Monday, April 19, 2010

The Dream Stone

“Dream Again”. It’s a phrase that's been rolling around in my mind for close to a year now. It was the topic of a sermon in which our youthful and gainfully employed pastor used the receding economy and lack of jobs to inspire his flock to go forth and re-define their dreams, to take this difficult time and reinvent their lives and finally be and do what we all dreamed of doing. That God would provide for us and He would not close the proverbial door without opening a window, even if it’s just a crack. I believe this to my very core.

Before the service, each member of the congregation was given a stone as we walked into the auditorium. It is engraved with only one word. As our pastor hopped around the stage doing his best to pump up the deflated crowd, I simply stared at the stone and the word that seemed to simply belong there. A short five letter word that mocked me, and has been laughing in my face day in and day out ever since. I left the service clutching the sweaty stone feeling lost.

When I arrived at work the following day I found my eyes constantly being drawn to a picture I have on my desk of my step-father and two other gentlemen. The frame is cheap. Made of plain wood and painted faded gold and maroon. Although the picture is in black and white, one glance at their pencil thin ties, plaid suites and thick black eyeglass frames and you know it was taken in the 50s. Upon closer inspection, you realize they are at a hotel bar enjoying a cigarette and what appears to be some sort of hard liquor, more than likely good ole’ Kentucky whiskey. The framed architectural drawing behind them on the wall tells me they are in Cincinnati, Ohio at a Holiday Inn. The name tags donning their jackets and their boyish grins are tell-tale signs they are enjoying a work convention miles away from wives, children, lawn mowing and cat litter boxes. They are in their element. They are happy. They are, in this moment frozen in time, living their dream.

I remembered the stone weighing heavily in my purse. I reached in and drew it out. I rolled the smooth, brown stone between the palm of my hands over and over. It was cold, hard and lifeless. The etched letters were bold and cut deep. The more I held onto it, the warmer it became. I ran the tips of my fingers over the black letters repeatedly. Then, I pulled out the program of the service from my purse and my eyes were drawn to two large words printed in elegant script with swirls boldly printed on the front cover.

Struck by my fading artistic talent, I quickly took out my patterned scissors and removed the words carefully. The scissors left the edges of the paper as wispy as the words themselves. I then reached in the bottom junk drawer of my desk, and picked up a small light brown plate made of broken glass. I put the plate in front of the picture, which stands in the left corner of my desk, and carefully placed the stone on the plate. I then took the words freshly cut out and slid them into the bottom of the frame where it now reads “Dream Again”.

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