You Can Dare to Dream Your Own Dream
Dare to Dream a little Dream
The ability to allow others to dream
There was the client I had when I was chaplain in a populace of people suffering from various mental illnesses. I was providing pastoral care to him. He was unpacking his story to me. He told me of his journey from South Vietnam to Thailand to California and Texas. He told me how he was twenty when he made the journey along with his childhood friend, because their family wanted them to experience true freedom.
He told me how it rained as they sat in the boat, how cold it was and how wet they were, but it was all worth it when they got to America. They made it finally. They were in California finally. They knew the sacrifice their families had made for them spending every dime they had in order to get them to America. He said at that point everything was ok.
No mental illness was present. I asked what happened, he said that it was only when we left California for Texas and was dehumanized by his American sponsor. He was treated as less than human as if he could not do anything right. At this point is when he received a mental lapse and began to hear voices. I thought, wow how he can gone through so much to be free and to have that right infringed upon.
Here it is, 2012 and he has not seen his family since his twenties and he is in his fifties. He has not had any children, no wife. So I asked him if he could do anything, have any job, what would he want to do? He answered with all the sincerity and innocence of a truly honest and pure heart and said he wanted to be a janitor or dishwasher. What?! I thought to myself, no!
You didn't fight to so hard to be here, then be mistreated, finally you receive help for your illness. You learned English in six months, that’s an accomplishment. How many of us can say we mastered a language in six months? You go through all of this and your story ends in you wanting to become a dishwasher or janitor? Where did we go wrong? Luckily in pastoral care you can not lay upon others your own bias or opinions, your job is to be present and to go with them on the journey. Two important principles, be present, and actively listen. Sounds simple, but trust me its the hardest thing to do at times. It was so hard for me to simply let him dream his dream, because to me the dream wasn't big enough. I wanted him to have this wonderfully orchestrated story of courage and overcoming great odds to reach this level of success.
It hadn't dawned on me that it was ok for him to dream his dream. It didn't line up with my upbringing that screamed inside me the sky is the limit, you can do anything you put your heart to. My job was not to teach him how to dream, my task was simply to learn, to listen, and to allow him to be who he was. Then, I thought because of my bias and generalizations about certain issues have I infringed upon any one's ability to dream their own dream.
The answer was yes, but since this process I was taught to be more aware of my unintentional ability to do so. I think I am a much better active listener and have gained a tad more self-awareness. I am a growing work in progress. Now I can allow others the same courtesy my parents allowed me, to simply dream my dream.