Letter to a Dreamer

The road you walk is fraught with peril.

You already know that, though. It doesn’t faze you. Your dream is bigger than all those obstacles.

People are going to misunderstand.

You already know that, too, right? They’ve been misunderstanding you all along, because you’ve always been a dreamer. You were born with this flutter in your heart. To borrow a phrase from “The Matrix:” It’s like a sliver in your brain. No matter. Your dream is big enough to overcome their doubt.

The dreamless will despise you.

You’ve met those people. You shrug them off with a blithe, “hater’s gonna hate,” kind of statement. Your dream has no patience for those who lack vision.

Your dream is magnificent. It’s a glowing city on a mountaintop. It’s a calling from God, a mission, a passion. It’s unimaginable that you won’t accomplish it.

But, oh, dear dreamer, one day you are going to wake up and realize that you’re so very tired. That mountaintop will feel like an unattainable height. God’s voice will seem no more than a distant memory of something imagined. On that day, the crabs will try to pull you back into the bucket.

Do you know about crabs in a bucket?

Supposedly, if you put one crab in a bucket, it’ll climb right out. If you put a bunch of them in there, every time one tries to escape the others will pull it back in.

Maybe they’re jealous of that little crab’s ambition.

Maybe they love that little adventurous crab and they don’t realize it’s going out of the bucket to a place of freedom and wonder.

Really, the motivation doesn’t matter. The result is what counts. The free-spirited crab ends up stuck in the bucket with all the others.

I have terrible news for you, Dreamer.

The crabs are right.

The dream is unrealistic. It’s ridiculous. It’s hard—nearly impossible. It might be dangerous. You could (you almost surely will) suffer defeat, failure, pain, heartache and more.

The haters are right when they tell you you’re being “a Pollyanna” for believing in the possible, even when it’s improbable.

Your loved ones are telling the truth. You’re not prepared.

Of course, you’re not! How can you be prepared to do something new? If it’s never been done, how do you even begin to know what you need?

May I share my own experience?

You see, dear Dreamer, I’m a Dreamer, too.

For decade after decade I listened to the ones who told me I needed to build some security. I needed to fit in before I could stand out. I needed to grow up and give up my childish fantasies. All the while I scratched at the sliver in my brain.

Then, one magical day, I looked around myself and realized I was stuck in a bucket of crabs and I scrambled out of there.

It was hard! They pulled at me and it hurt. I bear the scars, still. Some days they still ache.

And do you know what I found on the outside of the bucket?


Totally, complete, utter failure.

It was the most magnificent teacher I’ve ever known!

Failure gets a bad rap! It’s only trying to explain what won’t work.

I learned my lessons well. I studied hard. I failed again and again, faster and faster. I embraced it. I gloried in it. I laughed when it came and raced toward more of it and all the while, while chasing failure, I was running up that mountainside without even realizing it!

By the time I stopped and looked around. I was already halfway to the top!

Oh, the top is still far away, but I’m strong now. After all, I’ve learned so much! I’ve come so far already! I’m stronger now, and wiser. I have built a solid foundation for my castle in the sky to rest upon.

Now, when I look back at that distant shore, I see you trying to escape from the bucket. Let me cast you a line! Let me remind you of that golden city on the hill! Please believe when I tell you that it’s real. You can get there. The dream would never have been planted in your heart if it weren’t possible.

And if you don’t make it? If you shoot for the moon and miss? Well, you will still land among the stars, right? And that’s not such a very bad place to be.

Take it from this Dreamer. Your Dream is a gift. Don’t let go.


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