The Gods Punish Us in Two Ways – Oscar Wilde

 May 16, 2014

“The gods have two ways to punish us– the first is to deny us our dreams, and the second is to grant them.” This quote has been attributed to Oscar Wilde in several different formats. Regardless of what the actual quote is, the meaning remains the same. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario where either way you lose.

This is a pretty cynical way of looking at life, and yet it speaks a truth. Far too often we spend our life chasing after an elusive dream only to be unhappy once we get it. We think, if only this would happen, if I would win the lotto, get that job promotion or find that certain someone, then I would be happy. Then we win the lotto, get the job, find that certain someone and we are happy for a while, but after a few months, it becomes like sand in our mouth, an irritation, and no longer delights us. Those who win the lotto are not any happier than the rest of us, new jobs bring new responsibilities and headaches, and the initial glow of love fades over time.

That’s because our dreams are based on the wrong reality. They are based on the things of this world that never satisfy for long, that always leave us wanting more.

In my book, Dreamweavers, Kevin is a third grade teacher by day, writer by night. He has a beautiful girl friend who loves him. When his book becomes a bestseller, you would think he had everything he ever dreamed of, yet he isn’t happy. Something is keeping him from enjoying the success he had achieved.

Like Kevin, so often we are unable to appreciate all the good we have. We think there is something magical out there that will make us happy. If only we had a best seller or a Porsche . . .

But if we slow down and sit quietly, we may just realize we have all we ever dreamed of and more. We might realize that the reality of our life is better than our dreams. We might realize just how precious we are as God’s beloved children–that we are truly whole and holy!

What dreams have you had to let go of? What dreams did you realize only to find it was not what you thought it would be?

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