Let’s Turn This Problem into a Quest
A few years ago I wrote a book about starting again after broken dreams. Any naivete I still had about the world and its problems was soon dispelled as hundreds of readers shared their own broken dreams with me. To this day, the hardest part is replying to these stories without resorting to cliché.
What Good Could Come?
After speaking at a conference once, a woman and her daughter came up to ask me a question. The daughter, Kate, was too distraught to talk, so her mum spoke for her. She said, “Last year Kate’s husband was arrested for a serious crime. Since then Kate has lost not just her husband, but also her daughter, who thinks she must’ve been complicit, and many of her friends, who don’t want to be associated with something this bad. Here’s our question: What good could come from a broken dream like this?”
What could I say. I just didn’t know. And clichés about looking for silver linings on clouds were ready to fill the silence. I started praying silently, hoping inspiration would come.
“Kate,” I said, “your sense of betrayal must be immense. Your husband broke your trust, your friends broke your trust…” And that’s when it came—a nebulous thought that started crystallising into something clear. “Kate, what if you were to treat this problem as a quest—learning how to rebuild trust after it’s been so badly broken. What if you were to face that quest with God and document all the highs, lows, and lessons you learn along the way. Do that and you might help others rebuild trust after their own betrayals.” Kate looked thoughtful for a moment, then broke her silence. “Yes, maybe I could.” Hope had been born.
Hope is Born
As the UK heads into a second national lockdown—more dreams and plans interrupted on top of so many day-to-day problems too—that conversation with Kate is on my mind. Because while some might find in it a silver lining, finding more time to read, clean or garden, as in April, for many others, the problems it brings could be overwhelming.
Good may come from this, I’m just not sure when. But I dare to believe that if we turn it into a quest, lockdown might stop being our master and instead become our servant—the lessons we learn through it serving a greater end.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show
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