Today I took a dream to the landfill. Literally. I loaded a maroon recliner chair into the back of my Honda Element, surprised I could lift it on my own. The chair had been one loved one’s gift to another some years ago, and the significance of the chair I realize no words could truly touch.
“Hey, I have a donation for you,” I told a friend at a local thrift shop.
He told me he would take a peek in the back of my car before he decided whether he could accept it as a donation. I knew in my heart it was no longer in the perfect condition from whence it had come.
“Sorry, can’t take it,” he said, truly apologetic. He knew I would have drive a good distance and pay – for the landfill to take it.
“We charge you after,” the Spanish speaking man at the landfill said. “Can you do it yourself?”
“No,” I said. “I can get it out of my car, but not into a dumpster without help.”
“There is nobody there to help you,” he said. “See the top of that big hill? You need to drive all the way to the top. Follow the gravel road. Then just leave it there.”
The road to letting the chair go was so much longer than I had realized. One year of hoping the chair’s owner would return and take advantage of the inherited gift. The other chair owner went to heaven a few years back. The chair was a symbol of dreams, and it was also an obstacle to them.
The first chair owner was too old and frail to spend much time out of the chair. The second chair owner was too young with too much potential to spend so much time in it. And then there was person who watched the chair through the years. I was the one who dreamed the second owner would leave the chair behind and find God’s dreams.
Today I took the chair and all the dreams that came with it to the landfill. The first owner went to heaven. The second owner left the chair behind not to find God’s dreams, but to leave God’s dreams behind with the chair. And I, who never cared for the chair much anyway, was left with the chair. A heavy weight upon my heart.
I had never seen a landfill such a long drive from the entrance. It was up somewhat of a mountain, with gravel so big and sharp I worried about my tires. I wound round and round, and round some more before I finally reached the top.
Birds were everywhere, and I felt the presence of death. The landfill was so very far away from civilization. The only two humans there were virtually silent as they left behind their garbage. The birds and rot and garbage formed hills of old dreams everywhere. People’s histories, their food, their possessions, the things they once wanted and needed or could use had formed their own cemetery.
I opened my back door and stood watching my chair. I was afraid when I took it out my dog would jump out into the land of death so I did nothing. I just waited.
The van with the man and his son began to drive away. I would be alone with everything, saying goodbye to the chair and the lost dreams it represented.
“I can get it out of my car,” I had told the man at the entrance to the landfill. He was a long distance away now, and so was my confidence. I did not move.
The van stopped. The father got out of his car. The son got out. Silently, they came to the back of my car – weighed down by dreams that had lost their lives.
Like God’s angels, they did for me what I did not have the strength to do. They lifted the dreams from my heart and put them in the landfill for me.
“I can get it out of the car,” I said, “I’m just worried about my dog.”
But it was more than that of course.
When it is time to let go of what we love most in life, the person we planned to spend a lifetime with, the dreams of where we would go together, hand in hand, heart by heart, one, in the Lord, it can be impossible to release our cares to the Lord by ourselves.
The Lord says: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you (1 Peter 5:7 KJV).”
What happens when our care is too heavy for us to lift and cast upon the Lord? When we go the distance for the Lord, when we wind round and round, up the gravel that threatens our tires, when we watch the birds eating the remains of life’s dreams, the Lord sends His angels.
As I made my way carefully back down the hill, round and round, over the gravel, down the hill, to the entrance to pay my bill, then back to the rest of my day and the rest of my life, I cried hard – casting my tears upon my Lord.
I cried for my dreams that lay in the landfill – and I grieve for the chair’s first owner who went to heaven with unfulfilled dreams – and for the chair’s second owner who left God’s dreams behind. And yes, I cried for my own dreams – the ones that would not be fulfilled because of another one’s choice to leave the chair – and dreams – and myself – behind.
My heart grieves. And the Lord knows. And He grieves with me – even as He smiles, knowing He is a God with endless dreams. Surely He has more of them for me. Surely, He has more for you, too.
When you cast away your dreams you have no choice but to let go because of the choices of others, remember. God, the Creator of the universe, is also the creator of dreams. Surely, yes, He has more for us. Amen.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might hae life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10 KJV).”