This post is actually an answer to an old Daily Post prompt —
You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?
But I’ll have to unpack the heart behind it first, and I wish to start with a confession:
I had lost the ability to dream.
This struck me one evening over pizza with my music ministry team/batch mates, last August 14. James (17 years old) asked me: “Ate, ano ang pangarap mo?” (“Big sis, what is your dream?”) I somewhat felt that it should’ve been an easy question to answer; like, surely, I am living out my dream, right?
… but what dream are we talking about? Or dreams, for that matter?
I tried to answer by rattling off the jobs I wanted to have: a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a clothes designer, a character designer, a painter, an astronomer, and (James helpfully added) a wife. I became none of those, and I asked myself, when did I stop dreaming?
Was it when my parents separated and I believed that I will suffer the same fate in my future? Was it when we returned to the Philippines and I had to let go of my acceptance to a French art school? Was it when I did not pass the UPCAT? I do not think I can pinpoint an exact moment, but it was more of a process — like pieces torn off a canvas until whatever image it held was unrecognizable.
Fast forward to two months after James’ question, early October, I went to Thou Art in Heaven (fellowship and worship through music and visual arts). Before the fellowship, a visiting pastor and his wife prayed for me and encouraged me — about dreams planted, dreams being “birthed”, and Daniel-like excellence.
Allowing those notions guide my prayers, little by little, I felt as if my torn canvas was being pieced together again. At times, it looked vague; at times, it looked as if a piece was a little off and needed adjustment. As the image came together, parts are being repainted and given definition. Little by little, I realized, I was dreaming again.
As I mentioned in my previous post: I lost a job, but I gained a dream.
Of course, I no longer wanted to be a doctor-nurse-dentist-character designer-clothes designer, but I saw the essence behind my childhood dreams, and the capabilities that were revealed to me in the past year (leadership, mentorship): I wanted to display excellence, I wanted to help people and make them happy and give them hope, and I wanted to them to be the best they can be.
The month of October went by, and I had to move out of the room I was renting. That meant taking down my memory wall — a portion of my room where I put up whatever mementos that can be held up by Blu Tak — starting from when I moved in last 2012, until, well — it was a perfect fit until I moved out:
As I was taking the mementos down, my roomie’s mother, tita Belen, quipped, “Enough of the past — time to look to the future.” It made me pause as the mementos uncovered the support paper, and the paper gave way to a clean, white wall. It was a blank slate, a clean start. Memories are good, and the past unlocked present wisdom and gratitude — but I realize that the future holds so many possibilities, and it’s exciting to know that it looks nothing like the past.
(That, and I really should try making a dream board!)
And so, if I am going to embark on a year-long journey, if I am going to embark on my journey in life, I cannot have the baggage of the past with me. I must bring with me a blank slate — and that blank slate to me is best represented in a blank notebook. On the inside cover is my home address, reminding me that I have a home to return to. On the last pages are things I’m looking forward to, side-by-side with God’s promises, to guide my prayers.
The return trip, however, would not be up for a long time — I have pages to fill and dreams to fulfill, after all.