"I have a dream...."
I'm embarrassed to admit that, until today, I'd never read the full text of the "Speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King At the 'March on Washington.'" I knew its gist, and its significance and I even explored the Smithsonian exhibit dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington when we were in DC three summers ago, drinking in things that happened in my lifetime, but beyond my comprehension in 1963. I've seen video clips of the speech, heard discussions about it, and talked about it with my daughter the history buff, but until today, I'd never read it.
It's a beautiful speech, and this holds true whether you're looking at it from an historical perspective, a writing perspective or simply a human perspective. And it holds value for all of us, regardless of the color of our skin or our political affiliations, if for no other reason than because we all are dreamers.
At its core, this speech is a blueprint for following a dream. It reminds us that dreamers "...refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity." We dreamers put stock in "the fierce urgency of now," and should pursue our dreams "...on the high plane of dignity and discipline." We recognize the role of faith in this pursuit, whether it's faith in ourselves, faith in a higher power or both. We understand that our dreams, big or small, are pursued in a context much larger than simply our own hearts and desires, and are instead part of the landscape of our lives and therefore the lives of those around us.
Compared to Dr. King's dreams, my dreams are small, probably even insignificant, but that doesn't mean I should abandon them. Quite the contrary. One way to honor Dr. King's legacy is to never take my own dreams for granted. When we take steps toward realizing our own dreams, we might even inspire those around us to do the same.
If you haven't read Dr. King's speech yet, today's a great day to do so. It will take less than fifteen minutes, and it just might fuel your dream, even if it's not as big or inspiring as Dr. King's.
And when you've finished reading the speech, one question remains. What step will you take today toward realizing your own dreams?