January 28, 2011

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Do you believe in the power of a dream?

Debra Tomaselli“There’s so much I want to do someday,” I told a co-worker while we were eating lunch.

“Like what?” she asked.

“I want to volunteer in a hospital, help the homeless, read to disadvantaged schoolchildren,” I began. “I’d like to teach English to migrants, become a big sister to a troubled kid, write books, join Toastmasters and volunteer more in the Church.”

She smiled, intrigued by each idea.

“You ought to write that all down,” she said.

“But there’s balance,” I added. “Like right now, I’m on the core committee for a women’s retreat that will be held at our parish next summer, but I’m not taking on anything else. I’ve learned to do one thing at a time. While I want to do everything, I don’t have to do it all at once. Balance is the key.”

As she pondered that statement, I explained why.

“I’ve learned the importance of daily prayer,” I said. “I love to sit around and read my Bible—it really is a good book!”

I laughed.

“But honestly, I need time to pray. It fuels me. It guides and directs me. It energizes me. I need it like the air [that we breathe].”

My dreams weren’t always powered by prayer. I wanted a horse, but never did get one. Maybe that was my dream for myself rather than God’s plan for me. However, I always envisioned becoming a writer and, sure enough, that happened. Maybe that was God’s plan for me all along.

Indeed, dreams can express God’s desires for our lives. A couple of octogenarians taught me that.

At age 88, John and Rosalie, exceedingly prayerful people, announced their dream to move to Italy, where their granddaughter lived. They planned to move when they turned 90.

Some people thought they were crazy. I just observed.

One day, John confided in me that if something happened to him, he would feel better if Rosalie was in Italy, where their granddaughter was a pharmacist and the doctors would make home visits. It was important to John.

Shortly before their move, John fell, broke his hip and ended up in a nursing home. When I visited him, however, he was making travel plans for their upcoming move to Italy.

John healed quickly.

Months later, the couple, now 90, headed overseas, where they promptly settled in among extended family. Several members of our congregation went to visit.

Incredibly, John died the following year. Rosalie, as he had hoped, is surrounded by family and caring physicians. In addition, she attends Mass every day.

I believe their dream arose from their prayerful lives. It wasn’t easy to leave their home of three decades, but they knew what they had to do.

As this New Year develops, let us pray to know God’s will for our lives. We simply need to discern the still small voice that prompts us to action.

What is your dream? With God, anything is possible. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to follow his lead.

(Debra Tomaselli lives in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Her column appears in several diocesan newspapers. Her e-mail address is dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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