A friend once gave me a numbered print of a Thomas Kinkade painting which now hangs on the wall of my church office. The painting is titled “A Peaceful Retreat” and illuminates a small picturesque log cabin resting at the edge of a mountain lake in the fading evening light. Depending on the mood I am in the scene appears so real that it has the uncanny ability to entice my imagination into its serenity. If you study the picture closely you might notice that Kinkade purposefully placed an empty white chair in the foreground of the painting to draw the viewer into the moment he had created. It causes me to dream.
Dreaming is a God given gift. Dreams have the ability to take us away to better times and better places, especially when our lives are filled with stress or frustration. The dreams I am speaking of aren’t the ones we experience in the midst of a deep sleep, but rather the ones we have whenever we allow our minds to wander away from the paralyzing realities of the daily schedules and predictable routines of our lives.
The tragedy is most people suppress and deny their dreams being convinced that the quest to turn them into any kind of reality is unrealistic and even foolish. As for me, I want to be more of a Don Quixote who believed in dreaming the impossible dream and of reaching for unreachable stars. In The Man from La Mancha he sang, “And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest, that my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest…” Pursuing our dreams can be powerful.
Dreams are only dreams until they are turned to vision. Vision is the visualization of a dream that actually motivates us to do something about it. If we allow them to, dreams have the ability to excite our hearts giving us glimpses of the potential of things we could do if we allow ourselves to take steps towards their accomplishment. Without vision a dream stays merely a dream and eventually will fade into a forgotten memory.
Let me return to the reason I mentioned Thomas Kinkade’s painting, The Peaceful Retreat. When Nancy and I first envisioned the landscape and structures that would one day become Timber Butte Homestead we dreamed of building a guest cottage that could house old friends, pastors and international leaders who we knew would be coming to Timber Butte for rest and consultation. We also knew that the place we would build had to be more than just a normal functional guest house. We wanted it to be a memory for people and a place that would stir imagination and creativity. It needed to be a Kinkade cabin of sorts. In order to turn this vision from a dream into reality we had to take some reality steps. We had to make some plans; not just structural drawings, but financial plans such as figuring how much it would cost to construct and how we would be paying for it without occurring debt. Knowing we wanted to build it out of logs we started looking at all of our possibilities. Would we cut our own logs or would we purchase a log kit. Where on the property would we put it, and how would we get the infrastructure of such things as water and power to it.
After thinking it through and making our plans we decided to take the next big step and break ground which we did last fall only a week before the first big snow fell. All winter the new pad sat dormant under snow and ice, but the dream lived on as we started the process of drawing detailed plans and hiring a new little company that had just started milling cabin logs in a neighboring town. Our dream of building “a peaceful retreat” cabin is now in its first stages of becoming an actual reality. In the following months I will keep a running blog report on our progress here for any and all who might share a similar dream.