God, Dreams, and Donuts for Breakfast

Thoughts on faith in childhood vs. adulthood

Aabye-Gayle F.

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Three sets of hands holding decadent donuts.
Adults get to have donuts for breakfast. {Photo by Tu Trinh on Unsplash.}

When we were children, they told us to dream big and chase the impossible. Then we reached a certain age, and they made us put our dreams and toys away and asked us to be practical. When we were young, we thought the grown-ups were the free ones — they didn’t have to take naps or do homework, they were free to stay out and up past our bedtime, free to make their own decisions, and able to have donuts for breakfast. We had no idea that with age comes new impositions, rules, and limits. Some are for our own well-being, but others (a nefarious brood) cloak themselves in practicality (like wolves in sheep’s wool), slowly wrench our dreams from us, and then devour them.

When we were kids, everyone encouraged and nourished our dreams. They bought us stethoscopes and fire trucks. We were taken to piano lessons and ballet classes. We were allowed to paint with our hands and have imaginary friends. We were free to be ridiculous, to have tea parties with stuffed animals, intentionally stomp in rain puddles, be afraid of the dark, and believe in things no one else could see (like the monsters lurking in the land beneath our bed).

Now, most of us color inside the lines of our life, if we’re even allowing ourselves to live with color — as so many of us are committed to seeing everything in black and white. We keep what we believe private, only sharing it with those we trust most. We treat our faith like an imaginary friend, something we were expected to outgrow, but didn’t. We’re afraid to tell certain people we believe in God — fearing they’ll think less of us, think us to be unintelligent or gullible (like a teenager who still believes in Santa Claus).

When did we stop dreaming with childlike abandon? Perhaps when we started paying rent, we let responsibility and practicality move in and choke our dreams to death. Or maybe we pruned our dreams down until they were small enough to sit inconspicuously on a shelf. We let them grow only this tall and this big, restricting them like bonsai trees. And what a shame that is. Dreams, like trees, aren’t meant to exist in miniature, they’re supposed to grow big — big enough to be a shelter, big enough to yield fruit, big enough to climb, big enough to live in.

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