I love that this holiday celebrates Dr. King’s role in the transformation of our society. I know I’m not alone in being stirred every time I hear his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In honor of Dr. King and his legacy, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes. I would imagine he was familiar with these words and that they would have spurred him on when the dominant attitude was flinty and the prospect of change seemed bleak:
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
~ Harriet Tubman, escaped slave, Civil War soldier and abolitionist, 1820-1913
But it’s hard to reach for stars.
- People will probably call you a dreamer (which would be true), but they’ll use the term pejoratively.
- You won’t be unanimously supported, because folks often don’t appreciate those who break with the norm and defy the status quo.
- You might have to forego comfort and security.
- You will have to risk, and that can be scary.
But our world needs changing — in more ways than I could even list here. In 2014, why not upset your routine, think outside the box, dare to be misunderstood — to reach for that star with your name on it?
I had a friend who really wanted to be an actor. Professionally. He sort of tap danced all around the profession his whole life without ever diving into it head first. He’s not with us anymore, so there’ll be no reaching for any star with his name on it, and I (as well as the rest of the world) will never know what memorable dramatic roles he might have brought to life.
I have another friend who is amazing with horses. She has a sense that she’d really be good at helping special needs kids with equestrian therapy, but has decided to delay this pursuit until retirement. Yet the tears that well up in her eyes when she talks about doing this make me wish she’d reach for that star now — in 2014. Some very important young people really need her, and she might just need them too.
Why do you suppose it is that we ditch our dreams? Maybe we just don’t recognize that we, according to Ms. Tubman (and she would know), do have strength, patience and passion at the ready. I am pretty confident most of us exercise only a fraction of our potential strength; our patience, though meager, is something that can be cultivated and grown, especially while reaching for our dream, with its promise of bringing positive change in the world ever before us. And I submit, unless we’re engaging our passion — that which resonates deep in our hearts — we’re not fully alive.
Some say a dream has been deposited in the heart of every individual, and that each person’s dream contains the blueprint for how to live his or her life. If you survey people, these dreams are quite varied, strewn across a wide spectrum of interests and pursuits. Many are creative in an outright sense – like dance or architecture, but whenever a person is following his or her passion, creativity will necessarily be involved, even in fields in which that might seem less likely.
I believe a world in which everyone is following his or her dream would be amazing — I can only imagine.
What’s the one thing that would cause you to wake up in the morning with the thought, “I can’t believe I get to _________ today!”
- For those who are already reaching for you star, keep on keeping on. Inspire us.
- If you know it, but haven’t yet taken action, I urge you — pursue the dream.
- If you can’t yet identify the dream, please explore.
Because the world needs you. It needs me. It needs us — every one. Dreaming. Being strong. Exercising patience. Engaging our passion.
Reaching for the stars and changing our world in 2014.