“As a dream when one awaketh.” (Psalm 73:20)
Do you have dreams? I do not mean dreams when you are asleep, but those glorious ones that come when you are awake, where you are accomplishing the things you like to do, always succeeding in all your undertakings, dreams in which you taste the sweets of love and praise and beauty, where your upward way is lined with achievements, and failures are never known. What a foolish question for me to ask a girl! I might as well ask if you eat or sleep. You would be just as natural a girl without doing either as to live without dreaming.
Dreams are as much a part of your youth as are your fair skin and sparkling eyes. It is impossible to think of a girl into whose life no bright dreams come. Such a life would be dark indeed. Dreams have a large place in character building. In them the dreamer works out many problems and comes to decisions as to what is right and wrong in many changing circumstances. If a girl will watch her dreams, she may know what kind of creature she is. If her dreams are of social conquests, fine clothes, and a life of gaiety, that is what she is in her heart, though her life may be ever so humdrum, she will never be happy till she gets these things she dreams of. She is fitting herself to be satisfied with nothing but that of which she dreams. Her nature is being shaped to fit that kind of life. And how little such a life brings in real happiness! After the best that it can give is all devoured, the heart is left as empty and hungry as before. Such dreams are so much wasted time.
Perhaps her dreams are of romance and love, and she builds great castles in the air around that time in her life when one shall come who looks upon her as the best and most to be desired of all earthly creatures. She clothes him in the richest of garments and calls him in fine carriages, and he carries her to riches and luxury. She is all outside the plain life as she finds it. Her eyes are large and dreamy as she looks into the magical future to which she is coming. Such dreams are foolish and silly, and never build up good, sound common sense. They unfit the girl for usefulness and make her unable to appreciate the good about her. She will pass by true love with a frown of disgust while she is waiting for her love dream to come true. Such dreaming is not only wasting time, but is making soft and mushy the character.
Again, the girl’s dreams are of the time when she shall have a true lover, a husband, a home, and children. She looks ahead in her dreams and sees how she wishes to be a true wife, a good mother, and to fill the place honorably. She, in her dreams, sees many of the very circumstances that have come up in the lives of men and women about her, and works out these problems, always with the thought of God and right. She never allows herself to dream of being other than a true woman, behaving in a womanly way. Such dreams, if not carried to excess, are true character builders. A girl should look ahead to what she expects in life, and endeavor to fit herself to fill the place as it should be filled.
Yet again, a girl may allow her dreams to dwell upon things that are not pure, and she may sip of forbidden pleasures through her imaginations. It is possible for her to become vile in her heart with a mind as foul as the lowest character on the street, and yet live apparently a pure life, just by unclean dreaming. Such a girl has all her guards down and will, when the temptation comes strong, fall into acts of sin as well as thoughts of sin. Such dreams are sinful in the extreme and cannot be found in the girlhood beautiful.
Other girls dream of success in business undertakings, or in some other chosen field of work. They not only dream, but set to work to make those dreams come true. I will say that no girl has ever made a success at anything in which her dreams have not gone ahead to brighten the way before her. She has been able to dream dreams when the circumstances about her were all against their fulfillment. They have given her courage and strength by the way. Such dreams are always good.
And again, we find some girls who feel deep in their hearts a desire for usefulness in some special way in the world. They want to be nurses, or teachers, or missionaries, or gospel workers. Every dream of theirs is of the day when they may be at these things. And, true to their calling, they endeavor to make their lives bend toward those ends. Every glorious life lived unselfishly in toil on these chosen fields, is the fruit of these dreams. Without the dream the girl would never have undergone the work and hardship of preparation and service. Would that every girl had some such dream to beckon her on.
Mary Slessor, the “White Queen of Okoyong,” from childhood dreamed herself a missionary in Africa. It is my privilege to know personally women who have given a large portion of their lives to gospel and missionary work, and they tell me of their dreams, which became more than dreams.
Why do girls dream? Because all life is before them, and they cannot but anticipate the future that awaits them. Youth is the time for making ready, and why should a girl not try to get some idea of the thing for which she is making ready? She is like a person standing upon the shore watching her ship come in. What goes on around her is of little account; all her riches lie out there in the deep in that slowly approaching ship. So the girl stands and looks forward. All that has been in her life, and all that is now, are only passing and of little weight; her riches and joys lie in the ship just ahead.
Dream, my little friend, dream. But guide your dreams lest they wander off into forbidden paths. And do not let your dreams consume time that should be given to present service. The girl who sits and dreams of the good things she is going to do while she lets her mother overwork for lack of her help now, is making poor progress in the fulfillment of her dreams. The girl who dreams of the time when she, a woman, will be kind and gracious to all, one who is loved for her thoughtfulness and gentle ways, and yet who gives place now to sharp words and impatience, is wasting her time. The only dreams that are worthwhile are those that can be, and are, worked out in practical, everyday life.
A girl will dream; she cannot help it. She may let her mind wander on, wasting the strength and power that might come from proper musings as the power of the waterfall is wasted till it is harnessed and put to work. The true character builder harnesses her dreams and makes them work for her, building up pure ideals and a strong purpose to make those dreams come true.
Dream, but let the dreams be of usefulness and service, of purity and truth. Look away to the mountain heights, and, after looking, climb, climb, climb. Make your dreams come true. You can do it, if they are the right kind. God bless the girl with dreams.
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