Saturday, March 17, 2018

When Our Dreams Collide with Life and Produce Writing

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Love once blended with another. As one. Now fading as the mist of dawn. Dreams once pursued now silent. Like the still of a moonless night. Such is the exploding emotions when dreams fade.

Karen Blixen, who wrote by the pen name of Isak Dinesen, started her poignant biography, Out of Africa with, “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” She went on to passionately describe scenes that had fixed themselves in her heart and mind during the seventeen years of her life there. The day came when it was time to pack up the life she’d known and loved, store it in her heart, and move away. In saying goodbye to Africa, she penned, “If I know a song of Africa, I thought of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the coffee-pickers. Does Africa know a song of me?” She never returned but her book, Out of Africa, forever sings her love song of when she had a farm “at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”

Saying goodbye to a dream tears at your heart as you reel from the impact of hard choices. When circumstances dictated that I put my husband in Memory Care, I knew his faint knowledge of me would dwindle even more as the disease progressed. As he gazes at me with lost eyes, I remind him of his two tours of duty in Vietnam as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. I point out all of the lives he saved and the American dead he risked his life to rescue from enemy territory and the families that now have a grave to visit on U.S. soil because of his sacrifice. I tell him about the business we started and ran for over thirty years. One built on honesty and integrity. I tell him what an honorable man he is and of his love and commitment to our marriage and family. I remember for him.

I’m not angry at God. I’m not angry at Agent Orange that dripped from the jungle vines as he navigated his helicopter into tiny openings in enemy territory. God is sovereign. My son recently reminded me that one cannot mourn the past, only rejoice in the many gifts it gives. So, through my tears, I write so that others will have hope as they bridge the gap between closure of one dream and the beginning of another. I illustrate my struggles in story. With happy endings, because a happy ending is what we’re made for. It’s what Jesus came for. It’s what we’ll one day experience in heaven.

Karen Blixen’s dream of a life in Africa had permeated her soul. As the African sun sank below the horizon and burned the sky warm with yellow, red, pink, and orange, she and her farm workers would often sit around the campfire. “Please, Memsahib, talk to us like the rain,” they’d say, describing her storytelling. This lilting rhythmic style that she developed while storytelling carried on into her writing. If we allow, lost dreams will blend into the mosaic of our lives, and breathe new life into our tomorrows.

God never misses an opportunity to use closed doors to nurture our calling. Just answer the call, no matter where it takes you. No matter how unpopular. Be bold and say what you’re meant to say. Do what you’re meant to do. Be a brave soldier. Know that God has equipped you with the words that only you can write. The message only you can bring. The story only you can tell, for partial obedience is disobedience. Dance until the music stops. God’s dream for us will be fulfilled. If not in this life, in eternity, where we were born to reign with Christ forever.

We’re not to live in the past, but if lessons are learned well, the past can weave into our todays and tomorrows and bring both wisdom and memories of a life well lived. We’ll see how God knew that we’d need the joy of yesterday to bring a smile to today. Sometimes through tears, but a smile just the same. Looking back, we’ll remember that we braved the odds and experienced that spiritual place on earth that is only available in union with God. Letting go isn’t failure but, instead, is trusting God for tomorrow—one where visions are not as clear and the advantages do not seem great. We are embarking on new territory, still seen through a vapor but one day will be as clear as the Carolina sky on a cloudless day.

When our dreams collide with Life & Produce #Writing - @GannonEmme on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

"God has equipped you with the words that only can write." @GannonEmme on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Ms. Emme. I write this with a flowing mixture of both tears of joy and sorrow. Joy because I am praising God for how He used you to bring this message of hope. Sorrow, as you caused me to think of those moments in life that have helped to shape me. Different in some ways from your walk; eerily similar in others. May God bless and keep you safe in His strong, loving arms ma'am. Until the day, you are reunited with your joyous memories in heaven's glory.

  2. Thank you for your beautiful and comforting comment, Jim. I hold your message dear.

  3. Thanks, Emme, for those poignant words. I, too, have been down the path. My husband has been with the Lord for four years. But the Lord is gracious and merciful and I praise Him for His Plan. I choose to remember His love never fails. Blessings and comfort.

  4. Yes, the Lord IS gracious and merciful and has a beautiful plan that will one day shine brightly through this present darkness. Thank you for your kind and comforting words. ❤️

  5. Oh, this resonated with me this morning. I've just had to make a decision to stay home from my 5th mission trip to Malawi, Africa. I love it there, and it has inspired me to write many articles and stories, and even a book idea for middle grade kids. But.... NOT to go? I feel like crying. I feel depressed and disappointed at not being useful there. Oh, I know God is using me and my writing - He's called me to encourage others in cards and letters and children's stories all the time. But.... well His stay-at-home plan right now is hard to take. Thank you for writing about this so beautifully.

  6. Thank you for sharing, Jackie. We weep when God closes doors we’ve prayed so hard to open. However, in our hearts we know His deep love for us will provide another way - and it will be good - because He is good. I pray God’s comfort and peace and that you can rest in His love and protection.

  7. Emme, thank you for all of this, but your sharing about your husband touched me the most. That paragraph, and especially the last line, "I remember for him," says so much about who you are.

  8. Oh, Karen, thank you for that. Your words touched me. Bless you. ❤️

  9. The words of a loving caring person ,I can tell you love deep bless you dear lady