I Have a Dream


At the recommendation of both Tonia and my mother, I’ve been reading a Philip Yancey book, which is about people who have inspired his own faith. He begins with Dr. Martin Luther King, and says that King’s greatest gift, his most important role, was keeping people’s faith, their hope, their vision of a better world, intact against the terrible daily realities they faced. Most of us think that King’s main work was calling people to action, but I really think Yancey is right – his main work was keeping hope alive in those people who were ready to act – envisioning and holding in sacred trust the beautiful vision they had for peace and justice and brotherhood.

I have a dream . . .
These words, so simple but powerful, begin King’s famous speech – perhaps not his most eloquent speech but it is the one we remember, teach to schoolchildren, hold close to our hearts.

Yancey says, ” A prophet calls us to daily acts of obedience, regardless of personal cost, regardless of whether we feel successful or rewarded.”  Someone who holds the collective dream tightly, who can remind us constantly of the positive vision we are working towards, has the power to keep people working against tremendous odds and hardship.  It’s hard to compare our sacrifices with the sacrifice of getting violently beaten or even killed, and yet change is very hard.  Saying no to such easy conveniences that surrounds us is hard.  (And some, like the Occupy Wall St folks, are getting pepper sprayed and arrested for peaceful demonstrations.)

To me, this is where the current environmental and social justice movements are struggling.  So much focus has been put onto the negative – the bad things that will happen if we don’t change our ways, and so little attention has been paid to focusing on what we want to create instead.  We often talk about this with the young people we employ and meet – it’s not enough to be against the current state of the world; we all must decide what we are for.  We can’t lead people into a better future if we don’t have some dream of what that would look like.  Just as we need a vision before creating a business, we need a vision of what an amazing, beautiful, post-petroleum, post-corporate rule future will look and feel like.


I’d like to share some of my own dreams with you here, and more importantly, I would love for you to share yours. Share them here, share them in your own space, share them in person with family and friends and strangers.  Once we begin to share our dreams, the actions we need will be clear.  Some of my dreams are things I already have in my life, but would like others to have too; some of my dreams will probably not be realized in my lifetime, but I still dream them for the generations to come.

I dream of a world where neighbors know each other, where we share tools, knowledge, and harvests.  Where we share meals and news.

I dream of a world where families truly live together once more.  Where children learn alongside their parents, and many of them stay to continue their parents’ work.  Where generations live together.

I dream of a world where food is grown without chemicals, where we can feed our children without fear.

I dream of a world where rivers and oceans are clean enough to swim in, and fish can be caught and eaten without fear of contamination.

I dream of a world where elders are respected for the knowledge and experience, and where they pass those on to the next generations.

I dream of a world where our possessions are fewer, and treated with respect and love because we know how much time and skill they took to make, and how difficult they would be to replace.

I dream of a world where communities come together to bring in the harvest, and to gather in celebration of the seasons and the gifts we are given by the Earth.

And you?  What do you dream?

9 Responses to “I Have a Dream”

  1. 1

    I will begin my dreaming…this seems such a valuable, simple way of grounding ourselves in our hopes as we work to transform the world.
    And may i say that I couldn’t help smiling at the thought of the “younger” people in your life. You are such a wise matron for your years! Were you born that way?

  2. 2

    Beautiful and inspiring words. I’m off to ponder and dream…

  3. 3
    Kimberlie Ott

    Like you, I dream of a world with less “stuff” that values quality, and humanity more. A world where a childs innocence is not lost through mindless entertainment, and their imaginations are allowed to build their futures. I love the idea of families binding together again in a more agrarian (sp?) world, where we can eat without fear the fruit of our labors. Thank you for pondering and sharing your dreams too, for one that is young, you are wise for your years~

  4. 4

    This post gave me goosebumps- I have been thinking about this so much. Though there is much to focus on that we don’t want (like a pipeline in my backyard for instance,) the dream of what we do is so very important.Thank you for encouraging our dreaming.

  5. 5

    Oh my, I love this post. Thank you for sharing your dreams with all of us. I dream of a world where my children can easily eat food that is both nourishing and healing, without having to worry about chemicals and pesticides.

  6. 6

    I love this post, simply because I found myself nodding along to everything that you have listed. Thank you for posting this.

  7. 7

    We have the same dreams. Thank you for putting them into beautiful words.

  8. 8

    I dream of a world where trade is revived. In this time of unemployment, imagine if small farms without the money for expansion (or banks willing to loan) could trade food or livestock for work in their fields and barns? When was the last time you could find someone to help lay fence or dig trenches, put on roofs or build coops, haul compost or do the milking? It’s something every small farm struggles with. And yet how many people living in depressed economic times can afford organic and healthy foods when processed foods are cheap and easily available? I dream of time when we can combine the needs of the farm with the needs of the people, when manual labor is not seen as “beneath” the people, and food is valued for the way it is raised and not just it’s price at the big box store. Stevie@ruffledfeathersandspilledmilk.com

  9. 9

    I share your dreams, expressed so beautifully. Simplicity, connection…to each other, to the land, to our families. May it be so. Henrietta

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