It has been nearly sixty years since Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared “I have a dream” from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial. Well, we are still working on making that dream a reality. Some might argue the practical reality is worse (or the same) as it was sixty years ago. I would argue we have made some improvements as a society but still have a long way to go.
We live in a world that is obsessively practical. Americans love to get things done. We love accomplishments, finality, taking charge. We adore action and productivity. Our days are full of attempts at instant gratification and social media addiction.
The Power of Dreaming
Perhaps the most iconic truth about the life of MLK is the courage to dream. It is what resonates so deeply with so many of us.
There is something inside all of us that is dissatisfied with this world. We are confused, hurt, and angered by violence and oppression. By chaos and confusion. By needless suffering and miscarriages of justice. We long for something better.
When I was a teenager (even into my Twenties), I was ashamed of my dreams. I thought of them as pipe-dreams. I didn’t think my dreams were good enough. Real enough. True enough. Mostly, I didn’t think they were viable. I looked around me and thought it impossible to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.
MLK taught us about the courage to dream. The courage to speak and the cost required to pursue our dreams for a better tomorrow.
We need these kinds of dreams in modern America. We need dreams that pierce through the superficial and into the heart of the matter. We need innovations that imagine, more than what we can do, what we should do. Our dreams are a lamplight into our souls. Our dark places need to be illuminated, shown for what they really are. And for what they really could be if we triaged our soul from the inside out.
The practicalities of change begin with the power of dreaming. And real dreaming takes courage. It costs us something. Change requires a sacrifice.
Dream On Dreamers
One of our biggest issues is that dreaming has been hijacked by wanting. The difference being that dreams are based on truth and desire is often based on circumstantial emotion.
We need a new generation of dreamers. People with the courage to sift through the loud and insecure voices that are overcompensating for their own fears. People who see the truth and proclaim it no matter the price they have to pay. People driven by unity and reconciliation; by the dream of togetherness rather than the dangers of isolation and competition.
Dream on, dreamers. We need your voices. Don’t let the circumstances and the tide of popular opinion determine what you believe. Don’t let what is set be the parameters for what could be. We need more dreams. We need better dreams. And we need to remember the dreams we have lost along the way.