There are phrases and sentences that plant themselves in our memories and never go away. We may not always be aware of them–but they tend to surface at unexpected moments.
Sometimes they come from books and movies:
- Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. (Gone with the Wind)
- Call me Ishmael. (Moby Dick)
- We need a bigger boat. (Jaws)
- A great man is passing by. (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Sometimes they come from songs:
- The sound of silence (Simon and Garfunkel)
- When will we ever learn? (Peter, Paul, and Mary)
And sometimes they come from political speeches:
- Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. (John Kennedy)
- We have nothing to fear but fear itself. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
- I have a dream… (Martin Luther King)
While they come to us in a context, we make them our own. And these last few weeks/months, the quote that keeps rattling around in my mind is Martin Luther King’s: “I have a dream…”
I dream of a day when we will see each other as brothers and sisters…when we will delight in our diversity–of color, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, age, religion…when we will honor what each one can bring to the table.
I dream of a day when economic disparities are a thing of the past…when each one has enough to meet their physical needs…when money is no longer what makes someone “important.”
I dream of a day when we understand the interconnectedness of all of creation…when we realize that we are not called to “subdue” the earth, destroying the environment we live in, but that we are called to be stewards.
I dream of a day when learning and knowledge are seen as important…and are available to all…when we see that both religion and science have something to teach us.
But all of this has to be more than merely a dream. Dreams can be ephemeral, vanishing in the morning when we wake up. For dreams to be more than words, actions have to be added to words.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what those actions should be, because each of us is different. Some of us are able to be activists, in the forefront of pushing for change. Some of us work better behind the scenes. Some of us are wordsmiths, creating blogs/plays/poems/stories that challenge who and what we are and call us to be better.
And so I say with Dr. King,
I have a dream today….I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope….With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will he able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will he free one day.