Monday, November 22, 2010

I Have a Dream

I have been mulling over the idea of pursuing dreams lately, and I find that many approaches to pursuing dreams really bother me. It's not that I don't think people should go after what they would like to do; after all, Jarod and I have dreams of our own that we are moving toward slowly and steadily. What troubles me is that there is not recognition that living our dreams is a luxury. This living the dream stuff is a very Western idea (even though people often head east to pursue better understanding). Were you born poor and in a rural area in a third world nation, this would not be your story. You probably wouldn't have heard of Oprah, and your idea of living your best life might simply be to find the $7 per child necessary to purchase the uniforms they need for school. On your annual income of $160, no less. And did I mention you would likely have at least four children?

Pursuing dreams is fantastic, and I am particularly in favor of those dreams that are of benefit to others, but it is not the be-all end-all in this life. Whether you believe that this life is just one part of what will continue for eternity or that this is it, I think that it can be highly satisfying to live in a way that treats others kindly, even if it means we never reach some of our other dreams. I just don't think your dreams are worth living if to pursue them, you treat others poorly. At the end of each day, when I send the last email and turn out the lamps and crawl into bed next to my daughter, what really matters is whether I treated people well. It matters to the people my life touches (whether they are in my life that day or down some other long chain of events something I've done helps set in motion or keeps in motion), and if it stops mattering to me, well, heaven help me to realize it.

I am dismayed particularly when I read the words of someone I know has behaved supremely unkindly towards another, and they speak of living the dream and making sacrifices and putting themselves in an uncomfortable position in order to chase what they really desire. It sickens me, really. Because here's the thing: I'm not against sacrifice, but if your sacrifice is another human being, then you're doing it wrong.

And so I respond with a dream of my own. I dream of the kind of world where we treat each other with kindness, where it matters more how we treat others than if we had our dream career. I dream of people who understand that the opportunity to be love to someone else is far greater than any other opportunity out there. But then, what do I know? My biggest dreams already came true.

better than the train or the tram

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Just found your blog - loved this post!!