Dreams Deferred

By Jamie Warner – 

In our youth, we not only cannot help but dream of what the future may hold, we relish the ability to do so. We dream big, audacious dreams of grandeur. Boys left to their imaginations will pick up a stick in the yard that immediately becomes a sword or a gun in the hands of the unlikely hero in order to save the day. We dream of shipping off to faraway lands to battle against tyranny and oppression with our comrades-in-arms, or rush into a burning building to rescue neighbors from certain death or chasing “bad guys” down and bringing them to justice while protecting the innocent. We dream big, and we dream often. And this dreaming, for so many, guides and directs us to make life choices that will bring those dreams to life. We became what we dreamt of: heroes.

Unfortunately, all too often, that’s where the fantasy ends and reality hits us like a well-aimed throat-punch, leaving many choking and gasping, desperately trying to suck air – and life – back into our lungs. We find that the hero in us has been beaten down by hurting. The brotherhood we once had and cherished has been replaced with self-banishment. The noble protector has been inundated with pain. And the once proud warrior has been stripped of purpose. When we reach that point of ceaseless hurting, isolation, pain, and purposelessness, life appears hopeless.

As the twenty-three Warriors arrived at SkyRose Ranch in central California this early November, it seemed as all of nature knew their thoughts and moods. Hills, dry from a lack of rain, come across as forlorn and lifeless. The sky was empty except for the faint hint of blue that stretched from horizon to horizon devoid of interest. The men began to gather in the living room of the lodge uncertain of what was in store for them this week. As darkness descended on the ranch, the Mighty Oaks staff and instructors began the Legacy Program Monday night with purpose and a goal: Breathe new life into these Warriors by introducing them to the Author of Life. The pace is fast, the truths are relentless, the healing is palpable. Each day, each class, every team breakout hope progressively restored and purpose steadily formed as these men began to understand God’s plan and apply strategies to align with the life He created them to live.

A week that began hopeless, directionless, and desperate, finished as a celebration of restoration and transformation. New life was indeed found. Families will begin to rebuild and reconnect, lives have been changed, and legacies have begun to reshape. The heroic dreams of youth are becoming reality. These Warriors are charging into a new battle as mighty heroes to those in their lives. What a wonderous sight it was to, yet again, watch the Creator do what only He can do in His creation.

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