An Allegory of Dreams
The tragedy of accepting the facts of life is all the harm done to a once fertile imagination. Little can be said on the redemptive value of dreams if a cynical assessment of a man's circumstances solely dictates the entire realm of possibility in his life. Dreamers, adamantly set on redefining the malleable bounds of reality, have always written some of the greatest success stories of all time. Valiantly striving for all they sincerely believe to be true, dreamers never quiescently accept arbitrary limitations cravenly imposed on their true potential, especially if facing seemingly insurmountable odds. When a cynical world stands unjustly united against the most righteous of oneiric plans, never will dreamers simply bow down in silent reverence before the cowardly dictates of fate. If the law of probability is all that stands in his way, a man devoid of dreams dies long before his final day.
Having always fought for my most deeply held beliefs, pursuing my dreams was a task undertaken from an early age. The sobering disillusion eventually experienced resulted from conquering a treacherous mountaintop only to later realize the final view left much to be desired. The rarefied atmosphere of this seemingly oneiric experience, so deliriously enticing for some, spoke of an alternate reality remarkably different from all previously known before. This dreamt final destination was populated only by those willing to sacrifice considerably more than most are willing to bear, always sporting an undivided sense of superiority for the myriad obstacles supposedly overcome along the way. That so many could have sold their souls to so few, always so tragically beholden to a miserable number on a paycheck, openly countervailed my most deeply held beliefs of what a true meritocracy should entail. One of the many problems of reaching the top is realizing you could never descend any lower. If the final application of your education pales in comparison to the original intended purpose, always be careful with the end result of the knowledge once so laboriously acquired in school.
The much-lauded teamwork that presumably once led the way was conspicuously replaced by an asinine, competitive, individualistic drive compelling every man to fight solely for himself, only hypocritically paying lip service to the group as a whole. In a work environment, where the very concept of loving your neighbor as yourself was frequently derided as a lunacy meant only for fools, there was very little appreciation for what a true collective effort should actually entail. Taking liberties with the venerable Gospel of Gordon Gekko, while the many work only for a few, the drive to succeed never sleeps even when you do. Family life being a mandatory sacrificial offering all were forced to make, long hours of mindless work, and considerable sleep deprivation were universally required just to maximize short-term profitability. In the pathological absence of a true meritocracy, this proved to be an entirely self-defeating proposition. Individual talent and personal effort were simply never properly recompensed, much to the obvious detriment of the collective good as a whole. Although underestimating another man's intelligence only speaks against our own, the problem about always being patient with ignorant people is just giving them more time to be whom they really are.
Having safely descended from the dizzying heights of this treacherous mountain, my natural inclination was simply to search for a more welcoming environment, one where greater existential meaning could finally be found. Many were the mountaintops conquered since, but the disappointing final experience remained sadly the same. However high a man should bravely climb, the acerbic dissatisfaction resulting from perennially unmet expectations only made him question the true driving force behind the whole experience. As Rudyard Kipling once suggested, a man should fight for his dreams without necessarily making them their only masters. The real world imposes sobering limitations on our dreams, openly conspiring against the continued ruling power of our imagination, despite our most deeply held hopes and still unfulfilled expectations. Having renounced so much that was so diametrically opposed to my beliefs, it is difficult not to become despondent with a world that so openly antagonizes Christian values and teachings. Those always questioning the malleable bounds of reality should be careful about living outside them. Believing in fiction raises the bar to an impossible level where realistic expectations are never met. There is nothing like the illusion of perfection to forcefully restrain one from truly embracing reality.
That life should be an existential journey, and not just a dreamt of destination, has proven to be truly useful advice because this lifelong quest for a vibrant, albeit peaceful existence has been both epic in scope and unforgiving in nature. Driven by religious values, professional goals, family obligations, and personal aspirations, I have lived, studied, and worked in three different continents during the course of the past four decades. Having searched far and wide for a fulfilling Christian life, this has proven to be a distant dream, if not a practical impossibility. This only led me to question whether the Church is currently imprisoned within the confines of its own walls, assuming they still stand. Lest one should forget the price of being evil is foregoing the obvious alternative, a professional, academic, or family environment so conspicuously divorced from all the Gospel has to say can only be revealing of blind hypocrisy. Ponderous words, always divorced from corroborating actions, are morbid lies dressed only for public consumption. As a man, who knows all too well the meaning of pain, never teaches it to others with words alone, perhaps the only problem in always believing in yourself is expecting others to follow your personal example. Acts sometimes speak louder than words only because they offer silent testimony to corroborate all so sincerely felt before. By demonstrating his faith and personal values through individual conduct and social interaction, a man is judged solely on what he says, does, and believes, as well as all he refrains from doing or saying. Always bearing in mind the Gospel, as a moral and spiritual compass so diligently followed, this is how a Christian goes about finding and treading his path through life. Having a proper sense of direction implies knowing where to go and what obstacles to avoid or overcome along the way. In the end, all a man decides to avoid or renounce says just as much about his faith and character as all he once decided to embrace. What a man refrains from doing can be just as important as what he deliberately does himself. But as every difficult choice implies an accompanying renunciation, all of this comes at a steep price.
The final cost incurred for renouncing so much that still stands against my religious values is an unforgiving isolation that should only be characteristic of apocalyptic times. Distancing myself from those having markedly different priorities and values was an imposition dictated by the vicissitudes of life, especially if the dreams of the past were to remain alive. Those compliantly willing to sell all their time away can never pursue their most deeply held dreams unless the object of their innermost desire is simply living a billable life, one where all is up for sale. In opposition to this crass notion, Jesus once said in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” As those living only for eternity should clearly understand: satisfying false material needs is all this world has so carefully planned. While striving to avoid everlasting damnation, serving a fallen world should never be a Christian´s primary obligation. When setting out to discover lost treasure, the most intrepid may search far and wide only one day to finally realize: it could only be found deep inside our own hearts, minds, and souls, deep inside the most treasured parts of our own selves. The inestimable offer of eternal life stands solely for those daring to dream of a Christian life, long before said dream could ever come true. Only those always believing in a love that never dies… ever truly stand a chance of understanding eternal life. But in a perennially hectic world where so many believe time is married to money, little is to be accomplished while one so quiescently slumbers. Awakening is always preferable to falling asleep, only then can our dreams finally come true.