With the day in which our country has selected to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday just days away, I find myself taking a little more time to reflect on him, his legacy, and of course his dream. A dream that he shared as he stood before the nation and proudly declared:
“I have a dream.”
I had a dream too. And although not as powerful and inspiring as the dream of Dr. King, it is my dream. A dream that fuels the fire than burns within me, a dream that gave me the courage to take a leap of faith this year without certainty of where I would land, nevertheless knowing that I had more to lose by not leaping.
My dream was to be with my family more, to invest in them the way I had invested in countless other families during my work as a children’s social worker. My dream was to sit and stroke the keys of my computer, pouring my heart out in the form of words that would appear on the computer screen, pausing to stop and look at my baby as she slumbered beside me. My dream was to spend evenings cuddling and talking with my 8-year-old, my head not plagued by another stressed-induced headache. My dream was to go to bed beside my husband and rest, my mind not consumed with all of the tasks that were waiting for me inside the cube I spent so many hours of my day contained in. My dream was a simple dream but it was my dream.
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
I think of Dr. King and I wonder what his life would have been like had he turned to his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and shared his heart’s desire and she dismissed it. I wonder what would have happened if she looked at him and said, “Martin that’s crazy” or “That will never work.” What if she said, “Martin, I’m sorry, but you can’t have it all,” “You’re going to have to choose,” or “You are going to have to grow up and stop with all this dreaming,” or “There you go talking about that crazy dream of yours.” What would Dr. King’s legacy have been then?
From what I have read and from what I understand, Mrs. King stood by her man. And she didn’t just believe in her husband; she believed in his dream, and she supported him.
“This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
Much like Dr. King, I am looking to further hew out some of my own stones of hope. I am looking to move my own mountains — mountains such as the ones that tell me I am not talented enough, that there is no way I will make it, that no one will want to read my words, that I am risking too much, and that I will find myself back in a cubicle in no time. Those things, those thoughts, are like buckets of water ready to drench the fire I told you about, the one that burns within me, fueled by my dream and my love for my family.
My faith and the support of my husband enables me to hew out of my mountains, enables me to move them, and to climb over them. My faith and the support of my husband have allowed me to walk away from the safety net my job was and step into a world of freelancing in order to be able to say that my dream isn’t just a dream anymore.
My husband had the courage to look at me and let me know that I could leap. It was ok. He let me know that I could reach for my dream and regardless of where I landed, he would be by my side to do whatever needed to be done, whether it be to catch me, help me up, hold me, wipe my tears or do a happy dance with me. He let me know that I dreamed a dream worth dreaming, and whether or not it was his dream wasn’t important, because to him my dreams mattered and they were worth believing in.
So here I sit, typing away on my keyboard, my 4-month-old sleeping beside me. I smile as glance over and watch her chest rise and fall. The faint sound of my 8-year-old playing with her daddy can be heard across the house. My “I have a dream” transformed into “I had a dream.” You see, my dream has come true.
I will continue to dream and prayerfully I will also continue to have the courage to leap from time to time.
I am thankful that when I told my husband my dream, that when I trusted him with my heart’s desire, he didn’t say it (or I) was crazy or that it would never work. He said we could try and that in trying we would give it our all and do everything we could to make it work.
Life has taught me things don’t always go as planned or as you would have wanted them to, so if and when the time comes we will make adjustments. But in the meantime we will keep moving mountains together because I had a dream and my husband had enough faith and love in his heart to believe in me and in my dream.
Whether it be our parent, a friend, our spouse or even our child, may we all be so fortunate as to have someone who will stand with us and believe.
May we continue to dream. May we continue to do because, so many great things in this world started with a dream.
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Full text for Martin Luther King Jr.’s full speech available here.
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