(This is part of an ongoing series of highlights from past Listen to Life newsletters. Many readers and subscribers were not following when this came out. Enjoy.)
“Hoping for,” “dreaming about,” and “working for” represent three very different positions in the journey toward a goal. The first two are nice, but largely useless, and even frustrating, IF you’re not also willing to do the work. This holds true for any worthy goal, including peace. Too many folks don’t seem to understand that.
I contribute to a virtual community for photographers and models, and recently I posted an image of the New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial (the first memorial in the United States devoted to the Vietnam Vet, and created through the labors of a grieving father) along with a message about veterans, their courage and the love of others. Along the way, I commented that war has existed since the dawn of time. Another resident of the site took me to task because at least he dreamed about there being peace in our lifetime. Don’t we all? Dream for peace? Nice. Work for peace? Indeed, the work is great, but the laborers are few. I read the man’s posting that was titled “call me a dreamer” and I wonder what the world would be if more people would “work for” instead of “dream about” great things, large and small.
How do we actively work for peace? Kindness, patience, generosity, and giving and sharing for the benefit of others conducted person-to-person or for the grander issue of social justice go a long way. Do we dream about the possibility or do we become part of the reality by treating others with respect, by loving ourselves and others, by giving our efforts to address the causes of violence?
With no apologies to John Lennon (“you may call me a dreamer..”) because he dreamed and toiled, but dreaming of a great world, life, circumstance, event, opportunity or situation is only a good beginning. We must also do the work. Let our dreams inspire our efforts.