I suppose it’s always hard for me to come to terms with waiting for something to happen that I care about. After a while, I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen. And then, after a while longer, I suspect that it’s never going to happen. Until, finally, overwhelming evidence convinces me that there is absolutely no chance in hell it will ever happen. I have a lot of trouble accepting such things.
On this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think about Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. He never lived to see that dream realized, and, so far, neither have we. Langston Hughes wrote about the fate of that dream.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
How can we live with a dream deferred? I suppose the very fact that it’s viewed as a deferred dream indicates hope. It may not be happening yet, but someday… It’s much like the first Christians who thought Jesus would be returning at any moment and then watched those moments turn into years. They realized that maybe this was going to take a lot longer than they first thought. So, they held onto the hope that someday…
As a person who is now past middle age, I’m learning how difficult it is to release personal dreams that have eluded me. It’s reaching the point where I have no good reason to hold onto some of them. I can’t continue to say, someday… Why do I have such trouble accepting that? Rationally, I have every reason to let go of that dream that simply ainta gonna happen. And yet, even as I convince myself that I’m putting it behind me and moving on, there is still the tiniest part of me that thinks, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this dream will still come to pass despite all evidence to the contrary. Maybe someday…
I’m wondering if I will ever be able to resign myself to reality and truly release those dreams that have mattered to me the most. When I’m on my deathbed, gasping my final breaths, will I be wondering if just maybe I gave up too soon? Will there still be a part of me holding onto the hope of someday...? `