“Stop Living in Your Dream World!”Posted in America, Articles, Democracy, Equality, The Courage To Be and Change
My beloved mother used to say to me as a kid when my imagination ran wild, “Stop living in your dream world!” What she meant was that my fanciful, quixotic ruminations on life as I had imagined and hoped would not come true in the immediate moment and that I had better come back to reality right away. That statement would always bring me back to my senses but it never stopped me from dreaming of myself or a world that could become so much grander and greater than it was at the time.
Someone mentioned some months ago that imaging a better America where all people can be treated with compassion and respect was just essentially living in a dream world.” To imagine and hope and work for such a world is just foolishness and a waste of time,” he said. “The way this country is going there is no hope for a better tomorrow and all this talk about it is just a way of trying to make people feel better. The truth is it ain’t ever going to happen. Things will only get worse before they get better and rest assured the higher ups don’t give a damn about you. They only care about themselves.”
What this man was saying is that I should stop dreaming of a better world where love, charity, prosperity and justice can prevail for every citizen in society. What he was saying in essence is that I should give up all hope of ever living in that kind of society; and that I should stop deluding my children and confusing the people in my church that such a world is still possible and that I should just “snap out of it!”
Living in a dream world does not mean denying the truth of reality and giving up hope. It means keeping at the forefront of our consciousness and being the ideals that life can become better; that society can get better and that while my community may never become Mister Rogers Neighborhood, to use his words, I can still hope and dream and work to make that world a living reality and help make my dreams and the dreams of others come true. And even if the dreams don’t come to reality in the matter and manner that we desire, we should never stop dreaming.
It’s good to live in our dream worlds and visit them every now and then to remind us that a better world is possible and that there are still many good people and great things happening in our country today. Former University of Chicago President Robert Hutchins once said that “the univesity is not a very good school—it’s just the best place there is,” and the same can be said of the United States of America. While some people may not be living their dreams, many people are living their dreams and many good things are still happening to many people in this country. Living our dreams are not predicated only on wealth and other things that we dream of in our society.
The great Howard Thurman once observed, “So long as a man has a dream in his heart, he can never lose the significance of living.” For Thurman dreams add value and meaning to our lives. He urges us to keep them hallow and to strive for their realization each day.
In the movie Collateral directed by Michael Mann, the cab driver, played by Jamie Foxx, tells his rider, a lawyer played by Jada Pinckett, that he has a getaway that he goes to each day. It is his paradise or dream land, which is a picture of an island with white sands and palm trees that he has on the sun visor of his cab. Paraphrasing one of his lines, he says something like, “Whenever things get difficult I just go to my getaway.” In other words, he imaginatively transports himself to the serene and tranquil place where he is at perfect peace with himself and the world around him.
It is his dream to one day own his own limousine service called “Island Limos” where the experience is so enjoyable that riders don’t want to get out of the limo once their fare is up. In that experience his clients will live their dreams and not want to exit that reality. He is living in a dream world to be sure and although the harsh realities of driving a cab daily confront him, he will never give up that dream as long as he has breath in his body. In a gesture of kindness before Pinkett exits his cab, Foxx gives her the little post card of his dream place and she thanks him for it.
We should never put an expiration date on our dreams. We should never stop dreaming and should always be willing to share our dreams with others, even if they tell us to stop living in a dream world and even hate us like Joseph’s brothers did in the Bible when he told them his dreams. We should not stop hoping and working for a better world. We should always be ready to give hope and live hope for something better and greater than ourselves; a place for which we all long that will bring peace, joy and happiness for every living soul.
Keep living in your dream world! There is nothing wrong with having your dreams. Oh rest assured that reality will always wake you up and bring you back to yourself, but never stop dreaming and longing to become the person or create the world that exceeds your greatest dreams and imaginings.
Dreams are the stuff that life is made of and the stuff of life that one day can come true. So keep striving. Keep dreaming. Keep longing and working for that kind of world and never give up your deepest hopes and greatest dreams that you and the world can become what your greatest dreams say that you can become. Keep living in your dream world and keep striving to make that dream world a significant part of your daily reality.