Written by Kate Besley

Have Faith in Your Dreams

There is a little gold bird figurine that sits by my door. On its neck is a tag that says, “Have faith in your dreams.” I keep that bird by my front door and he will stay there until I’m gone. He reminds me that dreams shape our lives, that dreams come true, that the spirit of who we are comes from our dreams. Now, I’m not talking about the dreams we have in sleep, although we could receive inspiration from those. I’m talking about dreams that sometimes turn into goals, that then turn into reality. I’m talking about dreams that give us hope, that cause us to say, “Someday…” These dreams are like gardens that if we plant the seed of the dream, nourish the soil, and take care of them, they can return their bounty to us. We decide if we will put in the effort and time to care for, believe in, hope for those dreams. If we choose to have dreams but believe that if it is meant to be, that it will happen on its own, our dreams may not flourish. But my life has been a highway of dreams I had, and the care and work I put into them.

I grew up in Northern Virginia, a busy geography of cars, buildings and people…very fast people. When my parents bought our house, it was probably over their budget. Dad was a railroad engineer, Mom a nurse, but they wanted a home in an area where their children would have access to good schools and educated neighbors. My neighborhood was a collection of people just like my parents, hoping, yes, dreaming of a better life for their children. I was surrounded by military families, as we were close to the Pentagon and Fort Belvoir.

My dad wouldn’t let us have a dog because he felt there wasn’t enough land, not enough freedom and safety for a dog to thrive. And in the middle of all of this “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (as The Monkees’ song described it), I had a dream…a dream of horses. I loved their movement, the shape of their heads and necks, the long flowing manes. I pretended to be a horse and made my brothers and friends grow weary of my requests to play horses.

On spring Sundays, Dad would drive our family out to the country. There I would see hills of green, rolling into each other, and occasionally a horse. My family would always point the horse out to me. “Do you see it?” Did I see it? I was on that horse, riding across those hills, with its mane blowing in my face. One day, someday, I would own one of these divine creatures. My dad would say, “Girl, you’ve got champagne tastes and a beer pocketbook.” Life moved on. There was college, a teaching career, marriage, children…but I never forgot that dream.

In our journey as a family, I put aside that dream of owning my own horse. There was a house to take care of, bills to pay, children to feed and nurture. And I now owned a new dream. I dreamed my children would thrive, would be happy. But there were obstacles along the way. My children were over active, could not pay attention, teachers were complaining. Happiness and success seemed difficult, if not impossible. Behavior issues often filled our days, and we struggled as to how we could shape our children’s lives into that dream. I became involved with support groups, attended workshops, learned about behavior modification. And along the way, something happened to my dream. My dream became a goal. I was determined that my children would succeed, even though educators and professionals warned me that I might not realize that goal. Yes, there were days I would give in to those outside voices. I would believe that they were right and I was wrong. But thankfully those days were brief and did not change my vision. On Sunday drives through the country, my children would point out the horses in the fields. “Mom, did you see it?” Did I see it? Well, you know the rest.


When the nest was finally empty, it was quiet. It was lonely. My children were successful, with careers and families of their own. And I was without a dream. But one day, a friend said, “I know you love horses. There is a horse at our boarding barn that needs someone to ride him. Are you interested?” Could it be? Was it possible? I was no longer in suburbia, I was now in the country. Yes, I was older, even much older. Was I able to make this dream come true? From my experiences with my children, I knew how to turn a dream into a goal. And so I began…again. I learned from my friends, I went to clinics conducted by horse trainers, and finally, I bought my first horse. I can remember going to the farm to pick him up. I had not felt that thrill for a long time in my life. He was really here. Many years of dreaming, planning, hoping were melted together in that moment. Dreams can have bumps, and my horse dreams did have their fair share. But today, I sit looking out my window at my barn and my three horses. I still cannot believe I now live this life that as a child I once only dreamed would happen. I still feel my heart fill up when I see my pretties in the field. I’m still thankful for the joy I have when I ride. And yes, I still have dreams, or maybe they’re goals, and now those goals are for my horses. Shel Silverstien once wrote, “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

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