Dreams are rarely shortsighted. In fact, they inherently consider not just the immediate impact of their manifestation but the ripple effect that is likely to occur in the hearts and minds of those who originate them as well as though who are blessed enough to see them come to pass.
The very prophetic nature of a dream is what drives the dreamer even when every circumstance and every reality says that what they see is improbable and impossible. It is what keeps the dreamer going when days, months, years, and decades rush by seemingly to discourage, hinder, blind, pilfer, mask, degrade, and cannabalize the hope of the one to whom the dream is given.
It’s clear that most of us understand that the electing of Sen. Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America is a historic moment. One that truly was the fulfilment of those who dreamed for a day when they could participate in the democratic process and simply cast their vote. Even more profound is the fact that my 9-year old nephew and my 4-year old and 3-year old nieces are now able to grow up with a framework for success as an African American that neither I, nor those before me, were priveledged to have. Obama’s election is truly the manifestation of a dream that, along the way, had been nearly lost in the complacency and/or apathy of two generations whose mother’s and father’s arguably gave too much to them in order to make up for what they didn’t have.
And yet, as I sit here, the morning after, contemplating what happens next, and praying for God’s word in it all, I can’t help but to examine my own dreams.
In my moment of reflection, I travel back to my childhood and, almost as an invested observer from the present, I stand in the doorway of my past, watching the three-year old brown girl from Kentucky. I watch her make up the most fascinating stories in order to release the burgeoning creativity in her mind and the seeds of a dream that was measured upon her by God at her birth.
I marvel at the seven-year old who read with enthusiasm books that were meant for those who were much older than her and whose inquisitiveness often exasperated those who didn’t understand the dream that lied in her heart.
I’m amazed at the nine year old who found the courage to stand up for herself even in the midst of the worst kind of fear.
I’m humbled by the twelve year-old who with her faith and trust in a God that she’d never seen, decided that she would believe in His Son and carry her dreams upon a cross.
I’m awed by the teenager who learned early on how to articulate the great compassion that she felt and who believed that, for her, words would be the key to opening every closed door.
But, you know, if I’m really honest with myself, I can’t stop there. I’d only be telling half the story. In fact, before God would allow me to relax in some pseudo-pride for the first half of my journey, there was another part of my life that came in focus.
I watched with heartbreak as that same little brown girl from Kentucky became a woman and began to subconciously buy into the lies that she was not good enough or that she could only go “so far.”
I cringed when I watched her trade in her adolescent desire to please only God with a full-grown desire to please everyone except Him.
I cried as I watched her climb the ladder toward the fulfilmment of her dreams but because it took too long and required too much; because she tripped a couple of times along the way or someone told her that it wasn’t worth the effort, she stopped climbing. When her books had run their course and people stopped buying, I watched her stop climbing. When her magazine failed, I watched her stop climbing. When her bank accounts became reflective of the temporary famine in her life, she stopped climbing.
I watched this beautiful child of God choose fear over faith, what she could see over what she couldn’t see, so many times that I thought my heart would explode with emotions as varied as a million blades of grass.
Which, of course, was the whole point.
You see, just because I’d stopped climbing didn’t mean that the dream stopped existing. This was evident as I watched those who started out before me, climb past me, over me, and yes, sometimes on top of me to reach their own dreams.
And please understand… this is, by no means, a sob story, but an effort by me to really understand what Obama’s election really means to me. Beyond the discussion of race and age and any other demographics, I look at Obama and see a man, as flawed as you and I, who maximized the gifts God gave him and never stopped climbing. He never stopped climbing in spite of what history, people, media, and polls said. And yet, even then, he didn’t stop there. He didn’t stop with just the dream and didn’t even stop with just the pursuit of it. He organized his time, resources, and influences in such a way that the only thing left to do was, what we all must do, and that’s leave it in God’s hands to supernaturally change the hearts of men. And we all know that God specializes in the kind of change that is deemed impossible.
I realize now that if there is really a formula to success in whatever we are assigned to accomplish while we are here on earth, then that’s it. God gives us a dream that is aligned with His purpose, we pursue that dream in spite of how long it takes or the depth of sacrifice necessary, we then do all we can to maximize what’s available to us in the natural (resources, influence, etc.), and finally, we allow God to make the change.
The fact is, change in whatever form we might be seeking it, personally or professionally, is inextricably linked to the dream. However, the quality of the change very much depends on the work that goes on in between.
On the morning after such an historic day in our country, I find myself grateful to God for this personal revelation. I’m so grateful for the new mercies that were afforded me today. Mercies that will allow the promise and dream that was spoken into my life when I was being knit in my mother’s womb, that manifested itself early in the gifts I demonstrated as a child, that endured the sifting of the enemy and the pilfering by counterfeits who didn’t undertstand its purpose, to now breathe new life.
Today, in my life, change has come and I continue to climb. Not necessarily for any other reason except for the grace and mercy of God, the sacrifice of Christ, and my willingness to finally accept who He has called me to be.
No matter who you voted for, this is the lesson for us all today.
Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts