Dreams and Promises

Long before I ever thought of a bucket list, there were occupations and avocations I thought I would like to try. I have always been pretty sure I could do anything I wanted to if I just set my mind to it.

When we were ten years old, being a nurse was something my best friend and I thought would be exciting.  The only nurses we knew were at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota, and they were Benedictine nuns. So we grabbed big white dishtowels and wrapped them around our heads to resemble the wimples worn by the nurses we had seen.  We gave each other “nun” names.  She was Sister Marylika and I was Sister Elainica.  To this day we sign our letters with those names, sometimes with strange modifications.

For several months I worked as a nursing assistant at a convent and nursing home for the Sisters of Notre Dame.  That experience filled my nursing ambitions, and while there I was frequently hailed as “Sister.” It was hard work, but there were great moments.

One of my duties was to help the Sisters with their baths.  As that can be awkward, it was helpful to engage them in conversation about the students they taught or about their families.  One Sister volunteered that she had three older brothers. She was well into her 90’s and I asked her, “Are they all in Heaven now?”  Her eyes twinkling, she replied, “I doubt it.  They were all attorneys.”

Working at a Christian bookstore met my longing to be around books—lots of books.  Bibles, too.  One of my favorite stories from that season was about the woman who came in looking for a Bible.  Ever helpful and of course highly qualified, I pointed out the many versions available and inquired, “Which kind (meaning translation) would you like.  Indignant, she looked at me, incredulous.  “Why, the HOLY Bible, of course.”

When I was four years old, I loved to play house.  Although I lived on the farm, in my fantasy my husband was wearing a suit and tie when he came home from work and our children’s hair was a shining blond  This was my earliest dream to come true.

The reality was far more wonderful than the dream—not two, but three beautiful kids with shining blond hair, and they have multiplied our blessings with eight grandchildren.  The grandkids don’t all have blond hair, but thick brunette hair pleases greatly, too.

Marrying a good and loving man–who came home wearing a suit and tie–means I am still experiencing a dream that grows richer and deeper with every flip of the calendar page.

There were things I always wanted and that I had for a while:  A truck, a big house, even a Cadillac.  All of these came to pass and I enjoyed them tremendously, although I was always quite aware that these were just things and not the stuff of dreams at all.

When my grandmother passed on, I received a little inheritance that I used to buy a dishwasher.  It seemed appropriate. She hated washing dishes as much as I did.

I passed the State boards to be licensed as a Real Estate Broker.  It was while doing that work I coined one of my favorite (to me) observations:  Work is so time-consuming.

Regrets?  I’ve had a few. I never finished my degree which would have enabled me to follow up on another dream, that of being a minister, a pastor or teacher.  But for years I was privileged to teach an adult Bible class in our church, and by God’s amazing, extravagant grace, as a volunteer I did function as a Chaplain in prison for a time.

All along the way, I simply assumed that if I wanted to do something, I could do it.

Then one day the calendar caught up with me and I realized I was never going to go the Police Academy to become a street cop.

Sometimes I’m tempted to discouragement, thinking that at my age—70’s—my possibility ships have all sailed.

I still would like to ride a Harley—that’s on my bucket list—but my husband says it will likely be the last item on the list.  He doesn’t think I could survive a ride on hog.  He may be right.

And taking a vacation in a big RV?  That may be another ship that has sailed.  Maybe sunk.

Well, I could go on and on, but I have come to a grateful conclusion: With my life in the hands of a good and loving Father, dreams really do come true, and He has a dream for me.

Now that I am no longer out there in the thick of daily living, now that I have time to read and reflect, to pray and to listen, I find God is still on my case.  He is still teaching me and daily shedding new light on eternal truth.  I am grateful that God is a living reality in my life.  He is ever calling me upward, healing my heart and renewing my mind.

My ship is still sailing, and when the storms come and seas churn, I find He is here in my ship with me, saying “Peace, be still.”

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7 thoughts on “Dreams and Promises

  1. LOL Riding a Harley is on your bucket list? Never woulda thunk it! Don’t you love those sweet times of teaching, of communing? Loved your post, Elainica! Blessings!

  2. Sister Elainica! Sometimes God blesses us with some of our dreams, and He saves us from others. I sat astride a Harley Hog when I was a sub-teenager, and I realized there was no way I would ever ride it except as a passenger. You, of course, are a taller person. I say, “If Bob Books can do it, Sister Elainica can!” This was a delight to find in my email tonight.

  3. I started to kick myself about forgetting the Harley but I can clearly blame the heat. It would have been way too hot. We could have at least tried on the leather pants that I still have waiting. I’m not sure where I put the leather halter top which would also have been way to hot but in a different way.

    • Just think of me in that halter top with all those kinfolk in town…No, try really hard not to think about that. Riding in the ’39 couple was a fine substitute!

  4. I think I need to dream more . . .

    My brother-in-law gave me a ride on his motorcycle a few years ago. It was a great-for-one-time fun adventure.

  5. Oh my!!! I love reading your blogs and seeing your heart!! I can so relate to some of your dreams, especially the one of your husband. That is my one dream. I never dreamed of being anything as a child, all I wanted to be was a wife and mother – God has granted my dream!!! The remainder of my life is an adventure as God unravels what He has in store for us. Some of life is very hard, some of life you wish would move out of your house, some of life makes you cry, some of it makes your hair turn gray and I could go on and on – but one thing is true regardless, Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there helping me to continually realize the amazingness of the dream He granted me.

    One last dream, I wish my mom would move closer to where I live so I could hug her more often!!!! Love ya!!

    • Love you back, Franki! What prompted me to write this was I had been feeling discouraged and a bit like there wasn’t much to look forward to, and then Father made a major shift in my heart. I saw that God is never through teaching us, that we don’t have to be stuck in any particular way of thinking…well, it was one of those “better felt than telt” moments Corrie Ten Boom wrote about. God is so good, and His love trumps any disappointment.

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