July 1, 2006, dawned clear and fresh on the North Coast and Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins decided to go on another bushwhack into Dry Heaves Creek. The forest was extremely dense, and it took them seven hours to get into the valley. Close to six o’clock, after the sun had gone down behind a ridge, they decided to measure a couple of the trees and then turn back. Then they noticed a top shining in sunlight…When they aimed their lasers on the sunlit top, they found that the ….redwood was about 375 feet tall. It was the world’s tallest known tree. They put their arms around each other. “I knew it was here“, Taylor said to Atkins. “I dreamed about this tree.” (pg. 281)
It’s never too late to see our dreams come true. But first we have to dream! When I was in college I aimed toward dental school, but I never dreamed about it nor did my heart beat faster when I thought about it. It was a logical profession for a second-generation American who was one of the first of his family to go to college.
As my years at Boston University flowed by, I found my deeper passion in the message of Jesus’ love. This passion led me to consider a graduate degree in theology as “insurance” in case I didn’t get into dental school. But my heart did not quicken, even though I was accepted at a school with scholarship aid.
It wasn’t theology so much (three degrees later!) as sharing Jesus’ love full-time that excited me. For me this meant becoming a Catholic priest. My idealism about the post-Vatican II church and the example of several priests I knew offered me hope that I would be able to exercise a meaningful and life-changing ministry that would bring the Gospel to others.
Thirty two years later I was to feel that same quickened heart when circumstances in the church and in my life over the previous ten years caused me to dream about a new life. The loneliness and isolation of the contemporary priesthood in Boston and the lack of candor, leadership, and focus on the Gospel had finally caught up with me. My new dream enabled me to leave active parish ministry.
Over two years later I am now a life coach integrating body, mind, and spirit work. Today, after coaching a client, I received the greatest of compliments. Before leaving, he told me that he felt my empathy for him as I listened attentively to his story. I knew I was the priestly presence of Jesus for this man. I am grateful for such a capacity to love that others feel and know it in their souls.
It’s never too late to see our dreams come true!
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