The Price You Pay For Dreaming

Once upon a time, on the night of April 16th 2012 to be exact, I read an essay online that broke my heart. Isn’t it funny how, at the time, you don’t realise it’s your heart that’s breaking? You don’t hear the sound of snap like with a bone. This night I didn’t hear anything at all.

My husband was out at a meeting, and, because it was late, the kids were all asleep in bed. It was nine pm. I’m an early riser, and I tend to go to bed around then or just after, and read till I fall asleep. This night I didn’t though. This night I read the essay and shut the computer off quickly, but I couldn’t go to bed. I couldn’t say anything, and I was grateful that there was nobody there to not say anything to, because silence is awkward when you can’t, or don’t want to, explain it.

It took half an hour for me to realise something had broken. I washed the dishes and tidied up the lounge room and wandered back into the study to turn the computer on again and reread it and then thought better of it and brought the cat in and checked the sleeping children and eventually, because there was nothing else left to do, went into my bedroom and shut the door.

It must have been the click of the door jamb that did it, or maybe the so-familiar mess of discarded clothes and things to be dealt with. My unmade bed looked sad and empty, and suddenly I realised it was exactly like me. Words of an old song ran through my brain, and I looked away; turned my face into the coats hanging on the back of the door, and, just as suddenly as my heart had broken half an hour before, the sobs burst out of me.

I cried for half an hour, no less. Every time my tears subsided that song rang in my brain again like a punch to the gut. I hadn’t heard that song in years, and I hated it right then with a passion that I couldn’t contain, and everything it represented. It was an old Laura Branigan song, and that one line “I don’t wanna know the price I’m gonna pay for dreaming/Now that your dreams have come true” pummeled me again and again.

Dreams are hard to bear.

The essay was beautiful. It was written by the very talented Vila Gingerich, and spoke eloquently of her childhood passion to travel the world, and how she’d buried that dream only to one day be able to live it. It spoke to me in the deepest places of my own childhood passion, to see North, and how my own plans for an overseas trip six months earlier had been thwarted by circumstances beyond my control.

I still feel it in my body, that night of the heartbreak. I carry it with me, and maybe I always will, like a ridged scar where a wound has healed. I didn’t know then that, only seven months later, I’d be stepping off an aeroplane onto American soil for the very first time and getting my very first stamp in my virgin passport. You never know what’s going to happen in the future. This is the hard place. All you can do is bear the heartbreak of the present, and keep moving forward.

I didn’t know, either, when I sobbed my heart out back in Australia after I returned home with a heart full-to-bursting with love for the good old US of A, that I’d be going back again so soon; that I’d be packing up my entire family and planning a mammoth two-month hike over most of the North American continent. You never know what the future will hold. That can be a hard thing.

I’ve tried not to talk about the upcoming trip that much, mainly because I’m so painfully aware that, while this is my dream come true, so many of my friends and people I love dearly are still waiting for their dreams. It’s a hard place. There’s a price you pay for dreaming.

I’m not writing this to say “Hey folks, it’s okay! It all works out in the end, and you’ll get your dream!” I can’t say that. I’m writing it to say exactly what that song said to me: dreaming hurts. Waiting hurts. Not knowing the future hurts. Watching other people walk out into your dream hurts too.

This is why I’ll cry, yet again, when I’m on that aeroplane. This is why I’l never, ever, take my dreams for granted.

I know it hurts. But keep believing.


19 thoughts on “The Price You Pay For Dreaming

  1. I started thinking about my childhood dream, after I became disabled. It was all I could think about…When I was in elementary school, I had the chance to be a cheerleader, and I was so scared,because I thought u had to do cartwheels n stuff…I left the park where the tryouts were being held that day. I regret it so much because I could have had a totally better life,……….. Anyway, I thought better of it because I would not have my 3 Wonderful boys!!!!!!!

  2. Since I was born a businessman all my dreams were goals. I kept the personal stuff out of the way. I did not let up until i was 74 and read a book about people pleasing. I did not cry, but got angry. I never allowed anger in my life, but all of a sudden like an erupting volcano the anger and rage poured out. lol No, I did not harm any one, but a couple of gals head my not to nice language. That was so startling, it scared me.

    I have wondered about things. Did my wife ever cheat? If she did, what would I do? What if my kids start dying before me? What if I end up homeless?

    My dreams are basic–Hawaii once a year. Starbucks daily. Enjoy internet friends.


    • Cherry thank you. To tell you the truth you’re one of the friends I’ve been hesitant about talking about the trip around, knowing how hard this season has been for you. It felt wrong. Just read a comment on one of your blog posts though that there’s a chance of full time work coming up for you. Yay!! All the best with that. Hope it comes through.

  3. A bit more than twenty years ago, something happened, and my heart became proof against breakage. I saw a woman shot to death, and could not prevent it.

    So I put the events of that night aside, and moved on. I had dreams that predated the incident, and it was nice if they were fulfilled, but no dramas if they weren’t. The investment was no longer there, and I would never have mourned their passing with tears.

    I eventually read to Aldous Huxley’s idea that our world may be some other planet’s hell, and this bit of elegant nihilism set me on the road to finding my heart once again.

    If this is a Hell…I reasoned…there has to be a Heaven. And i want to stand for that.

    But to stand for Heaven, one must be able to look unflinchingly into Hell, and continue to work for the good as the flames roar overhead and the smell of sulfur blots out everything else.

    Takes a lot of strength…Nietzche said that one “should not gaze too long into the abyss, lest it gaze into thee.”

    But that’s precisely what we have to do…and the strength to do it comes from our dreams. The dreams that God places on our hearts are the firesuit and oxygen that ensure that Hell will not take us. They are the reminder that there really are broad, sunlit uplands to which we can aspire.

    It doesn’t matter what the dream is, and no one has the right to quash the Godly dream of another. The point is that this is God, giving us the muscle to walk through the flames for His sake.

    So there’s no excuse to give up on dreams. Especially for me.

    The woman whose death introduced this comment carried a child, and I have to dream for all of us. Because the child was mine.

    • Andrew that is horrendous, something nobody should ever have to go through, and I’m so very sorry that you did. I’m heartbroken for you.
      And yes, you are right. We have to look into the darkness to fully appreciate the light. I pray that the light around you, the glimpses of Heaven around you, are big enough to overcome the darkness you’ve had to witness.

      • With God’s help, they have been. And sometimes it’;s just a little light that makes the difference.

        Like Bella, a ten-pound terrier. Two weeks ago today, she was trying not to drown in a ditch with a broken back. Today she’s a terror, chasing other dogs down in her wheelchair – and running over their feet.

        That little light outshines all the darkness of Hell, because it’s pure courage and faith. Kind of a nuclear mustard seed.

  4. Oh Megan. You’re too lovely to me. Thanks for writing this.

    I’m sorry I made you cry but I’m glad my essay touched you.

    Yes, you’ll cry on that plane. I did. (And everyone will look at you weird. Just make sure you’ve packed kleenex.)

    I am so, so glad you’ve went and that you’re going. Here’s to never stopping…

    • Vila! My long lost travel buddy! Glad you read this. Glad to be able to share my side of your essay with you, because it really did have an enormous impact. God heard the prayers I offered up that night, like Hannah in the bible when Samuel told her to go home because she was drunk.
      Amen, my friend. Here’s to never stopping!

  5. Very beautiful! Something similar happened to me today. I live in Flagstaff, Arizona and I was feeling a bit down today so I laid down on my bed and looked up at the beautiful clouds that were forming before it started to rain. It was so beautiful that tears started streaming down my cheeks. I felt my late mom’s presence saying that everything will be okay!

    I said a little prayer for my well-being, refocused and continued on the day.

    • That’s a lovely story, thanks for sharing. I’m glad you’ve had that assurance that everything will be okay. Sometimes moments like those are what we need to get us through.

  6. Oh I love you Mrs SAYERI REALLY REALLY DO!!!! XXX Kindest,


    Bernadette Black Liberal Candidate for Franklin Councillor; Kingborough Council

    Barnados Australian Mother of the Year, and Finalist Australian of the Year

    Address: PO Box 130 Blackmans Bay, 7052 Phone: 0404060507

    From: Megan Sayer Reply-To: Megan Sayer Date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 7:26 AM To: Bernadette Black Subject: [New post] The Price You Pay For Dreaming Megan Sayer posted: “Once upon a time, on the night of April 16th 2012 to be exact, I read an essay online that broke my heart. Isn’t it funny how, at the time, you don’t realise it’s your heart that’s breaking? You don’t hear the sound of snap like with a bone. This night I “

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