Monday, January 19, 2009

Big Dreams Come True

I have an embarrassing admission, here on the eve of inauguration day. I was just reading my friend Dave's blog, where he talks about how powerful it can be to have a big dream, and to tell people about it (even if sometimes those people think you're nuts). This is what my whole life is about, in some sense--the idea that God gives us these audacious, crazy dreams than can only happen if we let Him help and guide us. Given this, I am stunned and mortified to realize that until just now, I've never read the full text of Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have A Dream Speech. (Maybe I read it, but I've never READ it, if you know what I mean...)

If this is you, too, I'm posting it below. READ it. Think about how much of what MLK saw back then--in his heart, rather than with his eyes--has come true. Consider the possibility that the dream God put in your heart might be true someday, too. And then tell someone about it.
"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little 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.
I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
What's your dream?


Anonymous said...

Just to be complete -- here is the speech YouTube. Although my lawyer's former self doesn't have a problem to read a lot, I always enjoyed listening to this particular speech. Without King's passion it just half of the experience IMHO.

LEstes65 said...

Wow. I forget just how amazing King was. And I agree with mcepl. You need to hear his passion. But what is so funny is, when I read this? I could totally hear him saying it in my head!

God thank you for people like Dr. King.