For the past two Sundays at church, I’ve been reminded of the influence that the generations before me have had on my life. During yesterday’s sermon, my executive minister made this statement that just blew my mind…I am that dream a slave once had! I had never considered that though, no selfish me just thought I was doing pretty good for myself! Shame on me, for if I’m honest with myself, I’m not only the dream that a slave once had, but I’m the dream that my great-grandparents, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, and parents once had. I am who I am because they worked hard to lay a foundation and set the standard for my family. I have very little memory of my great-grands on my Dad’s side of the family and no memory of those on my Mom’s side of the family, but one thing remains consistent in the stories I hear of those individuals, they were hard workers and providers for their families!
Everyone knows how fond I am of my deceased grandmother, Mom Putt. I often thought she was proud of me, my brother, and my cousins for our accomplishments simply because we were her grandchildren, but I now see her pride in us in a different way. Mom Putt was proud because we were a dream come true…we are the dream the Pop-Pop Norman and Mom Randi had. Despite being uneducated, and never making the amount of money that I currently make, they built a family house with their meager earnings because they dreamed that no matter how large our family got, or how far we were spread, we would always have a place to gather back at home as a family. They rebuilt their house after a fire completely destroyed the original family home to show us that even though we may lose everything along the way, the God we serve can and will rebuild us and our lives into something great!
I appreciate the prayers and support of my family members who dreamed of more for me than they could dream for themselves. When I reflect on my youth, I never had to go to daycare, my family stepped in and helped raise us. We shared meals together all of the time. My Mom-Mom and Aunt Elaine would cook breakfast for us before school, would pick us up and take us to after school activities when my parents schedule didn’t allow, and they would watch all of the cousins during the summer…they didn’t have to do any of this, but they knew they were preparing me for a better life! They showed me what it meant to truly be there to support one’s family! I vividly remember my Aunt Elaine having long talks with me after I received bad news, she always encouraged me to keep my head up and keep moving forward. I remember on one occasion, she made sure I understood that while others may not have thought I was good enough, I was smart, intelligent, and, most importantly, a young woman of character. Somebody dreamed for me!
When I think about Mom Putt, she never expressed anger, frustration, or jealousy towards me because of her fate…despite not having a college degree or big-time job herself, she never once discouraged me from chasing my dreams. In fact, no one was prouder of me or any of us than her. I remember receiving an award from work when Mom Putt was nearing the end of her life, I took the award home to show her before I put it away in my storage closet, and after looking at it and rubbing the satin inside the box it arrived in, Mom Putt said this, “You should give that award to your parents so they can put it up in their home.” I thought that was a crazy statement. Truthfully, at that moment, I didn’t even want the award, but I now realize that Mom Putt was reminding me of something I’ve come to take for granted…my success is the reflection of my family’s dreams for my life coming true. If it weren’t for my parents, their faith, their prayers, their commitment to me, their sacrifice for me, and their love for me…I would have never received that award and she wanted to make sure I understood that!
I am somebody’s dream come true. As was also stated in yesterday’s sermon…there’s a miracle worker in my lineage and for that I’m grateful! Have you ever thought of your life as the dream that someone once had? When we look at things that way, everything changes…I want to work harder to be the best me I can be. I want to save more so my nephews and future children (should I be blessed to have any) will be wealthier than me. I want to give more, so I can make a greater impact on my community than those who have come before me. Somebody prayed for me, somebody dreamed for me, and because of that, it’s my duty to be my best in everything!
Until next time…act like you’re the dream that someone once had!