By Maureen Kalbus
Sheltering at home over the Martin Luther King weekend, I am thinking back to my growing awareness of the American Holiday in his honor, since coming to live in the States in 1995. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan established the third Monday in February, being closest to Martin Luther King Jr.’s January 15th birthday, for national recognition of his life. By 2000, it was embraced by all states. Had he lived, he would have been ninety two. Over twenty years ago, I had the honor of welcoming his son Martin Luther King III to my school in Los Angeles, introducing him, and listening to his inspiring address to the students and faculty. His father’s speech on August 28th,1963, when he walked on Washington D.C. for freedom and jobs, is emblazoned on Americans’ minds, and is as relevant today:
“...even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the meaning of its creed:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”...
I have a dream that my four little 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…
I have a dream that one day “every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:...
This is our hope….With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountains of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all God’s children will be able to sing “ My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”...
And when this happens...when we let freedom ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children...will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”
We all have dreams, but we don’t always remember each one. When asleep, we can have one- five/six, depending upon the length of our sleep and the number of our Rapid Eye Movement cycles we go through. Alan Kuras said that “Dreams are thoughts, images, sensations, and sounds that occur during sleep.’ There is no definitive evidence about what dreams consist of, but it is generally accepted that dreams represent a collection of thoughts, struggles, emotions, events, places and symbols relevant to the dreams. Different cultures throughout history [Aristotle wrote about dreams in 325 B.C.] have ascribed importance to dreams, but there is little scientific evidence that dreams have particular meanings attached to them.
Native Americans teach their children to remember their dreams, so that they may use them for spiritual guidance and healing. The dream world is as real as the physical world. Everything is alive and connects to everything else. It is not our body or mind that dreams, but our souls.
In many Native American tribes, a dream catcher is a hand - made willow hoop woven to a web or net, and includes feathers and beads. They are traditionally suspended above cradles as a form of protection. The web absorbs a terrible dream at night, and discharges them during the day. Feathers act like ladders, allowing good dreams to descend to the infant.
Do you remember your dreams? Have you recurring dreams?
There are references to dreams throughout the Bible. Perhaps the most well-known dreamers are : Jacob, Gen. 28 v 11 - 22, when he dreamed of the ladder reaching up to heaven. He renamed the place where he had laid his head, Bethel, saying “Surely the Lord is in this place.”
Joseph,Gen. 37 which tells of Joseph’s interpretations of his dreams to his brothers, inciting their anger.
Gen. 39, 40 wherein we hear of his adventures in Egypt, and becoming the interpreter of Potiphar’s dreams.
Gideon Judges 7 v 13 -15: dreams were believed to be a means of divine -human communication.
Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, in Matt. 1 v 20 - 21 was told, in a dream, about Mary and her baby, and in Matt. 2 v 13 to flee to Egypt, and then to Israel Matt. 2 v 19 - 20
Most of us spend time daydreaming: escaping our physical situations, and transporting ourselves to other places. Over this difficult past year, perhaps we have daydreamed more than usual! We are told by psychologists that if we can visualize what we wish would happen, it can become a reality.
During Joe Biden’s Inauguration, we were urged to “Dream Together.”
Pope Francis once said “We have lost the delight of dreaming.together. We need to dream. Do not lose the fascinating power of dreaming.”
“When you lose the capacity to dream, you lose the capacity to love, and the energy to love is lost.”
“Hope opens new horizons and enables us to dream of what is not even imaginable.”
Do you daydream? To where do you escape?
One of my favorite poems is “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by W.B.Yeats
“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams.
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”
A treasured hymn with which I grew up is
“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, Save that Thou art;
Thou my first thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”
As we step into a new presidential future, together, let us dream of a better, brighter tomorrow and “May the God of dreams and visions,
enable you to dream creatively
and to hear the dreaming of others -
young and old - in your community.
May you be open to new ideas,
dare to share visions,
be encouraged to hope.” Jan Sutch Pickard
Warm wishes, as you ponder your hopes and dreams for yourself, and for our country,