I used to be the “Hitch” of dreams.
You know you’ve seen the movie…
Will Smith (who is proof that skinny little rappers with big ears can be something if they apply themselves) plays a match maker of sorts. He helps guys get the girl of their dreams against insurmountable odds. (In other words, he coached them on meeting, and making a first impression on, women who were WAY out of their league.)
Hitch’s premise was that all women want to be loved and want a relationship even if they didn’t know it yet.
Anyway, Hitch was good at his profession. I mean, good.
Men all over Manhattan sought this guru of masculine allurement. And gladly paid his fee.
Hitch got men married. Goofy little dorks and the balding middle aged found confidence and prowess, at his instruction, leading them to the open doors of their desired one’s heart.
Hitch was a success.
(If you remember the movie, you may now skip ahead.)
See, Hitch was alone and lonely.
That in which he was powerful for others, he found to be powerlessness in himself.
In his personal life he was a master of one-night-stands, but incompetent in long term monogamy and fulfillment.
The reason was played out in recalling scenes of his college life.
As the montage falls across the screen, we see Hitch as the fumbling, spectacled buffoon, who fell in love only to find fidelity unrequited, but rather massaging the tonsils of another during a torrential downpour.
Hitch. While sneering at such naiveté in his clientele, he also found himself living vicariously in their victory: the winning over of love.
He was the Hitch of Love.
I was the Hitch of dreams.
I had dreams.
I was that simple college student, clumsy with Trapper Keepers and sloppily dressed.
But my search, my desire was not for feminine companionship, but for a dream.
My dream? Simple. I wanted the world to change.
And I traded everything I could release for that dream.
My family joined me in chasing this dream and followed it around the world, only to return feeling like Hitch.
Metaphorically speaking (stop and read those two words again).
Metaphorically speaking, I stood, soaking wet, staring through rain-dropped windows, at my love, my dream in the arms of another…slipping out of my hands.
I realized my dreams were not to be realized and gave up. I didn’t just give up on that dream.
I gave up on dreaming. I gave up on the world ever changing.
But what is a dreamer to do? Can a dreamer just stop dreaming? Can a dreamer pretend dreams don’t exist?
Bold courage was replaced by trembling cowardice.
However, I knew there had to be a place for dreaming.
I became that “has-been” stage parent, whose own hopes of being “somebody” slipped away and now must be lived out in the lives of their children.
I became the “Hitch of Dreams.”
I grieved the tragic death of my dreams and reckoned the risk of resuscitation was not worth another loss.
I found myself projecting my own desire for dreaming on to others. I found an easy-out in the lives of those around me.
I replaced my dreams with a desire to see others’ dreams come true.
It sounded so noble! I could be a catalyst…a cowardly, hiding in corners, catalyst to the successful realizing of dreams in others.
What could be of a more noble motivation? What could be a better picture of “preferring my brother?”
What could be more unassailable?
What could be more manipulative?
So often I found myself not actually trying to help people realize their dreams for them, but for me!
I was too afraid to live the life I was created to live. I was too afraid to be Ollie. I was too afraid to really affect lives.
I became completely satisfied (and even felt a self-inflicted sense of compelling) in living vicariously through the dreams of others.
Others' success would be my success, but their failure wouldn’t be my failure.
In fact, another’s failure just increased my worth…because who would people run to with bruised knees when their dreams fell hard on sidewalks of fiasco?
This, my friend, is called manipulation. And is sometimes confused with leadership.
But I lived in this pattern for several months.
Several empty, meaningless months.
Until I was picking up trash somewhere over Utah.
“Failure” brought me to a new career, working as a flight attendant. And being in a profession abounding with emptiness and loneliness, seemed the perfect place for vicarious dreaming.
I could run from my dreams, encourage others to pursue theirs and hide in anonymity.
My distant-reach hiding place of Sinai was at thirty-five thousand feet.
So high, so low.
And I was flying to Las Vegas.
Collecting trash from passengers, I came upon a burning bush, of sorts.
A passenger holding an intriguing book.
A book about a Celestial Being who gives dreams to humans.
In fascination, I asked the passenger about the book.
I thought it could be a great resource for helping other’s dreams come true and my living life by proxy.
The passenger began to tell me about the book, but then stopped.
“What is your dream, Ollie?”
Suddenly, I was confronted with a mirror. What was my dream?
My dream died.
I had a funeral.
I buried my dream on a dirt road in a rural Central Georgia county, after hurling curses at that Celestial Being who gives away those dreams—and sometimes pulls them right from beneath our feet.
That Celestial Being, also known to some as God, in my heart he is now, in simplicity, Daddy.
My mouth opened and these words came out, coldly, “I don’t have a dream anymore. My dream now is to see others’ dreams come true.”
And then I felt a deep sense of pride in my false humility. This random passenger would surely think he was in the presence of a great servant!
On my knees in a Boeing 737, next to his seat, this random passenger looked me squarely in the eyes and began to tear up as he said, “Ollie! You HAVE to have a dream! The world needs your dream!”
Suddenly, I was rescued by a hi-lo chime and an announcement, “We’ve begun our initial descent…”
It was time to get up, leave the mirror and go to work!
After landing, in the mad rush of passengers eagerly seeking riches, one passenger came to the back of the plane.
You guessed it.
He said, “Ollie, I’m supposed to give you this book. Promise me you’ll at least read it.”
I said okay.
I spent the next twenty-four hours bouncing between reading this book, talking to my wife and wiping infinite amounts of tears and mucous.
I decided to turn around.
I decided to live.
I decided to dream.
As far as I had run from living my dream, as diligently as I had worked to live through others, suddenly I found myself back.
Although this resurrected being was wrapped in the remnants of death, the dream was back-to-life and ready to be refined.
Over the last year or so, I’ve had learned so much.
I’ve realized the only way to truly encourage others to be all they can be, to live their dreams and chase them with reckless abandon, is to do the same.
It’s very frightening.
It’s very, very risky.
But, I’m no longer Hitch.
I’m Ollie, a dreamer.
I’m a dreamer, alive.