I had a dream…
Last updated 1/12/2023 at Noon
OK, I realize it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day this month, and I’m not making light of his “I Have a Dream” speech. In fact, I’m a great admirer. But I had a dream—the kind of dream you have while sleeping. In this admittedly strange dream, I was reluctantly observing a political convention when suddenly the man with the microphone called me up to make a speech. Totally shocked and unprepared — I had no speech!
But they forced me to the podium, and to my surprise I made a full-blown dramatic speech with hand gestures and exclamations and everything. Afterward I was so shocked by the words that came out of my mouth (in this dream) that I actually woke up and wrote them down — verbatim. I hadn’t planned to share this speech publicly, but was just reminded of MLK Day and I suddenly felt compelled. So here goes — the speech from my dream:
I don’t have a speech written for you tonight so I will speak directly from my heart. Let me say first off, this is not a political speech. I also want to say that if you’re a citizen of the United States of America, these words are for you. Our country has suffered what may be a mortal wound.
It’s as if someone has taken a giant sword and slashed the United States right down the middle. And now she is lying helpless on the ground, bleeding and in pain. And yet the ones responsible stand about bickering, questioning, accusing . . . doing nothing to treat the mortal wound!
Imagine parents who’ve come upon their injured child. She lies motionless in the middle of the road, seriously wounded, close to death. But the parents stand idly by questioning each other—how did this happen? Who is responsible? While their child bleeds, they exchange theories and rumors about who caused it. They banter the details about why it happened, and what led up to this. They toss out accusations and threats, and even blame each other. Meanwhile, their child is dying! But instead of tending her wounds, they posture themselves. They get defensive and angry—all the while totally ignoring their child’s life-threatening injuries. Does this make any sense to you?
Of course not! But it’s not much different from the way American citizens are reacting to the impending peril of our country. Instead of recognizing that the U.S. is suffering from what could be a mortal wound, we are arguing over who is responsible, how this was done, and even creating false narratives in order to blame each other. All while our nation is sliced right through the middle and bleeding to death.
So, you ask, what do we do? How can we fix this? How can we change things? First of all, we need to stop bickering and blaming. We need to roll up our sleeves, get down on our knees, and start binding up and bandaging the wound. And while on our knees, we’re in a good place to ask God to direct us, to help us to take on this seemingly impossible task.
And what would God tell us? Love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is an old command that applies more than ever to our world today. But who is your neighbor? If you are a Republican, your neighbor is a Democrat. If you are a liberal, your neighbor is a conservative. While you fly the Stars and Stripes on your front porch, your neighbor may fly an LGBTQ rainbow flag from theirs. If you worship in a church, your neighbor might worship in a synagogue or mosque. Yes, your neighbor is different from you! You don’t agree on all things, but you are still neighbors. And God tells us to love our neighbors.
So now you ask, how is this even possible? How do we do this? How do we love someone so opposed to our own beliefs and values? We do this by choosing to love God first . . . and by asking him to help us. Because an unconditional love like this can only come from the God of unconditional love. We cannot do it alone.
Okay, I know some of you are still shaking your heads, still questioning my words, still wanting to point the finger at someone else, and still ready to argue over who started this whole ugly mess. Meanwhile our nation is slashed wide open, lying in the middle of the road, bleeding to death. What will you do?
If everyone continues along the same dark path, if we all refuse to love our neighbors and continue to blame and shame each other, while our country dies, we will all share the same fate. And that fate will unite us. We will be united in grief! Because together we will all grieve the death of what once was an amazing nation. The United States of America will be buried and dead . . . and it will be too late to save her.
I had a dream...