Casting my future vision into possibilities, I scan the rim with my trusty spyglass, following the arc of the day: morning sun burning away fog, leaving wispy traces of white in the light blue sky, opening wide enough to embrace us all; the streets easy on the holiday, celebrating the man who made us face our own darkness and whose dream is still a distant star; the sun cresting the peak, skies clear, blue-deepened into Spanish azure; slipping toward nightfall with increasing speed, as travelers return to home and we prepare for the final descent into the new year, the final landing in 2017.
We now know whether we are serving or shattering our resolutions, whether we are keeping or breaking our promises to ourselves. This is Martin Luther King's legacy: that we face the truth of our lives, that we look hard and deep to determine if the life we live matches the creed we speak; that we look at the world we participate in creating and ask, from our hearts: is this the world we want to pass on to our great grandchildren? And we must do so without knowing who our children’s, children’s children will marry, what mix of color, creed, or country our descendants may be conceived from, because, whether we like it or not, the world is already a tangled mess that cannot be undone; no matter how divided we feel, how strongly we draw our lines, or how “pure” we wish to keep this tainted world, we cannot stop the inevitable. The only question is: how willing are we to embrace our differences, to find strength in our diversity, and to build our future on our shared humanity? Will we leave a world divided, at war with ourselves, or a world united, a planet of possibilities, where every child has a chance to grow up and participate in this grand project of humankindness?!
I know the seeds of racism still live in me, the “norms” of past times still linger in my psychic architecture, because I still feel twinges of fear when faced with those who come in different colors and wear costumes of a faith that I have learned to associate with violence. I strive to rise above these limitations, learning the lessons from lines in my own poetry: What I see in others, I awaken in myself! I cast my future vision toward my dreams, looking at an angel awakening in the body of an aging man, and I see what I have always known to be true: that I am a holy ghost, a spirit-being blessed with limbs and lungs, with sense and soul, with a purpose and a place in this strange world, and I am stepping into this life to fulfill that purpose, no matter how late or lost I might be to that greater mission! I say: do what you can with what you have and leave the rest to life.
What kind of world do you wish to leave for your great grandchildren? If, like me, you have no children, the questions still applies: what kind of world do you wish to leave to future generations?
Of course, it is easy to get idealistic and, hopefully, you will get idealistic about it because the world desperately needs positive visions for the future. Reaching for the stars is a paragon of the human spirit. The trick is to avoid the despair that can come when we look at the massive gap. But that gap is the place where our creativity flourishes and the only place where we can actually take our next step and begin, in our own small way, to create what we dream.
What are you doing today to help create that world?