Monday, January 19, 2009

Dreams, Nightmares, and Visions

Some people take special note of the dreams they have at night. They interpret them, they ponder them, they get “direction” from them. I’ve done that.

Some people have nightmares. These nightmares may be extreme, chronic, or just occasionally bothersome. I’ve only had the last on the list: bothersome.

T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia, a famous news correspondent) said this:

"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dream with open eyes and make it possible."

What we dream of in the night is, in my opinion, of less importance than what we dream of by day. (I’m not talking daydreams, but life dreams.)

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. A civil rights activist in the late 50’s and early 60’s, King’s most famous speech was given in August of 1963 at a rally in Washington DC. Entitled, I Have A Dream, the speech is one full of powerful rhetoric and inspiration.

In the speech King shares with his listeners his dream of a United States of America that would be more free, more equal, more cooperative. King died before that dream could be realized, but he was working to realize the dream.

King was a social activist who worked on the local, state, national, and even international level. But what of us?

What is your waking dream? What vision guides you in your efforts to make the world a better place?

The scale of our influence may be smaller than King’s, but scale isn’t the most important measure. What matters is your dream.

It’s not a matter of knowing the whole vision. What matters is, What are you doing about what you have seen?

“…the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dream with open eyes and make it possible.”

We may act our dreams with open eyes, but will we? Will I? Will you? Let’s be dangerous!


"The Impossible Dream"
from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)
music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion

(Listen to Jim Nabors sing the song as Gomer Pyle)

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star


  1. don -
    great post on such a fitting day. Dreams are a funny thing.

    It's late here now. I think I'm going to go lay in bed and ponder my Waking Dream as I drift to sleep.

  2. My brother's waking dream is 'If I can help somebody as I pass along, my living will not have been in vain'. Don't think I can top that.