An unfortunate reality of living in a society wherein our freedom is respected, is that in turn we give up some sense of security. If I allow for my fellow journeyers to do what they want, in freedom, than I allow for the fact that they can either help me or hinder me along the way. Worse still, they may even hurt me. Until I heard the news yesterday, I had not intended to start my blog in this way. My reflection on freedom is for a later milestone along the way. But due to the tragedy witnessed in CO, a state in which I have journeyed, I wanted to send my heartfelt condolences and prayer. To those suffering on their journey, I wish to join them in the prayer of blessing by St. Francis of Assisi: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He show His face to you and be merciful to you. May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.”
Since I was a young child, even still to this day, I always try my best to stay awake on car, trains and plane rides. And when I was younger, I spent many a night before a trip lying awake in anticipation of not only the destination, but of the trip itself. I have always enjoyed traveling; seeing new sights, the wonders of nature and the people along the way. I just finished reading one of H. G. Wells’ books entitled “When the Sleeper Wakes”. Wells wrote this in 1898, later o rewrite it in 1910. I do not intend to do a book review nor have the need for a spoiler alert, but the premise of Wells’ story led me on a reflection.
The story is a variation on the Rip Van-Winkle tale of a person falling asleep for a long time, awakening to a whole new world. In Wells’ telling, this new futuristic world appears to be a utopia, but as the main character learns more about how this new world is organized he also learns that the working class, through their mundane and tedious work, sustains the rest of the society. In this new world there is no avenue for advancement. I do not wish to get into a social-political argument at this time, for my focus is on the book’s concepts of hopes and dreams.
I believe that true freedom fosters a sense of hope and dreaming. Who among us does not have dreams for their life’s journey? Wells, in this story, portrays a world devoid of personal hopes or dreams. By removing a person’s ability to advance, what is the point of dreaming? Dreaming can give us hope, even if we know it won’t ever come true, we cling to our dreams because in our society we know that dreams can, and have, come true.
My spiritual faith and life experiences lead me to hope and dream for a better world based on mutual respect and peace. My God has shown me that if I hope in faith, great things can happen. The recent events in CO remind me that when storms cross the path of my journey, I can rely on my hope in a better future. But the future starts now with me, with us. In the book “Franciscan Voices on 9/11” the author writes “Doubt is not opposed to faith; despair is. … Lament is not a failure of faith, but an act of faith. We cry out directly to God because deep down we know our relationship with God counts; it counts to us and it counts to God.”
I don’t like to sleep on trips because I might miss something. Are we asleep on life’s journey? What are we missing in life? Why? What can I do different so that I can experience a life full of hope and dreams toward which I can strive? What am I allowing to stand in the road blocking my journey? For me, my relationships in my family and faith keep me grounded, hoping, dreaming and awake. Life is too short, stay awake for it.
The next milestone on the journey: “Can I drive?” New reflection to be posted in a couple days.