In his poem Harlem, Langston Hughes asks, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” What causes people to defer dreams? One answer is the lack of faith in their ability to achieve them. Those who never stop striving, regardless of countless challenges, ultimately find success.           

Actress Emilie Kouatchou experienced such a success. The 25-year-old rising star came close to quitting musical theater during pandemic shutdowns. As she pondered a different career as a yoga instructor, she was chosen for the female lead in the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera, making her the first black actress to play the role of Christine in the show’s 34-year history.

During an interview with boxing champ Evander Holyfield, a reporter asked him how he became a prize-winning fighter. His answer was simple, he never quit trying.

At times the road to success may require being open to modifications or shifts. Milton Hershey, who gained fame and fortune as a chocolatier, started out making caramels. A colleague recalls Mr. Hershey saying, “Caramels are a fad; chocolate is permanent. I’m going to make chocolate.”

The key to success is having faith that your dream will come true no matter what obstacles appear. Faith includes having:

            – unwavering confidence and determination

            – tolerance for changes

            – willingness to go with the flow when guided in a slightly different direction

            – patience, patience, and more patience

Obstacles are necessary parts of the journey for everyone. Think of the butterfly who struggles to get out of the cocoon. The fight to free itself strengthens its wings, so that the insect can fly.  

Another example of, faith being a magnet for success, is that you don’t have to know the exact path of your plan to achieve the dream. The determination to stay in the race, and change courses as needed, will attract everything you need for success…including timing. When dreams and goals don’t occur when we envision them, it could be that we are not yet ready.

An example of a dream only being deferred is the social worker who wanted to earn a doctorate immediately after earning her master’s degree at age 21. Instead she married and started a family, however, never gave up the dream. When her children finished college, she started working at a university that paid tuition for its employees. The social worker, then age 55, applied and was accepted into one of the university’s doctoral programs. She cried with joy as she told a friend, “I’m so glad that I never lost faith!”

To answer your question Mr. Hughes, “What happens to a dream deferred? With faith that we can succeed, it is merely a dream postponed.