Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Loss of a Dream

My path recently crossed with this poem by Emily Perl Kingsley. It was originally written to help describe what it is like to parent a child with a disability, but as you will see it applies to much more........
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Welcome to Holland written by Emily Perl Kingsley
I know people who have landed in Holland. Some just landed and some have been there for years. Some have taken note of the beauiful things in Holland. Some have not. Some are there because of a dream for their child - disabilities, making a team, finding a mate and more. Some are there because of a dream for themselves - career, goals, becoming a grandparent and more. Some are there because of a dream for their spouse - finding the one, divorce, career and more. Whether they express it or not, it's challenging being in Holland when everyone else is travelling to Italy.

While I am not in Holland now, I may find myself there one day. I pray it doesn't take me long to see the lovely things. In the meantime, I pray I am sensitive to those in Holland as I travel to Italy.


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