Greetings from the “other side” of parenthood! Our first child Anjali Claire was born on Sunday, October 7th. I don’t remember that morning too clearly, but since it was a Sunday I was expecting to be in attendance at worship. I clearly was not going to be there, so I sent Rev. Donna a text message that said “God be with you because I won’t be this morning!” What an amazing time of growth, perseverance, and completely new things that no amount of books or classes could prepare me for.
During some of my idle moments holding Anjali, I notice that her eyes REM (rapid eye movement) like she is dreaming (like you and I do whenever we enter a deep dream state). I have to wonder: what is she dreaming about? She hasn’t seen much. There’s not much scenery in the womb. She would have no images other than the ones that have passed 6 inches from her face. One time she woke up suddenly with her little fists into balls of alarm. Was it a nightmare? If so, what could she see that would scare her (other than my haggard face at 4am). Unless she is dipping into Jungian archetypes that Carl Jung claims are pre-pressed into our consciousness, I really can’t decide what she is dreaming about.
I wonder then how we can dream if we don’t have exposure to something to dream about.
When we see that sports car that we want, or see the joyous family across the street, or see the business opportunities just around the corner, or see other churches grow and have successful programs, we have something concrete to dream about. We adapt that reality of others into our dreams, hoping for something more for ourselves. So when we have the images in our heads or the yearnings in our hearts, we have something to dream about.
I’m convinced that when Martin Luther King Jr wrote that he had a dream where King’s four children “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” that he had seen that reality. That there were white people in his life that showed that race was not a dividing line for them. That King had experienced people who saw beyond the circumstances of their culture and the bias of others to see more clearly. That King’s dream was fed by the knowledge that the human community was better than this and was meant for so much more.
My hope for my daughter, your sons and daughters, and yourselves is that you seek to dream for your family, community, and church. That you connect what concrete experiences you’ve had with what potential we have in our church. That your dreams become more viable because you realize that you’ve seen it before.