I’ve been dreaming today, and it has been bad for my productivity. But good for my heart. An old dream, coddled since girlhood keeps knocking at the door of my thought and I can’t seem to turn it away. Maybe its insistence has something to do with the research I am doing for my current book. I have been up to my elbows in reports on the effects of technological media on a child’s brain and imagination. The findings are stunning. And heartbreaking. Seems we’re going to have a generation entirely void of meaningful thought if something doesn’t change. But as I read, I am accosted by a desire to somehow create a holding place for all the beauty being so quickly tossed out the door. I can’t change an entire culture, but I wish that somehow I could be a keeper of the old ways, the old grace, so that those who still desire it could find it. And that desire dovetails with my insistent dream: I want a home. A small kingdom of my own. I want it to be a keeping place for all the art, literature, morality, grace, being so heedlessly abandoned in our time.
When I look at culture, look even, at me, and my peers and friends, I have an almost immobilizing sense at times of how unspeakably wrong we are in the way we live. Without thought we are selling our souls because we are spending them heedlessly on media and technology, on lives spent in cars on freeways and in houses entirely insulated from the living earth. We work, we are entertained, but we no longer taste or see the goodness of God in his creation. We struggle after meaningful relationships but are constantly lonely because we have forgotten how to be deep and how to share not just chit-chat, but souls. We can’t read because we are too distracted. We can’t be quiet because there is no escape from the clamor of modernity. I have been guilty of it too. I have been guilty of an exhausted immersion in TV, in wasted hours on the internet, on a mindless pursuit of pop culture and acceptance. But that’s what makes me rear so violently away from it. If I, the romantic idealist of idealists can so easily compromise, who will hold up the old ways and point the way back to life; real, free, and abundant?
And so this dream for a home, is really a dream to craft an alter reality. Not a hermit’s escape, or a fearful retreat, but a purposeful building of a small, tangible world where the old ways still exist, where what is precious and what is ancient isn’t forgotten. It must have art, books, music, and God’s green earth free around it. And it must be available to those who hunger for the beauty and meaning so increasingly absent in our culture. In its essence, it is a shelter, a fortress, a keep, for the goodness of God made touchably present to people hungry to know him. Who knows when I’ll manage to find my little kingdom. Who knows where it will be.
No matter. It is a strong dream. A living dream. And I am determined to hold it close because somehow, I know it is wondrously right.