I have a bit of a confession to make: I have a dream guy. And I mean that quite literally.
Allow me to explain: when I was younger, one person in particular from my daily life would show up in my dreams every now and again. As we grew closer, unsurprisingly, the dreams became more frequent. But when it later became obvious that the person in my dreams and the person in real life were not one and the same, and that it really wasn’t a good idea to get involved with him, I didn’t. The problem, however, was that, even though I had cast any thought of this person far from my mind, he would still appear consistently in my dreams.
‘It’s okay,’ I thought to myself. ‘No big deal. This was my first crush! It might take some time for my subconscious to catch up, but he’ll go away eventually, right?’
Well, it’s been nearly a decade since then, and this guy’s still showing up. Not as the main character anymore, but certainly always there, standing silently somewhere in the background. I’ve long since moved on with my life, and I’m in a serious relationship now, so what gives?
I honestly couldn’t tell you the answer to that, because I don’t know myself. But I’ll tell you what I do know. If modern psychology and/or every Hollywood rom-com in existence were to be believed, the conclusion would be that I still haven’t truly let go of this person, that I still have unresolved feelings for him, or worse, that I should seek him out and “test the waters,” serious boyfriend or not.
But I know with firm conviction that these ideas are wrong. Why? Because secular society deals in dreams. Illusions, vanities, false idols—call them whatever you like; the point is that conventional wisdom would have us chasing illusory goals such as having the “latest” gadget or finding the ever-elusive “one” for all of eternity. As Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is quick to point out, instead of recognizing God as the one true infinite, the One who satisfies our restless spirits and whose depths we could never plumb, we make people, objects, money, even mere ideas our infinite.
My dream guy is an idea, an infinite of sorts, and in my teenage years, I was foolish enough to put faith in that idea. But ideas like these do not last, nor are they helpful in seeking out the kind of love that does.
Eventually, I put my faith in God and let Him decide who I should be with. But the man that God was pleased to bless me with is nothing at all like my dream guy. At first, I’ll admit, I was concerned. ‘He doesn’t fit the mold,’ I thought. ‘Is it possible that I’m settling?
Not at all. I was settling when I had chased after the world’s model of what love is. Not running away from what God offered me, despite my superficial reservations? That was a leap of faith. It was also the best decision that I have ever made.
My life with my boyfriend is as far removed from a romantic-comedy as it could possibly be, but I have never been happier. Why? Because I have finally set aside the world’s ideas and expectations of what love should be like in favour of the kind of love that only God provides—one that is free, total, faithful, fruitful… in a word, Christ-like!
Yes, I may still dream, and yes, those dreams may be bothersome, but I know with great certainty that, once I am married to the most vivid reflection of God’s love that I have ever encountered this side of Heaven, those dreams will disappear like a puff of smoke. And once that smoke has cleared, I will be left with something infinitely more beautiful: reality.
Isabella Bruno is a certified teacher and self-published author residing in Ontario, Canada. From Jane with Love, a Catholic children’s book about chastity, is her first publication. You can read more about Isabella, including her blog, on her website.