On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It’s a moment from the Civil Rights Movement that is etched in our minds, although many of us weren’t even born yet. The speech came, as Dr. King so eloquently stated, during “this sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent [which] will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.”
I’m struck by the year of discontent we’ve just endured in 2020, how history repeats itself, and in that repetition, the opportunity we have to finally achieve the dream.
That said, I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I’ve had to unplug from the bitter realities of the present discontent (as best I can) and escape to my own dreams. I dream of traveling again; of laying in the sun, at the beach, enjoying the ocean breeze and water. I dream of no longer living a life that tires me, and of living a life that truly inspires me. It makes even more sense to me now, given all that he and Black Americans were facing (and still are) that Dr. King spoke from his soul about his dream—sometimes it’s all we have.
What’s your dream?
It may feel afar off, but you can get there.
We don’t always think of the words “dream” and “vision” as being interchangeable. But, according to Merriam Webster, they are synonyms. And I’d dare to say that for a dream to become a reality, you must have vision. They go hand in hand.
A dream is a little more fanciful. Probably because we often do it while we’re sleeping. While a vision can almost flash before you; as you begin to see it in your mind’s eye and walk towards it: “something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy especially : a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation b : a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination c : a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial.
We also can’t ignore the obvious, vision = the act or power of seeing : SIGHT.
That’s really pretty powerful because I’m not only talking about the physical act of seeing, but the soulful act of envisioning. What do you see for yourself? What do you see in yourself?
I guarantee you that your answers to those questions are dictating the direction your life is headed in. Whether our eyes and our minds are open or shut, we are consciously and unconsciously headed in the direction of what we see.
Here’s what else I found really interesting in the definition of vision, how it’s impacted by light:
b : the special sense by which the qualities of an object (such as color, luminosity, shape, and size) constituting its appearance are perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve.
Our perceptions of what we see are transformed by the light we have entering our eyesight. In order to see clearly, in order for your vision to become a reality, you need light.
I know, 2020 was dark for many of us, but I’m challenging you to turn on the light! You don't need a new vision, or dream, you need a new perspective and a fresh revelation of that vision—infused by light to see it more clearly.
What’s the vision that you have of you, for you? Is it different than who you’ve HAD to be all these years? As we look ahead, beyond this time of “discontent,” who do you want to be?
Because they lost the light they need, especially in dark times to see the way, they lost their way and didn’t make it. I don’t know what 2021 holds, and neither do you. But I promise you, if you have light—within you—not matter the circumstances, you’ll be able to see, and keep walking towards your dream.