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Share your Dreams

by Lynda Pogue


Perhaps some of you will remember the size and feel of Life Magazine. It defined an era for millions of us.  

The editor and the first columnist that you’d read as you opened the cover was Loudon Wainright… the table of contents was set on the top of the first page and his opening article was always beneath. I remember spending hours pouring over the words and images on every page of that magazine as I was very young and impressionable and devoured any writings that sounded like they came from somewhere deep inside the writer. We learned about the joys and pains of the whole world through those pages. 

One article that Wainright wrote has stuck with me through a few decades. It hit a chord that still resonates. He was describing how, no matter how unrealistic one’s dreams might be… that it was the act of dreaming itself that makes us human…that dreams bring pleasure, vision and hope He said that he and his wife would often lie in bed, turn out the lights and talk about what kind of sailboat they would have in order to sail around the world. He said they kept this dreamtalk when they had no money… when they raised their children… and as the years passed and his wife became ill, they still kept the fantasy alive. They loved that dream and just talking about it gave them great happiness. Her words peaked his imagination and in response, his would peak hers. They spent years talking about the maps, the winds, the water, the sights, who they’d meet, what they’d have to do about the cramped quarters, how they might fix a torn sail in stormy seas.

He ended by saying that he knew that they’d never actually have this boat and do the trip together and that they both had known it all those years… and that didn’t matter one bit because it was the dream that had brought them hours of pure bliss for each other. 

 I have kept that story in my heart for many years. It leads me to another one, which you might remember because it is so profoundly moving and generous of spirit.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
 One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help
 drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.  The other
 man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
 Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. 

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.  

Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you." 

Both those stories have encouraged me when I needed it. They’re yours now.

I’m not so young any more… but I’m still impressionable… and still dreaming.

And, if you get the chance, please take the time to thank an olddwar vet for the privilege of the personal freedom you have.