I had a strange dream recently. I had just finished a course of antibiotics and noticed that during those ten days I was having lots of crazy, vivid dreams. (I googled nightmares and antibiotics and evidently that’s a real thing.)
I can recognize where several of the images came from: the Lego ship my five year old grandson was showing off during our last FaceTime; the incessant coughing and congestion from my recent sinus infection; the State of the Union address; President Obama’s reference to walking on the moon and his bold call to finally find a cure for cancer… I can recognize some of the images but no one ever knows how the living gears of our subconscious will process the unnoticed and unimportant moments of our lives in order to create an intriguing new story that can tumble the tops off our neat, known boxes.
My brother had just been diagnosed with cancer. We were sad and afraid but then somehow discovered something we could do that might help: some strange instructions promised hope.
We were to craft some special molds, a Lego-like form that would render the building blocks we would need for our project.
Then we gathered fine dirt and freshly mown grass to be the foundational substance and (yes, this was my dream) then we coughed up and spit out saliva as the binder for each of these unique blocks.
We made hundreds, thousands of Lego-type bricks, working through the night, working together. The doorbell rang and a package was delivered: a box full of these same kinds of blocks formed by some unknown compassionate partners from across the world.
Finally we had enough pieces and we crafted a ship large enough to send my brother safely into space, just outside the earth’s gravitational field where he would be injected with a miracle cancer drug and be healed.
The celebration was tremendous; both for our brother and for ourselves.
I know all too well (given my latest round of antibiotics) that dreams can sometimes turn into nightmares. But I also know beyond any doubt that very often, our dreams can propel us outside of our limitations and entice us toward impossible possibilities. Dreams can embolden us to attempt things we never would have imagined.
There is something about this crazy dream of mine that won’t let me go. I think about my brother, all of our brothers and sisters who struggle with cancer or so many other illnesses; who struggle with homelessness or addiction. I think about our brothers who are angry and fearful and our sisters who are lonely and afraid. I think about those among us who are hungry and broken and forgotten.
And then I remember the impossible possibilities that can come into being when we dream big; when we tap into our shared compassion, when we cough up the gut energy of our humanity and let it bind us together, when we recognize the wide strength of our remarkable diversity. I remember how America has done this again and again throughout our history: working as partners, pushing through obstacles, defying gravity.
You may say President Obama is just a dreamer when he proposes bringing the genius of our humanity together to cure cancer. You may say he is a dreamer for believing we can bring our best selves to our politics and find ways to care for each other as brothers and sisters. You may say he’s a dreamer for asking us to break down barriers and build bridges.
You may say he’s a dreamer;
but he’s not the only one.
I will never stop believing.
Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequently shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.