Last week I was in New York City for the first time in a couple of years.
While I wouldn’t want to live there, it’s one of my favorite places to visit. The excitement of the energy is electric.
Being back in the city reminded me of a Tom Rinaldi book, The Red Bandana. In the book, Rinaldi tells the story of Welles Crowther, an equities trader who was working in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Crowther’s heroic actions saved at least twelve people in the World Trade Center that day. Although his body wasn’t identified until months later, Crowther’s family knew what he had done because multiple survivors of the attack had identified him as the hero covering his mouth and nose with a red bandana.
Rinaldi’s telling of Crowther’s story moved me, but one specific part of this book captured my attention and challenged me to consider my dreams.
It was Crowther’s dream to be a firefighter. Although he pursued a career as an equities trader after college, Crowther was not completely fulfilled in his work. In the summer of 2001, he decided that he would begin the journey and pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter, dedicating the rest of his life to saving lives. He made this decision just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center, and even though he didn’t become a firefighter, he did dedicate the final moments of his life to saving the people around him. Rinaldi uses Crowther’s decision to pursue his dream to challenge his readers to consider our own dreams. Rinaldi writes:
“When did you stop? When did you put the hope away, shifting it from something real to something… lesser? When did the dream leave you as an aspiration and float off into the province of the never-to-be?
Probably, never crept up gradually. No sudden awakening in a cold sweat, no precise moment of terrible clarity. There is often no sharp edge to surrender, no bright line between chasing and letting go of the dream of what our lives could become before we get caught in the gears of daily living, the hundreds and thousands of tiny compromises that move us through the day. The lock doesn’t stop to make the time between the last through when your goal was still calling to you and the next, by which it had drifted past range, caught between radio stations like static, until the fade is complete. Silence.
It’s a creeping capitulation, the recognition of what we’re able to manage. That awareness comes in slow degrees, and at different times, in all our lives. It comes through the circumstances that shape us, the weather inside us, the failures that drag us below a line. You know the line—the one between what we want and what we accept.”
What a great reminder for all of us! At what time in your life did you stop believing in what could be and settled for what is? Is there something you have always wanted to do?
Remember: When we only listen to what’s practical instead of what’s possible, our dreams die.
Consider your dreams this week. Do you have dreams that you need to bring back to life? We don’t know how much time we have in this life, so you better start today.