[Guest Post by Shannon Roy – I met her through StartMarriageRight.com an amazing site for building godly relationships. She and I have stayed in close contact ever since, and I can’t wait to meet her in person when I travel to Chicago later on this year. Also, I am excited for her and her upcoming marriage!!]
A riddle for you to ponder: What is better than experiencing your greatest dream come true?
Before–my answer would be a “few” dreams, but dreams change.
The clouds darkened overhead the bright green fields spread out before us. Our SUV radio buzzed as we listened to the coordinates of the brewing storm. Our entourage flew down the open dirt road; we were determined to get ahead of the storm. If we could just get close enough to perform our test, our information could help us predict the course of a natural disaster, like a tornado.
The towns could alert people earlier and lives could be saved.
Our mission was important and we weren’t afraid.
The winds started to pick up and my adrenaline increased. The tires squealed to a halt on the pavement and we jumped out of the car, anchored to the vehicle with rope. This was the moment of truth; we either performed the test correctly or watched 1 million dollars be tossed into the quickly approaching twister—no wonder Jan de Bont created a film out of this life style. I must say, Helen Hunt played the part well.
The winds began to move and my dreams changed.
The thrill of racing through the fields of North America’s tornado alley faded as I became curious about the rest of the world.
Sweat trickled down my forehead and onto my linen shirt. The helicopter approached the launching pad not far from the Congo River, formerly known as the Zaire River, and the deepest river in the world.
I’d been studying this region of Africa, particularly the DRC post-Second Congo War—thought by some to be the deadliest war since World War II. Many people lost their lives, not only to combat, but from preventable disease.
I hopped off the copter and buddied up with my guide. I was thankful for my studies in Paris the year before; my novice French would be an asset here. We hopped in a jeep a sped off into the rainforest. I needed to find people who were touched by the war; I wanted to hear their stories and reveal them to the world…and I would need to do it quickly.
My deadline was in three weeks.
That dream came to an abrupt halt because my emotional, spiritual and physical health needed attention.
For the first time since I could remember, my chest wasn’t tight with anxiety. I could focus on the moment; and what a relief it was. My hand resting on my abdomen—I laid in bed knowing that deep sleep would come soon. I slept like a rock and woke up incredibly refreshed and ready to start the day.
Breathing in deeply and then out, I could feel my stomach rise as my lungs filled with air and then sink down again. I thanked God for a working body, and that was healing after having done damage to it—a healthy diet turned into a destructive eating disorder.
It gave me some sense of control and security amidst a competitive and fast-paced lifestyle.
But that was my choice; I’d forgotten that I had a choice.
I was no longer, actually I never was, very good at calling the shots in my own life so I gave it completely, with abandon, over to God.
I found Him.
After a few months on rest and rehabilitation, my body was stronger, my face was washed with color again, my anxious thoughts ceased, breathing came easy and my thoughts slowed down from a race to a pleasant trot.
Mugabe and the White African, my dream project as a book publicist back home in Chicago. The press release was perfect. Press kits went out to my carefully crafted media lists. Media alerts scattered the nation. NPR was even going to do a segment on the title! Wow–this was big. The office was buzzing as the other publicists worked hard on their own titles. Every week marked a new deadline and the end of the month a big push. All of the planning carefully timed to gain the maximum amount of exposure for the title. This was a story that could reveal new information to readers and had the potential to stir up conversation.The idea that I could have a part in disseminating this message was exhilarating–a real chance at success.
We laughed and reminisced around a camp fire on a warm Indian Summer night, telling stories about God’s good work in our lives.
This would be the last time that I would see some of them over the next two years. I would be leaving the next week for a mission across the world. The journal that I would keep was contracted to be published upon my return. Maybe I could even write a children’s book based off of it. Marshmallows turned carefully over the orange and yellow flames and I watched my beloved family and friends smile, the light dancing on their faces. I would miss them more than anything but knew that the Lord had important work for me.
The grand opening of my children’s international book store was a great success.
Floods of children and their families from all over the world came for our first story time. They heard a beautifully illustrated tale called Miss Rumphius, who wanted to make the world beautiful. The children listened to the whole story; the storyteller was incredibly engaging and even dressed up just like Miss Rumphius. We served tea and treats and handed out flyers about the English conversation event that would take place each week in our cozy café.
The waiter poured us each a glass of red wine and he shared his greatest dreams with me—a smile flashed across his face—I couldn’t wait to help those dreams come true. We were celebrating a very special occasion. Last night, you see, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Our joy made evident by the glow on our faces, we thanked God for bringing us together to do his work as a team. Our dear friends gathered around us now for the occasion, we toasted over small plates of winter comfort food, and took turns telling the proposal story over and over. I never tired of being asked.
So what, in my opinion, is better than experiencing your own greatest dream come true?
Helping someone else’s dream to come true–and then walking with him as it unfolds.
As I wrote these anecdotes, some of them based on true events from my life, I realized how many of my dreams have come true. I also realized how much God’s love changed my dreams. He has blessed me abundantly–and yet I’m still grateful for the little girl in me that dreams up wild adventures and tender moments.
With a BA in Public Communication and certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute, Shannon has worked in book publishing for 5 years and also works in children’s ministry at her church. When she’s not at work, she serves with World Relief Chicago. Shannon is grateful for devotional time, coffee dates with friends, laughing over kids’ books with her teacher mom, early morning swims and dance classes. She lives on Chicago’s north side and is getting married on June 1, 2013 to her best friend and fiance, Joe. Follow Shannon on Twitter.
[Photo: border.garaku, Creative Commons]