Dreams and Fears

by Chanté Classen


I found this lovely story in a book I got as a gift from Rob Parsons, by Rob Parsons (he is the author too). So, I thought I would share it with you all! :). I know many of us have the desire to go after our dreams, relentlessly, but then fear kicks in and we are at a set-back simply because we think we are incapable. Instead of believing that we are capable! 

On a trip to the Middle East

I spent a few minutes watching a camel owner offering rides to tourists. Giggling teenagers bounced along, ageing bodies held grimly on to the reins, and to the delight of the watching crowd, one super-cool thirty-something went flying over the beast’s head! But my main memory is of a small boy. He could have been no more than five years old. A little earlier, his father had led him and his older sister over to see the camel at close quarters. The animal towered above them, occasionally showing teeth that made the wolf in Red Riding Hood look positively gummy. The worldly-wise sibling, who was all of ten, had confidently stroked the camel, while her brother poked a hand out nervously towards it from behind his father’s back.

Now it was the big moment

He and his sister had the chance to ride the camel. The boy watched wide-eyed as his sister was lifted onto its back. As she began her short journey, he ran out from behind his father and waved at his sister, laughing loudly. He was totally captivated, enjoying every moment. But then, as the camel turned to come back, I could see his small face change as an awful reality dawned on him: it was his turn next.

He ran straight back behind his father and no amount of cajoling from either father or camel owner would get him anywhere near the camel. Finally, the dad gave up, paid for his daughter’s ride, took both children’s hands and started off down the street. And it was when they had gone ten metres that I saw something that moved me greatly: the small boy stopped, turned, looked wistfully back at the camel and then continued down the road. That look conveyed what he couldn’t say: ‘I desperately want to try… but I just can’t’.

I have seen that look so often in the eyes of not children, but of adults. I sometimes felt it in my own spirit. It is a look that gazes at opportunity, that caresses a dream, that imagines a relationship – but is paralysed by fear.

There is an incredible poster of Taylor Knox, a surfer, in front of a huge wave (over fifty feet high!) at Todos Santos in Mexico. Underneath are the words, ‘What if your fears and dreams existed in the same place?’ I think that by nature I can be a fearful person and especially, perhaps, allow the fear of failure to hold me back. Theodore Roosevelt put it like this:

It is not the critic who counts … the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

As I think of these things, I imagine a small boy suddenly stopping in a dusty street and turning to yell at an old man leading a camel: ‘Hey, mister! I’ve changed my mind!’

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