I was on Facebook today and was inspired by the oddest combination of Wall appearances. The first was a comment from a young relative. She–not yet 20 years old– said, “…its about time this shitty summer has ended.” Excuse the language; it’s not my quote. She’s a good kid and her Mom, also a dear close loved one, has recently taken seriously ill. So it’s been a rough time for the entire family.
Or maybe she just felt stuff in her college-age social life was less than stellar at the moment.
My Facebook Wall also displayed an old photograph tagged by a “friend of a friend” from my hometown. It’s a photo of a boys football team taken in 1970. The kids were 9 and 10 years old clad in their uniforms and sitting on the Community Center steps. The building and steps were familiar as were the team colors–green and gold (yellow really). My grade school colors.
When I studied the names, they were familiar too, but only vaguely. I do know some of them. We grew up in the same area, same schools, etc. Still, just names that echoed from the past. I knew them, but, it most cases, I really didn’t. I wasn’t on the football team either. No matter. Vince Lombardi famously observed, “Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” Well, yes, that certainly applies to many of us; although that last part, about authority was never my strong suite.
I had Forgotten
But Lombardi’s wisdom aside, it was the quote assigned to the photo that really got me: “Full minds, pure hearts.” I felt moved by that simple saying and my hometown came rushing back. I guess it stirred the promise of youth. Those kids just looked so happy– Full minds, pure hearts; don’t forget.
Of course, it’s not the age so much as the mileage so to speak. It’s what happens that takes its toll.
But I had forgotten. And I suspect my young relative has also forgotten. Already. She’s not even out of her teens yet. And me, I will be 50 years old in a few weeks. The kids in that picture are about the same age as me. Some may be deceased, taken before their natural time.
And, of course, it’s not the age so much as the mileage so to speak. It’s what happens that takes its toll. Our eventful lives are not what we had planned. There is difficulty and mistakes and lost time. Things happen and don’t happen. And it all goes by so fast. But these are just excuses.
The Same Dream
I have a dream. And it has been the same dream since I was at least 10 years old. I am standing in a vast auditorium; huge crowd; spot light on me. I am saying something.
I never bothered to script my dream to include what I am actually saying. No matter. My message is profound and important and everyone wants to hear it. The crowd is delighted by my discourse. They are moved by it, they are inspired.
I feel my own voice resonate across the crowd with power and conviction. The people cheer wildly. Cameras are popping, lights are whirling and the ovation looks thunderous. The scene overwhelms me with pride and gratitude. I feel a warmth and love and connection with the crowd that is truly magical.
I know for certain that I am having an impact on the masses. I believe in myself and in the cause that I am preaching. It is right and good and genuine; What I proclaim matters. The dream still thrives. The “sound” of the ovation fills my head every day.
Mark the Dream Rotten
Don’t laugh. You have dreams like that too. But over the years, we somehow mark the dream rotten. We call it childhood fantasy. We grow up. The psychologists rip it apart. They tell us that it’s an egotistical binge to feed a deep rooted insecurity. Come on now, they say, grow up. No one wants to hear you. No one wants to cheer for you. No one wants to think that you are important or special or that you have anything great to say. Who do you think you are anyway? You can’t change the world. It’s whimsical, childish gunk. Grow up. Stupid, stupid dream.
Don’t laugh. You have dreams like that too. But over the years, we mark the dream rotten.
And sadly, we believe it. Our “full mind” is full of nay-saying. Our “pure heart” gets broken and soiled. We buy the excuses; we listen to the shrink; and we keep our castles in the sky to ourselves. Far from pure, we are instead ashamed of our secret fantasies for greatness. So we quiet them. We say we don’t harbor such nonsense. We admit to no one of our fancy. We ponder it alone and shrug it off as silly.
But deep inside, no matter how much we deny it to the world and to ourselves, it is still there. The dream never dies. Never. Sometimes it’s the only “pure” thing we have left.
Still A bit over the top, you say? I understand. In dark moments, I too thought my silly dream was dead. Like when I lost my hearing. I dismissed the folly for good. After all, I won’t be able to hear my “voice resonate” now. The “thunderous ovation” would be silent to me. The “warmth and love and connection with the crowd” is not just fanciful. I am deaf; now it’s impossible.
My idealistic binge since childhood was thus snuffed out for all time. Done deal. I finally grew up.
Full Mind Pure Hearts Forever
But why, then, do I still hear the cheers of the masses in my mind as if it were real? Why, in my silent “real world”, do I hear the crowd applauding so vividly? It is so loud. So awesome. And it never goes away. Call it immature, call it fanciful, call it whatever negative phycho-babble you choose.
It is so loud. So awesome. It thrives within me. And it never goes away. I still have my dream.
The truth is, I still have my dream. It’s not dead. On the contrary, it thrives within me. It resonates. And, most important, it doesn’t even have to become real to be real. Dreams are wonderful even unfulfilled. They are “pure” power within us to be enjoyed. We should smile when we ponder our most fanciful dreams, not dismiss them. We should embrace them.
I can still rock that auditorium and implore the masses to “Be Inspired!” Full minds, pure hearts. That’s all it takes.
So, my disenchanted young lady on Facebook, you can still have your Summer. That long-ago football team can still grow up to win the Super Bowl. I can still rock that auditorium and implore the masses to “Be inspired!”
Full minds, pure hearts. That’s all it takes. Dream on!