Eight hours from New York City to Brussels, another eight hours from Brussels to Kigali. That's the length of my journey to Rwanda. Just 16 hours stands between my old life and this new one. I really can't say that this journey started when I boarded the plane. It started a long time ago when I decided in my heart that I wanted to live my life to make a difference. It take guts to step out and do something different from your normal routine. Each day is afforded the same opportunities to do something extraordinary but rarely do we step up to the task. I always looked at the people who decide to step out in faith and accomplish enormous feats, with admiration and wonder. I knew that they were special, gifted with a certain 'je ne sais quois' that allowed them to reach the impossible. Celebrities and some just really brave regular folk who stand up for a cause, fight for the underdogs of society or just say NO to injustice. They are the real heroes in this world. How dare I think that I can do something as great as them. Oh no, for a long time, it was just a dream...
I read the book "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson a couple of years ago. Its a book that stars a character named Nobody, who wakes up from a dream in which he achieved an impossible task. He lives in the land of Nobodies and is fearful of his dream. He thinks to himself, how can he a nobody have such a dream, a dream like that belongs to the Somebodies of this world, certainly not him. Yet his dream persists, despite the naysayers in his family and his city. He embarks on a journey that leads him into the land of Somebodies, through the Wasteland, and eventually to the place where his dream is fulfilled. Along the way, he learns important lessons about himself and what he believes. He learns to never give up on his dreams and that sometimes it is failure that leads him closer to his dream.
I am thinking about all of this as I'm sitting on the plane. This is true not only for me but for so many of my friends and loved ones, who have amazing dreams for their future. One wants to start her own business, another wants to go back to school, travel overseas or get a record deal. Each dream is unique but the fears, emotions, heartaches and joys are all the same. We want to do someting different and accomplish the things in our hearts. I start to look through the Album playlist on my video monitor and come across the album "Wake Up Everybody" by John Legend and the Roots. This album immediately grabs me. It is soulful and inspiring all at once. As I listen to it, it evokes images of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr. I remember his dream of desegragation, at the time, people probably laughed at him and told him, that his dream of seeing blacks and whites drink from the same fountain and go to school together would never come true. Unfortunately MLK Jr never lived to see his dream fully realized, but he set the foundation so that others could realize their dreams.
Dreams are great, but they should never stop there. Dreams should be lived out everyday, in the lives that we lead. I had this dream of going overseas and helping people in developing countries. I never knew that my dream would take shape the way that I did. I just started to say yes to some of the doors that were opened in my life. I learned from my failures and trust me, there were many to learn from. I know so many people who give up after the first failed attempt, they go back to their normal routine and promise to never try that thing again. So I want to encourage you to try again, and again and again, however long it takes you to get there, just do it. History is lined with people who never gave up, like Thomas Edison, Madame CJ Walker, Michael Jordan and countless others. So stop dreaming and WAKE UP! Do the things that you have only dreamed about and let your life count!
Voice overhead: "Welcome to Kigali, hope you enjoy your destination...."