And yet, like C.S. Lewis' character Puddleglum, I must believe there is Hope.
“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."Even if the sun and Aslan are just figments of my imagination, I must believe they are real, or else, without that Hope, what is the purpose of life? I must believe that my life is continually going uphill: each month is better than the last, each year better than the past. I live in the Hope that life is getting better, that there is something better than this.
I am in a season of life where I have the excitement of exploring new experiences, being in love, and dreaming what I want to do. Life seems so wide open in front of me, like anything is possible. I feel like it is all up to me, who I want to be. And yet.
And yet I live in a world that is collapsing more and more the farther from the Fall we get. The older I get, the more I realise the Brokenness in the world, in my own life. I hear the voice of older, wiser people telling me:
"Soon, it won't be all new and exciting. Soon, you'll "settle in" to a humdrum life. Soon, you'll realise life happens to you instead of the other way around and you'll accept your fate. Just wait until the honeymoon wears off. Just wait until the reality of life sets in. Just wait until you get married and it's not at all what you expected. Just wait until you have kids and they're running around throwing up on the furniture. Just wait until you turn 30 and that decade seems harder than your 20s. Just wait until the car breaks down at just when the money isn't in the checking account. Just wait until you lose your job and nothing seems to work. Just wait until your wife, co-workers, and friends all seem to be fed up with you. Just wait until your Christian life goes from easy to hard to impossible. Then your dreams will be disillusioned. You'll be forced to choose to rest in God or rely on yourself."
I've faced enough of the Brokenness of life already to see that it all forces me to God, and that's all good. But should I therefore live my life until then expecting the worst to happen and setting my expectations so low I'm not disillusioned? I argue that even if life will "get real" someday, where I'm at today is exactly where I need to be. Even if I will feel more pain later, that must not hold me back from living and dreaming now. Even if I will soon face that reality of life, this reality of joy is no less real.
In fact, our generation must keep dreaming today, or else who will see the dreams? I may someday see how much of life happens outside of my control, but for now, I'll live in my own agency. I may never reach my dreams, but I will get a whole lot closer if I dream them than if I just let life take me. <insert cheesy quote:>
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.- Norman Vincent Peale