Archive for February, 2008

Life-ology: Where Real Life and Theology Meet

February 7, 2008

I Still Have Dreams Even Though I’m Homing in On Sixty

            One night as we sprawled in bed, my lovely wife Jeanette posed a question as she often does at such times. “Honey, did you . . . “       

       “Yes, I took out the trash.” 

            “No, darling. What I meant to ask was, do you still have dreams?” 

            My nose stuck to a book (not “in”) as I fought to stay awake, I answered, hoping she didn’t expect me to go into the lurid details of my typical dreams. They usually involved machine-gun fire, hulking mutants, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar, before he was governor of California. Lately, though, Arnold has been replaced by The Rock. “Sure. But I don’t remember most of them when I wake up. Except for the blood and guts. I remember that.” 

            She shook her head. “No, I mean goal-dreams, hope-dreams, pipe-dreams, those kinds of dreams.” 

            For the first time, I perked up at the thought of one of our scintillating late night conversations. At fifty-seven years old, I occasionally get such questions from her, because she is always trying to find out what really goes on inside my head. I’ve tried to tell her many times that at twelve-midnight there’s nothing going on inside my head, unless it there’s a tie in the final game of the World Series, the chance of winning a free shopping day at Home Depot, or perhaps the idea that we might soon be taking off all our clothing. For some reason, none of that usually stokes up the fire of passion in her soul.

            “Sure, I have a lot of them,” I finally answered with a yawn. “Of course, they’ve changed over the years.” 

            She propped herself on her elbow and gazed at me with her mysterious green eyes. “Tell me about them.”   

            I thought way back, so far back my head ached. “When I was about six years old, I dreamed of becoming Superman.” 

            “Really. Why?” 

            “Well, I wanted to fly. And also have X-ray vision.” 


            “Yeah. I wanted to be able to see through walls to see what other people were doing in there without them knowing I saw them. And flying, well, what could be more fun for a kid?”

            She shook her head with amazement and, gave me that look I always get when she says to me, “You are so hopeless”.

            I went on to catalogue many other dreams. There was the one about being a middle linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. Clearly, that never happened. Another revolved around every woman I ever dated (no need to go into what that was about).  Then there was the all-important vision of marrying the love of my life, which I quickly assured her had been fulfilled with her. Many others about being pastor of a mega-church, speaking all over the world to crowds of thousands, and even having a radio ministry like the pastors I revered who spoke every night on stations everything. But finally I got to what I have always thought as the BIG ONE.  

            “It started in late high school and college. I really got into poetry, not sure why. But I dreamed of being a poet, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and becoming the Poet Laureate of the U.S.A. As I got into writing nonfiction and then fiction, I started to dream about writing a New York Times bestseller.”

            “You writers certainly shoot high.” 

            “Of course.” I went on, “I also longed to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, a couple Oscars for the movies I’d write based on my bestselling novels, having a state dinner in my honor at the White House, and having my picture taken with on Oscar night with all the multiple winners. “ 

            She rolled her eyes.  “Do you ever think in realistic, it’s-possible terms?” 

            “Well, what should I say? ‘Yes, I hope my next book sells seventeen copies. I long that several of those buyers actually read a few pages. I even dream of reading a chapter or two Joe’s Crab Shack on all-you-can-eat shrimp night. Is that what you think I should want?’” 

            “Okay, okay. It’s good to dream big, I’ll admit that. So that’s still your dream – that bestseller?” 

            “Yeah, I guess. Do you think it will happen?” 

            “You never know, honey,” she said, touching a finger to my nose. “We serve a God who can do the impossible, after all.”   

I nodded.   

            “Anyway, you’ve answered all my questions,” she said, bonking her behind against my torso. “Now I can go to sleep in the happy knowledge that my husband actually thinks something at night besides about the World Series and Arnold Schwarzeneggar.” 

            “The Rock,” I corrected. 

            “The Rock?” 

            “Nothing,” I said, sinking down under the covers, suddenly feeling miserable. “Just some guy.”  


            Have you ever felt as though your highest dreams were long ago laid in the dust o foolish early career musings? Do you ever look back on your life like I do – at the age now of nearly sixty – and tell yourself, “Guess it’ll never happen now”? 

            In this blog, I plan to explore those dreams, early-life, middle-life, and late-life, and offer some real hope to those of you who face the retirement years and have to admit little you ever really hoped for has been accomplished. As a writer, I recall reading how some of the great writers of our age came down to their last years lamenting that little they wanted to do had become reality. Some of them did win the Nobel Prize, the Oscars and Pulitzers, and so on. How could they believe they’d achieved nothing great or lasting? 

            The truth is that few people in any generation leave behind a legacy that truly lasts. Remember Jack London? The highest paid writer of his time? The first ever to make a million dollars in one year? He died a drunk, deeply depressed.

            I think of Freddie Prinze, star of the hit show, “Chico and the Man.” in the 1970s. He became rich, married a beautiful woman, and brought a son, Freddie Prinze, Jr., who has become a well-known and successful actor. But at the age of twenty-two, despondent and feeling lost, he took his own life while high on Quaaludes. What a waste, many would say. And truly, such an exit from life was. 

            How about Ronald Reagan? Despite all he accomplished, he spent his last years a victim of Alzheimers, having little idea of who he was, let alone anything he’d ever done. 

            If life turns out this way, why is it even worth trying to make a mark, or attempting to build a legacy? 

            I deeply believe that without God in your life, for many such an outlook will be hard to deflect. It’s like the biblical story of the rich young ruler, found in Mark 10:17-27).  He came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to qualify for eternal life. Jesus told him to sell all he had, give the proceeds to the poor, and then come and become a disciple. This rich man found the answer both mystifying and discouraging, and he went away unsaved and undone. When the disciples asked Jesus what had gone wrong, he replied the classic answer: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples, stunned, asked, “Then who can be saved?” To them, being rich, young, and powerful was the epitome of a person blessed by God. They were perfect candidates for God’s kingdom, weren’t they?

            Not quite. Jesus answered them, “With people it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 

            While Jesus spoke with respect to salvation, I believe the same principle applies to us, our dreams, our hopes, our greatest longings. Right now all may look impossible. But not with God. He is a God who makes the impossible possible.

            In many respects, that’s what I want to show you in this book. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that I plan to tell you your dreams of being rich, owning that resort chalais in the mountains, attaining the top position in your company, or whatever is what God wants most to do in your life. In fact, your dreams may be the problem. I want to point you to God’s dreams for you.

            Those are the only dreams worth obsessing about.  So I hope you’ll come along in the pages ahead to find out what they might be. 



This blog is written by Mark Littleton, a Christian author with many books in print. You can find most of his books at under his name.


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February 7, 2008

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