Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dreams Deferred

Dreamers for Joy
"In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;
 
Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?"

-Lewis Carroll

It is a well known fact that from birth we are destined to grow old and eventually die. What is not so well known is that is merely the physical death. There is also the emotional death. The death of the ability to dream and to love and to wonder. 

A simple example would be as follows. A daughter with a heart full of dreams grows up to be a wife and then a mother. Through divorce and financial struggles the woman will say goodbye to the little girl while still hoping that she would find her ever after. She will, as many do, eventually believe that the day dreams of a better life must go to the space that all daydreams must go. That space where they are forgotten and it is allegedly better to live in a world where there are rules and sensibilities. It is when dreams die that we die. 

I spoke with these two men at a park near Union Station. Taxi drivers both. One is my age and the other is a little younger. They live in a world where independent contractor is a thinly veiled phrase used to keep them from being employees protected by employment laws. This has them making slave wages at over 70 hours a week. This is not a job you dream of in life, it is where rules and sensibilities take some for survival. When survival takes precedence, a dream can either die or be deferred. 

A dream dead is a heart that dies. 

A dream deferred means the dream is still alive and the belief in that dream deferred will get you through the hard times and the storm will pass. The dream deferred is a dream that is alive and that spark of life can keep a cab driver living in a low rent studio while a gold coast executive may be dead inside. That spark of life and belief just needs the kindling and a little breath of air to light a fire, but without the spark, there is just a pile of dead wood. Lifeless and without warmth. 

I ask only this of you. Look at the picture of the two men. Forget for the moment their names or their dreams. Just know that the moment this picture was taken they were in the middle of a 12 hour shift making next to nothing in the middle of a week they would do this 6 days a week. Know that three men sat in a park by a train station and we spoke of dreams deferred and because of our dreams, we are alive. 

Look into the smiles. Look into the truth of life in their eyes. Then, look into your eyes and smile into a mirror and tell me this: Are you alive or dead? Do dreams still exist in your heart or did the beauty of wonderland become a cold living death of "reality"?

There is an old saying that man can live 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about 8 minutes without air, but only for one second without hope. Hope lives in our dreams. 

The zombie apocalypse is here, my friends. We are surrounded by the living dead. They do not eat brains, though, they devour dreams. 

Stop being sensibly dead and comfortably numb. 

Wake up from reality and dream. 


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