“I Have a Dream!”

Everyone should listen to one of the most incredible speeches delivered on
August 28th, 1963 by Martin Luther King Jr. In that speech he repeats eight
times the words “I have a dream!” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUP_ISA030c&feature=related) Many think those words were not
fully rehearsed, but came as a result of another famous woman, Mahalia Jackson,
who shouted, “Tell us about your dream!” And the words that followed will
forever be remembered in American history as the turning point in the fight of
African Americans for true equality in America. I particularly love the words. “I 
have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where 
they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their 
character.” Dreams for justice, like the dream that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke so
eloquently of, hit a strong chord in all our hearts. And although the pursuit of
making his dream a reality eventually led to his assassination, children of all
colours now can expect acceptance and equal freedoms of all who live in that
great nation. This story reminds me that dreaming is easy, but seeing those
dreams come to reality can, at times, be costly.

If I repeated Mahalia’s question to you, “Tell me about your dream?” How
would you answer that question? Most children could answer that question in
childlike innocence, but I wonder if we older ones  have allowed the negative
voices around us to smother the hope of ever seeing what we  long  for
happen in our lives and the lives around us? We may not say it out loud, but
we wonder about the value of a dream, as disappointment has knocked us
down more often than we want to remember. Our plight may be similar to an
art student asking the master artist, “Why bother painting if you know you
won’t be around much longer to enjoy your art?” Would his response be,
“Yes, your right, it’s useless to paint, I quit.” With this kind of thinking every
writer would  be best to stop writing thoughts, students should stop learning,
musicians, designers and artists should stop creating and innovating, and all of
us should cease loving and dreaming. Of course that would make for a bland
existence and lead us all on a path to despair.

I remember as I grew old enough to listen to preachers talk that it all seemed to center around judgment. The logical conclusion was, “Save your soul, because everything
else is going to burn up!” But if the truth of our creator God could be heard, He loves to reward good works. You could say our good works follow us  to the next generation
all the way to eternity. I think an artist’s painting qualifies as a good
work. Through the artist’s brush he speaks hope that his piece of art would
inspire and speak to cultures and future generations of everything he holds

The world’s greatest men and women have all been dreamers. Many had to
overcome incredible obstacles to see their dreams take shape. Many, like
Martin Luther King Jr., did not see the day of the fulfillment of their dreams.  It
could be said that every advancement, every beautiful creation, and every
deed of kindness begins with a dream.

Years ago a good friend of mine felt like God was giving her a dream and it was so real that she had actual birth contractions. Her dream was to love the throw-away Aids babies of Thailand. She had no money or anyone to support her in her dream, so she
volunteered her time at a government orphanage for babies with HIV. In those
days no one would hold the babies for very long for fear of catching the
disease. But my friend fell in love for these helpless humans. There was one
particularly hopeless baby that captured her heart. She asked permission to
take her home overnight and permission was granted reluctantly. But over
time this little one improved so much that they allowed her to bring this baby
home for a weekend and then more. Eventually she asked to adopt this baby,
and little Nikki became the first baby in Thailand with HIV to be officially
adopted. That became the dream seed of my friend to build a home for many
like Nikki. Today her organization cares for over 80 children with HIV and
continues to grow. It has taken a lot of sacrifice and pain, but she is living out a
dream that is changing lives not only in Thailand, but her life is influencing
people all around the world. It all began with a seed, a dream.

Recently I watched a television show called Parenthood where a couple of young sweethearts were driving in a car under the influence of alcohol. The young man lost
control of the car and collided with a pole. After the young lady was released
form the hospital, the grandfather took her to the junkyard where the crashed
car was discarded. “Do you see that,” he asked? She nodded yes. He then
recounted how for two years he fought in the Vietnam War and every night
before sleeping he dreamed of having a family, children and grandchildren. He
then told his granddaughter, “Abby, I dreamed you  before you were born,
and you just about ruined my dream! If you ever do anything so stupid like
this again I will kick your ass all the way to the Golden gate Bridge!” She began
to weep. This was a man who loved his dream and it included her. Each one of
us was made to dream. Each one of us needs to nuture that dream, love that
dream and believe that dream is important enough to protect and live for. So
the next time someone asks you if you have a dream how will you respond? I
hope you can say with martin Luther King, and my friend in Chiang Mai and
this grandfather on television, “Yes, I have a dream!”


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