Our hopes and dreams evolve. When I was six, my teacher told us all that being a nun would be the best vocation to chose, so that is what I decided I wanted to be when I grew up. By the time I was ten, I wanted to be an FBI agent. At that time in history, they did not accept women. I thought I could change their minds. We learn. We listen. We look for the choices we have or those we can create. Someone told me to imagine, and I had support. Dreams come true. They take time, sweat, and sometimes tears, but they are worth it. Let’s dream. Let’s imagine. Then we can make it our mission to make it happen.
Lucille and Mary didn’t ask to leave the institution where they had lived for 20-plus years. But, when they got an opportunity to move into an apartment, it brought joy to them. They shopped for matching recliners. When I went to visit them, they looked like two queens side by side facing the apartment door smiling. They were glad to see me. They made it clear in their first sentence they were not going back.
John worked in a sheltered workshop. The manager asked me to interview him. It was the mid 1980’s and goals, beyond the same goal for everyone, were just being written. His goal had nothing to do with his job. He wanted to learn to ride the bus on his own to visit his mom. No one had given him the choice.
I was struck by recent angst about closing center-based services and finishing our closing of institutions. I think we have gotten stuck. We need to look around for the dreams already realized and make some new ones.
Keep on dreaming, and take advantage of opportunities to help make dreams come true.