I have a reoccurring dream. I open a door in this world and stumble into a manor house in the 1800s. I’ve time traveled. Everywhere I look I see things resplendent—the molding upon the ceiling, the carvings on the wood paneling, the oriental carpets. A clock ticks somewhere, beating out the sounds of a simpler time. I look down and notice I’m wearing a Victorian bustle dress, the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Even the air is different; it speaks of adventure and things yet to come. There’s another thing too, I know I have absolute freedom.
I’m alone in the house and explore for hours, finding secret passages that end in the library. I can’t help the smile that comes unbidden. The books that surround me smell of old leather and secrets. I only have to reach for one to know the answers I’ve longed for. Just as I extend my hand I notice something else—there’s an open window shrouded by a lace curtain. It lifts as the wind reaches for me. I stand mesmerized, watching the lace flip and roll like the sea.
Finally, my gaze is drawn out further. Across the lawn, there’s a garden outside, full of color that blushes and glows. Hollyhocks sway with the voice of the wind. Foxglove bow their head in reverie. Between the trembling leaves of trees and the long late summer shadows, I see a man walking. His head is down, lost in his own thoughts. I narrow my eyes, trying to see if his burden is mine to bear.
Something is urgent now, something I can’t explain. I run through the house and push open another door. I’m in an ancient courtyard running toward a stone fountain filled with doves. My shoes echo on the cobblestones and the doves take flight, the sound of their wings like the greatest mystery.
I always wake up then. It’s one of my favorite dreams. One day perhaps I’ll dream longer and get to see what’s on the other side of the courtyard.
In the background of my imagination there has always been things like this. Questions. Secrets yet to uncovered. A great adventure to be called into. A place where my heart was desperately needed. These things linger in our childhoods, told to us in stories we’ve tried to forget. We’ve written them off as a child’s fancies. The monotony of the day steals our sense of wonder away. Duty and obligation replace what we once had—a sense of knowing that anything was possible. Sometimes these old things call to us in the quiet hours when our guard is down. There is something more, it whispers. More is possible. You were made for more . . .
I’m on a journey to rediscover this romance, this deeper thing. And when I say romance, I take the Victorian definition of the word. It’s not just the romance between a man and a woman, although that is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, our society has cheapened the word. True romance is a way of living—seeing colors in a more vibrant light, seeing relationships for what they could be and not what they are, walking through the day as if something needs to be discovered. As if something can be discovered. Enjoying the laughter of a child. Doing something ridiculous just because. Hearing deep longing in a piece of music. Crying at inopportune times and not caring who sees. Fighting for your family. Getting back to who you really are. Feeling truly alive.
For me, there’s something else too. For me, this romance involves getting to know the true personality of God, not just the one or two attributes that are talked about all the time. You see, most people don’t know the God of the Bible. Most people just go on opinions formed in hurt or fear. I’m learning how to listen, really listen, and am surprised at the many ways He’s calling me. The things that He’s saying are beautiful and passionate, tremendous, and wild. He’s comforting and funny, and sometimes jealous too.
I hope you’ll come along on this journey with me. Something amazing happened to me in June. I realized a lifelong dream and went to England, Scotland, and Wales. I decided to stop dreaming and start living. I’ve got a lot of stories from those nineteen days. Perhaps I’ll share some of them on this blog.