I write to you today because you need encouragement to pick up that dream again or you need to start dreaming. You aren’t too late, you haven’t missed it, you can try again, you can dream again. I encourage you to do so. I pray you dream because your dream affects so many other dreams that are out there. If you don’t move on your dream, it may never happen on this earth. You were called to carry this out. You were purposed to do it, no one else, just you.
I would like to share a story with you, a story of a girl who decided to pick up a dream again when all the odds were against her and who is currently pursuing it. This has been a very difficult, grueling, painful, demanding path; yet it has fulfilled the part of her that was longing for something greater.
Amanda started dancing when she was little, around 4 years of age to be exact. It wasn’t an activity or hobby that her parents forced her into, but it was a passion on the inside of her. Even at a young age she knew she loved to dance and needed to dance.
She continued dancing all through elementary school and into high school. It was her life. Family, school and dance. 6 days a week, 3 hours a day. That was all there was for her. Her friends were also her dance friends. She didn’t know anything outside of family, school or dance. She was at peace with this as it was what she truly wanted. Her goal was to go far with dance and become the best dancer she could be.
As I sat across from Amanda one day, listening to her describe that season of her life, her face lit up and her eyes were bright. I’ve known Amanda for a few years and have become good friends with her, but as I sat there I realized I had never asked her about this area of her life, dance. Seemed strange to me as I looked at her because it was clear to see that the art of movement was something she craved and devoured. It is who she is. As she continued talking her eyes were still bright but they had a veil of tears over them. I could see the tears that covered her eyes, but they never once slipped down her cheeks. As a dancer is composed in their movement, Amanda was composed in her emotion describing a very difficult chapter of her life.
When Amanda was 14 years old she contracted Mono and had it for 8 months. It would end up taking her a year to fully recover from Mono. She missed almost all of Grade 9 and then was in and out for the next while. She was too tired to continue dance; the sickness had robbed her of her strength and had placed her far behind her peers in grades lower than she should be. She lost a lot of her muscle and thought it was too late to continue. She spent most of Grade 10 catching up on school and adjusting to her new life of no dance. She did not continue. She thought her choice at the time was to close the door on her deepest desire. So she did. She closed the door on dance and moved forward, adjusting, searching for new passions.
One thing I know to be true about Amanda is that she has done everything. She has this adventurous spirit about her that enables her to try things: write a book, coach snowboarding camps at a ski resort, compete in snowboarding, go to culinary school, attend music school, travel to far off places etc. She has done a lot of things in her life. They are accomplishments to the naked eye, but to Amanda, they describe a search to fill the deepest void. With the removal of dance in her life it had created a void in her that she longed to fill. She searched far and wide to find something of equal value, equal thrill, emotion, skill, heart that dance gave her. She gave her full effort to each thing she tried, but it didn’t do.
Amanda was working at a camp when she had a conversation with her mother about her life, her future. Most of us have those conversations with our mothers; I do. We can freely speak of our hearts desires and thoughts and they are right there to listen to us with no judgment, but will reply with questions that cause us to think, “Why don’t you chase your dreams?” Our mothers sometimes hold the history of dreams lost, they didn’t pursue their heart’s goals and now they won’t stand quiet in watching their children make those choices. They often speak up and counsel that we should forget about all the setbacks and discouragement and chase them, make them happen. Our mothers would never want us to repeat the sidestepping of dreams.
Amanda still held the imagination of dance in her mind and heart. She had goals of one day opening a dance school and also to choreograph for her own company, but she knew she couldn’t do any of those if she didn’t start to dance again. The movement of dance was stirring inside her and she wondered to herself if she could try again. Chatting with her mother she said, “If I don’t try dance again, I can’t achieve those goals. When I am older I will have a dance studio, but I won’t get it if I don’t do something about it today.” She started to feel helpless as she described her dreams; they took on an outfit of impossibilities. But the choice was in front of her. She chose not to continue dance when she was younger; now there stood before her the choice to start again. She knew what it was going to take to start dancing again; she knew the hard, grueling work it would take. Perseverance would be needed. Mental health and strength needed. A sacrifice of time would be expected. Amanda knew she had to apply to a dance school. She had to. This was a longing inside of her that had not been fulfilled by other adventures she had taken on. Her mother asked her, “What is your Plan B if this doesn’t work out?” Amanda looked at her and said, “There is no Plan B. If this doesn’t work out for me then God will have to show me what is next. I have to try this, I have to give it my everything.”
The next chapter began. Amanda started attending a dance school on the West Coast but during her time there she suffered a knee injury, a setback. She started physiotherapy for her injury. It was later learned that they were treating the knee wrong, as the diagnosis was incorrect. Her healing ended up taking longer. However, it was in this time that she learned she couldn’t walk this path alone. She needed people. Amanda was used to pursuing her goals independently, but it was becoming clear to her through this injury she needed a community around her to support her. This injury setback took her back to her hometown. When the dream is strong in you, you won’t let an injury side track you. Amanda had already experienced this early on in her dance history and she now knew she didn’t have to make the same choice of closing the door on dance.
There was a dance school in her city that she wanted to apply to. It was an intense program to apply for. Many applied but not all made it through to the closed auditions. Only 200 would advance and from there, only 20 would be chosen. The dancers were usually all in their early 20’s. Now Amanda had a few things working against her before her audition.
She was 28 years old
She hadn’t danced since she was 15 years old
She had no dance schooling for 13 years
She had a knee injury
She needed to audition with her knee injury
This dance school was opposed to video auditions, and everyone knew you couldn’t get into the school on a video audition and with all the above criteria that was listed. However, when you have a dream/goal that is inside you that is clearly important to you, but most of all God, all the facts can’t stop it from happening. We all know God dreams with us, and we dream with God. Due to her injury, Amanda applied to the school with a video dance audition. She applied as a 28 year old who had not danced in over 13 years and with a knee injury.
She received a letter in the mail. She was accepted into the dance program! She thought to herself, “This has to be God!”
When you know God has called you to something, you know that He will provide all that is needed for the road ahead. The road ahead for Amanda is one that will require extreme discipline, will, strength, mental quickness, creativity and sacrifice. The dance world is tough and grueling. The people that are around Amanda do not think that this is an outlandish dream. They know her heart and her dreams, and they stand with her cheering her on, supporting her in any way they can. All this shows Amanda that she is surrounded by people that love her, but also love her dreams. It’s one thing to be loved but another thing to have those that love you love your dreams and passions; they are invested as well!
So today, Amanda is dancing. She is still in her dance program. She currently is in the process of working toward her goals. When the dance days become tough, the injuries are all too much to bare and she feels like she might lose the dream, she wills herself to keep her eye on the dance school, on her new choreographies she will create, on the revelation of new dances being revealed to her, on the awareness that God has her in this for a reason. She has chosen to see the beauty in the perseverance, in the hard work. She knows she is learning, being trained, being pushed for a reason. Each day she says to herself, “Just focus on today. Just do today. Don’t worry about tomorrow.” School as her busy but she has found time to do more! Amanda is also the Founder and Director of FA Academy of the Creative Arts.
When people ask her what she is doing with her life, she shares this story with them. The first reaction she gets is, “That’s crazy.” But then the look on their face slowly changes to, “Maybe I could do something like that; maybe I could dream again.”
The overall destination for Amanda is still being revealed; she wants to have a company of dancers that dance the way she has seen dance in heaven, to see words for worship be expressed in a form of movement, to see a place for those who are not in the right age bracket of dancers to dance again, to inspire the arts and movement and create another expression of dance. She might not fully know what it all looks like until the end and she is ok with that. She is ok with doing today and knowing that tomorrow has another step, another adventure. We all seem to be programmed to want to know the end result however sometimes when we can’t see it, the “not seeing it” cripples us from taking the first step. We don’t move because we can’t see where we are fully going. Faith asks us to risk. Being able to risk is saying a bigger YES to God’s plan. Risking leads us to be childlike on a treasure hunt that will ultimately pan out to be the best adventure we have been on!
Amanda would say to you, the one who has lost the dream or is afraid to dream again, it’s never too late to try. It will be worth it when you do, the reward that comes from that will be more than you could imagine. She wakes up some days and says to herself, “What an absolute privilege I get to do this.” She would also say that anything is possible, she should know, as she shouldn’t be in the dance program she is in, yet she is.
To the reader, dream! And when you have the dream, move on it. Don’t wait another day, make movements, whether small or large, just move! The world is waiting for you to do what you were purposed to do.
Your dream is part of the puzzle; the picture isn’t complete without you.