Monday, January 19, 2015

Dreams to Reality

There are dreams we can't do anything about. My favorite dreams are the ones in which I'm flying. I'll be running as fast as I can across a long stretch of open land with my arms out, just like a little girl playing, and suddenly I'll lift up off the ground. Long, airborne jumps become a free-flying experience where I lift up over the treetops, looking down on buildings and people who are unaware of my sky-bound presence. The feeling is indescribable in words, but it's something I feel deep in my bones and I ache for it when I awaken from these dreams. They happen so seldom these days but, when they do, I'm filled with joy and excitement and I try instantly to fall back asleep to experience it for just a little while longer before coming back to reality. Because, in real life, I can't fly.

Then there are dreams we CAN do something about. Goals we can aspire to and achieve, desires we can build upon to bring them into reality. I'm not just talking about our dream home that we want to build, or a career path we want to follow in our schooling. Those, too, of course... but, more importantly, dreams that will change the course of humanity.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his infamous "I Have a Dream"* speech which, as yet, still cries out to become a reality. Every time I feel like our nation is making headway, or that the human race is becoming more civilized... more human... another disappointment comes along to throw a wrench into things.

How is it that, nearly 52 years later, we haven't made much headway in the grand scheme of things? How is it that, so often, one group of people looks at another group of people and thinks that they're better? That they're more important? That they deserve more in life? How is it that groups of people are left behind while others step right over the tops of them to take what they want? How is it that, in 2015, we still can't all look at one another and see equals?

You've probably heard the 'I have a dream...' part of the speech a hundred times, so often that you've forgotten what it even says. But how about this gem?

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of 'Now'. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

His words were true in 1963, and they're true now. They're true not just of racial injustice, but of the injustice that plagues the LGBT community, of the injustice that plagues the low-income community, of the injustice that plagues women in the workplace, single parents who are raising their children and working three jobs, the retired community who aren't receiving enough income to make ends meet and have to go back to work.... there is injustice everywhere, so much so that by taking all of these minority groups and adding them together, you find that a majority of people are being treated unfairly.

And so, in 2015, I cannot stress enough the urgency of 'Now', just as Martin Luther King, Jr. did in 1963. Change doesn't just magically happen. Gandhi said to be the change we wish to see in the world. Have you been treating someone as 'less than' because they are different from you?

Stop that.

Have you been feeling superior to a group of people because you think you worked harder to be where you are and it's their own fault for not doing what you did?

Knock it off.

Have you been assuming that God puts favor on you because of your belief in Him, that He hears your prayers before others because of the works you do on His behalf?

Quit it.

Regardless of whether or not you can accept that we're all equal in the eyes of God, we ARE, in fact, equal in the eyes of God. And so when MLK called for this justice to be a reality for all of God's children, we should be finding every opportunity to do so every day of our lives until that dream becomes a reality.

I can't fly. But I can write. And maybe, someday, words will change the world.

What can you do?

Stephanie Jean

*Click on the link to read the entire speech, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment