Max has a habit of falling on his back when I bend down to pet him. Sometimes, it happens even before I touch his head. He falls over and rolls around so that his belly is easy to scratch.
And because I’m a sucker, I usually give in and give him a belly rub.
Max has modest dreams – getting the occasional treat, having a fun run every now and then, and, most prominently, getting as many belly rubs as possible.
Even though these dreams are modest, Max has taught me how to make them come true. He does not just sit around waiting for the belly rubs to come to him. Rather, he creates opportunities and takes advantage of the best times to flop on his back.
I, on the other hand, too often sit around hoping my dreams will magically come true. Or, I wait for just the perfect opportunities. And so I wait and wait and wait, and those dreams get polished and fine tuned, but do not become a reality.
To be honest, though, Max’s dreams do not always come true. He flops down for a belly rub a lot, and he only gets the desired results about half the time (that’s actually also his posture when he knows he did something bad). But the fact that he fails about as much as he succeeds does not deter him. He knows that his dream of constant belly rubs is worth the failures, and he is sure not to miss any opportunities.
Max has taught me that if the dream really is worth it, I just have to go for it. I have to trust that even if I am not fully prepared, even if it doesn’t work out sometimes, or even if it takes a few tries, that I have to flop over and go for it. And he has taught me that if I never try, those dreams will certainly fade away unfulfilled.
Max has also taught me that striving after dreams is a vulnerable thing to do. In rolling over and exposing his belly, Max puts himself in a very vulnerable position. And though following my own dreams does not always leave me physically vulnerable, it is usually a scary thing, because something I really care about is on the line. And in sharing my dreams in order to try to make them a reality, I have to share a deep, meaningful part of myself with the world.
Despite the possibility of failure and the vulnerability inherent in following dreams, Max has taught me that they do come true when my effort and the right circumstances align. And even if they don’t always make it, it is worth trying.
So, thank you Max for encouraging me to follow my dreams, even when I am likely to fail. Thank you for teaching me that expressing vulnerability in following those dreams can be meaningful and powerful. And you are welcome for my role in helping to make your dreams come true!