“Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer”

Wishing to continue to celebrate this month dedicated to Black History, I researched many websites that honor the black women and men who have contributed so much to our history, culture, society, the fine arts, education and numerous other fields of importance. But when I came across this quote about the dreamer, I knew that this author would be my choice for this reflection. Here is the complete quote:

​“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

These words were spoken by Harriet Tubman who lived from 1822 to 1913, born into slavery, escaped from slavery, risking her life because she believed that all people were born free, and then she embraced her mission in life. Her dream was to help as many slaves escape to freedom as she did. During her lifetime she made 13 missions to rescue about 70 enslaved people, including her family and friends using the Underground Railroad network. Her mission expanded and she became a scout and spy for the Union Army and in her later years, she was an activist for women’s suffrage. If you are trying to remember where you heard the name “Harriet” before, perhaps you saw the movie with this name which was released in 2019 and starred the British actress Cynthia Erivo.

These times are times for dreams. What is your deepest dream right now? One on the top of the list is the end of COVID for sure. Dreams that our country can reconcile and forgive and be healed through the commitment to justice and equality for all. I have a global dream of one human family as Pope Francis writes where resources of medicines, food, water, peace and all things are shared among all countries. Dreams where the beauty of all colors of skin are appreciated, embraced and given equal opportunity. Dreams where religious beliefs based on love and respect become ways for bringing us together instead of separating us.

What are your dreams?  “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet found herself up against some of the most powerful forces that hated her and her cause. It divided a nation, and yet she said that within us, we do have the strength, the patience and the passion to make a difference. Those three components we have seen in so many people, in Jesus as he came against powerful forces, too. His love and desire to do God’s will was his passion as he suffered his passion. I take comfort in knowing that simple people have these same qualities of strength, patience and passion. I have them and you have them, but we need to enter deeply into ourselves to bring to the surface so that we are empowered to use them.

I have another quote which I feel is also greatly needed today:

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”
― Frederick Douglass

Scripture tells us that Elijah did not find God in the storm, in the thunder, in the earthquake nor in the fire. But what Elijah needed was the gentle breeze. Our times are different right now. We need to be inflamed with love; bold like the thunder to live the demands of reconciliation; it is the energy of the storm, the whirlwind and the earthquake that can shake us deep in our souls that will not allow us to continue living in selfishness, hate and violence. If only we listen and act with justice. As John Lennon wrote: “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will be as one.” We all can be dreamers.

Sister Nancy is a Franciscan of the Sacred Heart and Formation Director for the Joliet Diocese Missions.

Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.

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