My kids think I’m a little off because I’m regularly brought to tears by any number of things like: children’s books, empowered overcomers, and (obviously) American Ninja Warrior. (One of my pet peeves, though, is when people apologize when they cry as if it’s wrong or weird, so I have made a commitment to never apologize for my Leaky Gene.) Over the years my heart has been tenderized into a pulpy, beautiful mess of compassion and empathy. (And apparently peri-menopause is now an ingredient in my soul cocktail. So that’s fun…)
But recently I’ve experienced tears of a different kind. There are tears of joy, rage, sadness, and even gratitude, but lately, I have shed tears that come from a place of appreciating PASSION.
On a plane to Nashville for my company‘s annual retreat, I eagerly celebrated my limited time without parental responsibilities by diving headlong into La La Land. I’d been meaning to see it, but secretly expected it to be trendy, annoying, self-congratulatory and garish. And it kinda was but mostly wasn’t. I slowly grew to love it in the most unconventional ways. It was somehow pure and precious and I teared up throughout, eventually reaching a barely stifled Ugly Cry by the end. (Fortunately my husband was locked into Fixer Upper – bless! – and the stranger on the other side had been lulled to sleep by Bad Moms.)
The original movie musical celebrated and commiserated with the dreamers and idealists of the world – of which I have been a card carrying member for most of my life. And though I sometimes try to curb my nature in order to survive a world that often doesn’t acknowledge how much we need us, I am shamelessly a lifetime member.
I LOVED Ryan Gosling’s quirky character Sebastian’s passion for seeing the beauty, complexity, and simplicity of Jazz music and desiring to save it from an unnoticed death at the hands of an unappreciative generation. And I was in tune with Emma Stone’s “Mia,” wrestling between her fears and the gumption to continue pursuing her dreams even if she may never reach them. And they ultimately considered cheering each other on in their passions as more important than the future of their personal relationship. Apparently the world needed their dreams and passions more than it needed them. Not your usual Hollywood wrap up.
And then I found myself this morning at Bree’osh, a local French bakery that I’d been meaning to visit for months. They make the most ethereal artisan breads with traditional sourdough and the couple who founded it greet you with fresh Parisian accents. My People know that if it weren’t against health code, I’d have my ashes scattered in a place like this.
I picked out a variety of brioche treats, croissants, and even a raspberry chocolate bread pudding (because Food is one of my love languages) for my family and I to sample. It was unsurprisingly amazing and, though my husband wouldn’t agree because he has different passions, worth every penny to me.
I began to read the newspaper articles, modestly hung in the corner announcing their opening 2 years prior, and was drawn to their story. Pierre was a banker who abruptly decided to quit because he “wanted to do what he wanted.” He promptly went to culinary school and worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant, yet they realized that opening another French bakery in Paris may not be the best business plan. So they began a years-long search for the right place. Friends invited them to Santa Barbara, they fell in the love with the Montecito Riviera (common tale), and then waited for just the right store front (another bakery that had closed.)
And I felt a gratitude rising inside me for this couple who transitioned their entire lives and moved across the world with a drive to bring a specific and not as well known piece of French cuisine to those of us who haven’t been able to make it to Paris (yet). So I walked up to Nelly at the register and began to thank her.
And it started happening again – the tears! I stopped mid sentenced to keep myself from launching into the full-fledged PUC (Passion Ugly Cry) and she seemed taken aback in the best way. Through her broken Frenglish, she sincerely thanked me for visiting and giving us their business. And one dreamer encouraged and affirmed another dreamer’s passions and excellence, and the world got a little bit lighter.
And though life seems to on average be getting harder, I feel like I’m experiencing more joy and beautiful connections that are resonating in the deeper places. Because I’m a dreamer. I’m a notoriously absent-minded, often untidy, fighter-against-even-the-smallest-injustices, sometimes-underappreciated-by–those-nearest-to-me DREAMER.
And I have a NEED to express my dreams and ideas and thoughts and encouragements and realizations and questions and inspirations and discernments and critical feedback and poems and songs and scripts for musicals (what?!) with the world. I want to create unique content that blesses people, stimulates curiosity and gives them opportunities to connect and give and empower.
God, help me to articulate what you have planted deep inside me, even if there is a cost involved. Give me avenues for expression and people who resonate. And sustain me with spiritual encouragement and understanding, empathetic, and reciprocal relationships where we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Thank you for being a passionate God who transfers and trusts your passions to your imperfect people. *Commence tears*
What are your dreams? Even the ones you haven’t yet articulated? This is a safe place for them, fellow dreamer.