I like to think that God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them. Dreams are something that are personal and often what we want out of life is frequently at odds with what our parents and possibly the community we live in deems as what is right or socially acceptable. How odd must it be for a Muslim girl to do volunteer work, which often means having to travel great distances to see the end of a project, to actually have a mind of her own and dreams she wants to bring into reality? What happens when those dreams are at odd with perception and social beliefs?
I had this discussion with a friend who I consider close enough to be my sister. She is faced with the same tough choices. What we both understand is that our dreams are ours to build upon and bring to life. People may tell you how you should live your life, but in the end, the choice and the consequences are all your own. The very people that passed judgment will not be there to share the fruits of the decision they helped you make. So you might as well make your own choices. Theodore Roosevelt sums it up best saying in any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst, is doing nothing.
Nothing ever comes easy in life and if it did, we would not appreciate its value. It is the hardships in our journey through life that reveal to us where our boundaries lie and also the extent of our levels of judgment. It is also what teaches our biggest lessons and gives us our greatest rewards.
Personally, volunteering brings me a lot of fulfillment in my life. It is the act of giving, of knowing deep down that all that hard work will at some point make a small difference in someone’s life. It means that you cared enough to reach out and do something. Even if it meant getting up early on a Saturday to volunteer with people who actually need your time, appreciate your endless energy and are thankful for your perseverance.
Those little choices we make, followed by action is what makes our dreams come to life. No matter what people think or say, you know that following your dreams, made your life richer with the lessons learned and experiences earned. Veronica A. Shoffstall, one of my favorite poets writes in her poem “After a While” of how important it is to “plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” That is what I hope my best friend takes from life, that no matter what you do in life, never stop dreaming.
This column was written by a STITCH volunteer to learn more visit