by Annette Bridges. © 2008. All rights reserved.
Recently I was compelled to read again Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” address. I’ve been pondering Dr. King’s words ” … even though we face the difficulties of today or tomorrow, I still have a dream.” And I found myself asking, “Do I still have a dream?”In the days of my youth, dreaming was so very easy. Where would I travel? Whom would I marry? Would I have children? What would I accomplish in my life? The future seemed bright and boundless — an adventure I could hardly wait to begin and one I never imagined ending.
Now that I’ve arrived at what many call midlife, I’m finding it difficult to dream and envision the course for the rest of my life. I graduated from college. Met the man of my dreams. Raised our daughter. Experienced the family I had longed for. And I’ve learned some lessons along the way — lessons that I’ve been sharing with you for a few years now.
Then a verse in Proverbs caught my attention. I think perhaps it’s warning us about the loss of dreams, purpose and goals when the author wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish. … ” (Proverbs 29:18)
I’m not sure why I’ve been ambivalent or uncertain about my continued purpose. The objective of our lifework surely never reaches a conclusion at some particular age. It would seem as long as we live, there is a good fight to be fought — lessons to learn, things to accomplish and experience. It seems to me that the very essence of life includes motive, purpose and pursuit.
Just this week I’ve realized that maybe part of my problem is thinking that the source of my dreams and vision is up to me to muster up and create. This is not so, according to many a biblical writer. Paul says each of us is called with a divine purpose (2 Timothy 1:9). It’s so comforting to know that if I’m in a quandary about what’s next for my life, I can look to God to guide me. I know He always has a purpose for each of us and a vision of how we are to reach that purpose. The Eternal knows nothing of age. To the Divine, we are timeless with endless capacity, ability and holy purpose.
I feel assured that even though I may feel stuck right now, my prayerful inquiry will result in spiritual vision that will lift me out of the muck and mire and into the higher realms of human potential and possibility. I’ve been taught that spiritual vision can unself mortal purpose and give us nobler aims and ambitions. And it points us up the path that gives steadiness to revolve and brings success to our endeavor — our goals and dreams. All good reasons for seeking divine guidance.
Dr. King seemed to understand something about the freedom to have a dream, to follow a dream and achieve it. He said to “always march ahead” and spoke of “soul force” being needed to conquer anything that would try to slow or stop our forward steps.
I’m beginning to see that soul force is born from the desire to do the divine will. This force of strength and inspiration acknowledges and affirms that the divine will for our life is good, unending and filled with purpose and progress.
But the freedom to see new dreams and follow those dreams is hampered when one feels bitter about goals never reached or when one is depressed that it is too late or despondent about what to do next.
Certainly we reach crossroads at various times in life. But just because we reach one crossroad, does this mean there is not another road to travel? Hardly!
My daughter recently reminded me about the great-grandmother who gained fame for being the oldest college graduate ever at age 95. In 2007, she received her degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas — along with her granddaughter, in fact. But that degree was not the end of her dreams. When asked by reporters, she said after college she was planning to get a job on a cruise ship. This dear lady seems to give no thought or worry to the so-called twilight of days!
Her example shows that we, too, must keep on keeping on with our lives — never losing our wonder, desire or expectation. There’s no reason to lose anticipation for life with its many adventures, lessons and rewards. But there are infinite reasons to live our God-endowed life to the fullest. And we find these reasons as our vision is inspired, maintained and directed by our loving Father.
So, we can keep marching ahead, not allowing any fear, opinion, prediction or theory — nor pain or illness – to stop us from achieving our life purpose. And you and I will proclaim, in the words of Dr. King, “I have a dream today.” And then, we will live our dreams.