Do we form no friendships because our friends might be taken from us? Do we refuse to love because we may be hurt? Do we forsake our dreams because hope has been deferred? To desire is to open our hearts to the possibility of pain; to shut down our hearts is to die altogether. The full proverb reads this way: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” The road to life and joy lies through, not around, the heartsickness of hope deferred. A good friend came to this realization recently. As we sat talking over breakfast, he put words to our dilemma:
I stand at the crossroads, and I am afraid of the desire. For forty-one years I’ve tried to control my life by killing the desire, but I can’t. Now I know it. But to allow it to be, to let it out is frightening because I know I’ll have to give up the control of my life. Is there another option?
The option most of us have chosen is to reduce our desire to a more manageable size. We allow it out only in small doses—just what we can arrange for. Dinner out, a new sofa, a vacation to look forward to, a little too much to drink. It’s not working. The tremors of the earthquake inside are beginning to break out.