Stories that Matter

When It Gets Real … Get Grateful


That dream? You know the one. The one you’ve held tight to, let go of, buried and unburied and brushed off too many times … that dream you sometimes wouldn’t share with anyone because it scared even you? That dream you maybe cried over, prayed over, cursed and called yourself names over … because somehow you knew, deep down, it would never happen. The one that hovered close sometimes, yet still so out of reach.

Pipe dreams. Pie in the sky dreams.

Sure we all have them. And I don’t know, I happen to like dreams. It’s fun to imagine the impossible. You know?

Call me a sucker for punishment if you will, but I’ve always been a dreamer. But it’s a dangerous line, the walk between a dream and an obsession. Sometimes we’re called to let go of those dreams. Sometimes they grow like weeds and take over everything else, choking good roots and covering new growth. I’ve had to do a lot of weeding. Leaves the hands dirty, mud-caked and bleeding a little.

When you travel the road of self-doubt and insecurity as I so often do, its hard to hold onto those dreams. The good ones. Its hard to believe those well-meaning friends when they tell you not to give up. Tell you you’re really going to make it, you’ve got what it takes. And you wonder if they’ve had just a few too many that day because surely … surely if that were true … it would have happened by now. Right?

And so you shove them off and tell them to go find another simpleton to sell a bridge to. But they don’t quit. Those friends. Those lifelines you have that somehow love you, the real you, like you wouldn’t believe. But you know they do because they’re still here, still hanging in there and saying those things. Still reaching out through the darkness, grabbing your hand and holding tight. And they don’t quit. They don’t quit because they believe in you and they want … sometimes demand, yeah you know who you are … they pretty much up in your face order you to believe in yourself too.

So you don’t give up that dream. Because maybe it was never really an option. And so, eventually, it turns into a goal.

See, this is where things change. Because dreams are cloud puffs on blue sky that make you smile in slumber. And goals? Well, you gotta work for those. You’ve got to get behind that thing and push. Push with all your might. Push with everything you’ve got and then some. Even when it hurts and you don’t think you can go one more day doing what you’re doing because it doesn’t make sense anymore. And those friends? Well they come back around. And they help you push too. Because they want you to finish this thing. To finish strong.


That’s when it gets real.

That’s when you grab hold and go … go because you know you’ve come this far … you don’t get to the finish line and quit. You’ve got to keep going because ____ ? You fill in that blank.

For me, it’s about proving something to myself. Showing that shy little girl that she really does have what it takes. She is worth this. She’s just as good as anybody else out there and maybe, maybe even better.

For me, its about looking back at a trail of broken dreams and promises and things left undone, and not doing that this time. It’s about believing. And when that believing turns to knowing … what freedom there is in that … its so overwhelming I can’t find the words.

I can’t tell you why I’m sitting here smiling stupidly, have been for days. I can’t tell you yet. And I’m frustrated by that because you know I’ve got this thing with patience, and we’re duking it out, have been for years, and I suck at waiting. But this time? This wait? It’s okay. Because over and over I’m hearing this … “wait, it’ll come … this is just between us for now … because its that awesome … stay here with Me in this moment … “

And. Wow. Yes.

That’s when it gets real. When you know beyond any doubt, you’re sitting in the midst of a miracle. Your miracle. A gift you asked for and maybe thought somewhere along the way you deserved because you worked so darn hard for it … but deep down you know you don’t deserve anything. Not really. Yet here you are.

And yeah, thanks be to God.

And thanks be to you, my friends, because you refused to give up, you refused to let me give up.

You believed in me and for me and you let me rail and rant and go all kinds of crazy on you.

And you just kept on loving.

And I can’t say thank you enough for that, but I will anyway.

A million times over.



  1. rachel mcmillan on April 29, 2015 at 10:46 am

    happy ! 🙂

  2. Jennifer Zarifeh Major on April 29, 2015 at 10:53 am

    You’re very welcome!

    • Cathy West on April 29, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Yeah you all up in my face friend, you … 🙂 We got some dancing to do in Dallas.

  3. Cynthia Herron on April 29, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Super post, Cathy! (Were you there on my shoulder as I wrote today’s blog?)
    Here’s to tenacity. *clink* And never, ever giving up. *clink* (Even though we may really want to at times.)
    Blessings, friend.

    • Cathy West on April 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Yay, Cynthia! I’ll drink to that!! 🙂

  4. JillKemerer on April 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Love this post, and I can’t wait until we finally get to find out your big announcement!!

    • Cathy West on April 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Yeah. I’m waiting for the champagne to get reeeeeallly cold. 🙂

  5. micksilva on April 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Oh, but this is lovely. So happy for you! And that the long wait will soon be over? Reason to celebrate indeed!

    Every time I think of you, I thank God. You’re the real deal, my friend. And that is so clear in how you embrace the fears and the crazy and accept the struggle. This post is just more proof that you are an example of that principle: if you want a real friend, be one first. You share your true self. And out of that gift, all of us learn to embrace and share our true selves too. I’ll never be the same for the witnesses I’ve known. Thank you, sincerely, for being one to me.

    And don’t call me late to the party…

    • Cathy West on April 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Well, since the party can’t ‘officially’ start yet, you’re not quite late. 🙂 Thanks for those kind words. I do believe I owe some of this fun stuff to you, for being a straight-up tell it like it is editor who refuses to accept mediocrity. Grateful for the paths crossing and the lessons learned, most of all the encouragement you give to so many of us. This writing journey is way more enjoyable with friends to share it – the good times, the bad times, and especially the thank God it’s Thursday times. 🙂

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