed perfectly in the branches of a nearby tree. He continued, “But now, you have seen that a simple, ordinary tree can hold the sun within its simple, ordinary branches. And so it can be with your dreams as long as you remember these words…” He reached in the pouch that hung from his shoulder and pulled out an old worn Bible. Turning the wrinkled pages as if they were an old friend, he stopped and scanned a page, then read out loud, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” He looked at the girl with his piercing brown eyes and smiled. Then he placed his Bible back in its pouch, picked up his walking stick and slowly shuffled off through the crunching snow, leaving the girl standing alone in the field. And there she stood for quite some time pondering his words as she watched the sun sink below the distant hilltop.
When the last rays were no longer visible, she turned to go home. She walked with renewed vigor and hope. Her dreams were not too far away after all, she smiled to herself, for now she knew how to hold the sun…