Today I was reminded of the fragility of a dream. A 12-year-old girl approached me at Panera during lunch hour. I was stressed out, exhausted and focused on my research paper. I had seen her walking around, talking to people and passing out flyers and I knew it was only a matter of time she would come to my table. As soon as she came, I immediately looked up and said, “I’m sorry, I have no money on me. I cannot buy your candy.” She smiled politely and introduced herself as Diamond and asked if I wanted a flyer to keep as a reminder to donate when I get the chance. She also asked if I was an athlete, “you have one of those faces,” she said. I curtly replied with “Yeah, I’m a soccer player. Thanks for the flyer. I’ll take a look at it when I get the chance.” I quickly looked back down to my paper and she walked away. 20 minutes later, I looked at the flyer and a huge lump grew in my throat. She was fundraising money for her upcoming chess tournament. I, of all people, did not treat her with the respect and courtesy she treated me. Immediately, I got up and walked over to her and asked her to tell me her story.
Like me, Diamond is a girl with a dream. She longs to be a renowned chess player and certainly is climbing the ranks quickly. She already has 9 chess championships to brag about. The second oldest of four, Diamond hopes to be a shining example of what it means to set a dream and go after it for her younger brothers. I gave her a sincere hug and said, “You are doing a great job. Please keep up with it, whether it is through chess or another dream. I know what it is like to go after a dream and it is one of the greatest joys in life.” She smiled and thanked me. I walked away, clutching the flyer and made a mental note to send her a check. I promise you, I did send her a check along with a note of encouragement.
I felt incredibly humbled after hearing her story. This was a lesson from God to remind me of how important it is to recognize other people’s dreams. I am not the only one with a dream. But I certainly am blessed to have been able to achieve my soccer dream twice. Lately, I have become so wrapped up in my own dream that I have forgotten to pay attention to my friends’ dreams and do what I can to support them. Dreams are fragile; we must nurture them as much as we can. The smallest gesture can help that dream grow and bloom one day.
Soccer is my life yesterday, today, tomorrow and for however long I live and breathe. I needed a reminder of my passion and love for soccer. Everyday is a struggle, but it is a characteristic of a strong dream. I give up sleep, lazy Sundays, hangouts with friends but it brings me that much closer to achieving my dream for a third time. It’s worth that much to me.
Diamond reminded me that we all have a dream. It is up to us to put it on the shelf for later or live in the moment and go after it as much as we can. I challenge you to chase your dream. Dream big and go for it! In the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, "It does not do to dwell on your dreams, and forget to live."