My mind is buzzing with stories. Stories told by a prosecutor/human trafficking expert who wants nothing more than to hold offenders accountable for crimes they commit. Stories from domestic abuse shelter workers who want nothing more than to stop the violence. Stories from Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park, as told by an author/playwright/activist who has been hanging out there and wants nothing more than to revolutionize our systems that have neglected to prioritize the well-being of one another.
These stories are not made up. They are stories our friends, relatives and neighbors live as truths, whether or not we acknowledge them.
I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m convinced that these stories are all connected. Perhaps they are connected in the way that we are now, more than ever, willing to uncover the root causes of the problematic conditions in which we find ourselves. Perhaps they are connected in the way they wake us up; in how these stories make us question how we ever let unacceptable behaviors/policies seep into our communities. Perhaps they are connected because these stories confront our humanity and values and challenge us to do better.
I don’t know how these stories will end. What I do know is that we all have an open invitation to do something to add to these stories. We all have an opportunity to contribute to a new chapter — one that is hopeful, powerful and worthy of this gift of life we have been given.
As I close my week, husband asked me to contribute to a story book project for our son’s pre-school, aptly called All About Me. I looked through photos of each year of my son’s life and marveled at how quickly time has whizzed by.
In the story book, there is a question specifically for the parents: What are your hopes and dreams for your child?
Here’s what we wrote:
- We hope that he will grow up to be a man who is unafraid to feel and express emotions.
- We hope that his actions and decisions are rooted in compassion, truth and love.
- We hope he understands that the successes he achieves are not possible on his own and that he stands on the shoulders of many; some of whom are beloved and close, others are strangers.
- We hope that he continues to believe and take action as though anything is possible.
- We hope that passion is alive in his life’s work.
- We hope that his inner light will not extinguish but rather glow brightest in the darkest of rooms.
- We hope that he never ever underestimates his power to add a hopeful chapter to an unfinished story.
Do hopes and dreams figure in to your story?