Life has a way of killing dreams, doesn't it? You set out with high hopes—for your schooling, your career, your family, and your golden years. You have plans, aspirations, and expectations. But things don't always turn out the way you expected. Plans fall through. People let you down. You let yourself down. Suddenly the life you're living isn't the life you dreamed of at all; or you find yourself in a place you never expected to be.
Fantine, a young woman from Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables, sings a powerful song (in the musical version) as she finds herself in a hopeless place. A summer lover has left her alone with a child. She finds work in a factory, but has to place her daughter, Cosette, in the keeping of some cruel and crooked innkeepers. When it is discovered that she has a child out of wedlock, she's thrown out of the factory and into the streets. She's forced to sell her hair, then her teeth, then her body, in order to pay for Cosette's care. She's falsely accused of a crime, and placed under arrest. And on top of all this, she's desperately ill. And out of that dark place, she sings, "I dreamed a dream in days gone by … now life has killed the dream I dreamed."
Hopefully none of us are in quite that desperate of a place, but we all have dreams that haven't come true. We all find ourselves in places we never expected to be. We know how it feels to be so disappointed, so discouraged, it feels as though all hope is gone. If it's not true for you right now, it's probably true for someone you know, and maybe for someone you love.
"Well, Happy Easter to you, too, Pastor Bryan!" I know that seems like a strange way ...
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