Greek-American Stories: Possibilities

May 12, 2019
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

There are few words in the English language that can generate more excitement and good energy than the word ‘possibilities’ (πιθανοτιτα). Possibilities lead to hope, hope leads to expectation, that leads to good energy and energy can lead to action.

I’ve always been a dreamer, but many of my dreams have remained just dreams. Yet, I still believe in possibilities. There’s the possibility that I will see a Grand Prize ribbon attached to one of my paintings; the possibility that one of my manuscripts will be published; that tomorrow I’ll read that someone has discovered a cure for one of the dreadful illnesses that affects children; that Greece will one day see the glory that she deserves in a world that has treated her unfairly. I live each day with hope that any one of my dreams might come true. I am grateful that The National Herald gave me the opportunity to print my little articles. There’s a song that comes to mind; “A dream is a wish your heart makes, have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through, no matter how your heart is grieving, if you just keep on believing, that dream that you wish will come true.” From Walt Disney’s, Cinderella.

Picking up an acorn my father told me that inside, there is a tree, providing a squirrel doesn’t eat it or someone doesn’t crush it under their feet or it is raked up and discarded. He saw the down side of that acorn. But, I thought to myself, there is the possibility that it may grow anyway, maybe. He was less optimistic than I.

I think about how wonderful it would be if everyone was sensitive to another person’s dreams instead of putting a damper on someone’s ideas or thoughts. Thomas Alva Edison said, “When you think you’ve exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t!”

As a kid, I had the great misfortune to have people around me who, quite often, told me that I should know my place, that I should not express my opinions, that they don’t count, that I should accept the fact that I am expected to learn to be a good wife and obey. “Life will be easier for you once you’ve accepted that fact! Don’t embarrass us.”

I tried hard to accept that as truth. But, somehow, I couldn’t. Yet, every time I tried to break away from that moldy thinking, I was met with harsh criticism and, ultimate failure with whatever I tried to do. Then, I’d blame myself for not listening to them and all my dreams were kept on hold with long silence. In time, I came to the realization that life isn’t a piece of cake, we have to struggle to overcome obstacles both human and circumstantial. It took many years, but I learned to turn off those demeaning sermons. However, it would have lightened the list of disappointments and mistakes I’d experienced if there was someone out there who cared enough to tell me I had a right to my dreams; that every dream has possibilities.

I feel joy when I hear of someone achieving their dreams, having gained success in their endeavors, overcome an illness, having recovered something long lost, finding a partner who brings them warmth and happiness, someone winning the lottery.  Dreaming has no end until life ends. Until then, there is always the possibility of meeting a new friend, or seeing an old friend, having an occasion to dance, another reason to smile, finding another good book to read, and especially, seeing the joy of another beautiful spring.

The possibilities are, truly, endless.

I am proud when I see that my two daughters have achieved many of their goals in life: satisfactory occupations, supportive and loving husbands, good children who are now seeking their own dreams with sincere assistance from their parents. And, Papou and Yiayia are always in the cheering section. Their successes are our successes. As I watch my grandson, Sebastian receive another medal for gymnastics at the university, I’m breathless with pride. Seeing my other three grandchildren doing well in the work they’ve chosen, also, heightens my sense of accomplishment. Gee! I must have done something right that contributed to those wonderful achievements and admirable personalities. Another song comes to mind: “To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow, to go where the brave dare not go. This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far.” From The Man of La Mancha.


JANUARY 22ND: On this day in 1788, Lord Byron (née George Gordon Byron), the famous philhellene, poet, and satirist, was born in London, England.

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