On the Wreckage of Dreams

Dreams come from many things; sometimes a busy mind or green beans. Some dreams are given by God. Even so, our personal hopes and dreams cannot be the only ones that matter. If, for our hopes to live, another’s must die, that cannot be the way; for we are not the only ones who dream.

After 1890’s Wounded Knee massacre, Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux medicine man, eulogized a dream that perished: “And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth,—you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.”

Sometimes hopes are extinguished and dreams are abandoned. But God given dreams are worth holding onto.

In a great speech, often hijacked, misused and weaponized by adversaries, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired hope in some, and frightened, angered or offended others: “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Dr. King said those words the day after I turned nine. Years later in Alabama, I got to hold hands with Sandra. We married in 1984 amid threats and scandal, not long after a Black man in an interracial relationship was lynched. America is always harsher with Black men.

Deferred dreams sicken the heart, and sin hardens it. Observe the strife sown among us for advantage: commercial air time is purchased to sell products, while some preferred voices work disunity and ruin. We embrace and echo lies, and diminish the other’s humanity, even though God hates when we sow discord. In all this darkness, people inevitably stumble and slide into despair. There lies the wreckage of abandoned dreams. Don’t you feel it?

One day in Nazareth’s synagogue, Jesus read from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me…He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…” In the Textus Receptus, Luke 4:18, the Greek word for brokenhearted is suntribo, which means to be completely crushed and broken to shivers. One day in Nazareth’s synagogue, Jesus read from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me…He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…” In the Textus Receptus, Luke 4:18, the Greek word for brokenhearted is suntribo, which means to be completely crushed and broken to shivers. Consider fine lead crystal, when dropped or forcibly slammed into concrete will shatter into innumerable shards, slivers, and particulates smaller than dust; that to find every tiny fragment, to put back together or make whole is impossible.

A caring person should ask, is anyone heart-broken regarding inequity? Are any disappointed at their own denial of oppressions that smother and crush others? That robs them of hope? Are you outraged at two different measures of good, of right, and of being safe? Are you disturbed to know that professing believers in Jesus have commonly become the walking, talking, singing antithesis, a praying and preaching contradiction of what Jesus actually prayed for in John 17? …That we might be one, so the world might know and believe the Father sent His Son? 

It troubles me every day, every time I hear and see it. Worse, as my awareness expanded over decades, and I look back, I realize so many times I saw, but didn’t see. I heard, but didn’t hear. Worse, I benefitted, as part of it. All of that exposed my own limited love for, and broken connectedness to my fellow humans, which is completely unacceptable.

If we are not one, it must break the Father’s heart. But nothing significant will change until it breaks ours. If you will ever allow it, Jesus said, “He has sent me to heal suntribo….” People like us.

By Frank Robinson

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