Be Immortal

Posted on | October 19, 2011 | 8 Comments

In the beginning, there was a dream. 

Just a small dream.  A dream of making a difference, making a change, making a small place for myself in the world.  I was small, barely school-aged, and when I closed my eyes to sleep I dreamed about changing the world.  I dreamed about traveling to the farthest reaches of the planet and doing good for other people.  I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself… something bigger than my lifetime… something “big”.

As I grew, my dreams shrank.  I wanted to get a date to Homecoming.  I wanted to get in to the “right” college.  I wanted to find a job.  My dreams became less global and more personal… dreams of white gowns and wedding days, dreams of feeling a baby kick from the inside, dreams of owning a house.  I stopped dreaming about making a difference. I stopped believing that one person, one voice, could do much of anything.

But in the beginning, there was that dream.

Yesterday, I got word from a friend that her tumor is inoperable.  Yesterday I got words like sarcoma thrown into my brain where there used to be only blocks and books and a few scattered legal documents.  Yesterday, I realized that I am selfish and petty and a ridiculous excuse for a mother if I can’t find my way back to the beginning… back to that dream.  I am a poor excuse for a person if I can not teach my son to dream with ferver and to pursue those dreams with reckless abandon.

If we are to be anything in this short, short life, shouldn’t we be bigger than ourselves? Shouldn’t we be doing things to make life better, safer, more secure for our children and grandchildren? Shouldn’t we be clinging to our dreams and teaching our children to hold tightly to their own?

In the United States, we’ve become a culture of “me now” where we used to be a culture of “we the people.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a culture centered on the individual unless it becomes so narrowly defined that only the individual matters. We left behind the idea that EACH individual is important and grew to embrace the concept that only the INDIVIDUAL is important.  Our system is flawed.  Our two and half party political structure needs an overhaul. 

We need a reminder that in the beginning, there was a dream.  And that dream was to be a place of shelter, a place of refuge, a place where different minded people could collect and become unified in their differences, governed by a system that embraced the differences without magnifying them. This country was founded by dreamers; by men who thought outside just themselves and believed that we could collectively be more.  We used to be a country of dreamers who turned those dreams into reality.  We used to be a country of Wright Brothers and Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

As a child I wanted to change the world.  I wanted to be a doctor or a missionary or something, anything that would spark a change.   And somewhere along the way, I lost that dream in the sea of education and “growing up” and “being responsible.”   But dreams are funny.  You can forget about them and put them on a high shelf, out of reach… but they’re still there.  They never really go away.  And then when you read the heartbroken cries of a mother who has lost her child, or a mother who is facing a fight to keep herself alive … well, then those dreams rattle.  They tap against your brain and they ask you “What are you doing?” They whisper “What have you done lately”  and they roar “DO SOMETHING.”

I am not much, but I am me.  I have two legs and two arms and a heart that is probably a bit too big.  I am, for the most part, a fairly healthy individual.  I do not have an inoperable tumor in my body that is threatening my very existence.  So I have to ask myself, what in the HELL am I doing?  What have I done lately for anyone other than myself?  What have I done that will make a difference to anyone?

I do not have money or influence.  I do not have prestige or big and important friends in big and important places.  I do not have medical skills or knowledge and I do not have the means or opportunity to leave my child and travel to far off places to build schools or hospitals or something “big and important”.  But I have words. I have always had words. 

And if that is all that I have, then I should be using those words to make a difference.  Because I believe that together we can make a difference… we just have to stop caring so much about what we want for just us, and embracing what we all need for each other.

I want to be a part of something bigger.  I want to be able to hug my friend in 5, 10, and 50 years.  As much as I wish that I could, I can not cure cancer with my own two hands.  But dammit, I can write.  And I can use my words  to remind myself and you that dreams are important.  I can remind us that we are NOTHING without our dreams; we are useless bags of blood and bone that can fade away at any moment.  It is our dreams that make us unique and special and immortal. 

Be immortal for those who can not be. Be immortal for those who left too soon, for those who would give anything to be where you are, in your snug and secure and healthy body. 

You want to be something big?  Be immortal, dammit. 

Let’s DREAM.


8 Responses to “Be Immortal”

  1. Mrs MidAtlantic
    October 19th, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    Your childhood dreams are far more self-less than mine. I wanted to be a marine biologist. Not so I could save the oceans… no, I wanted to scuba dive every day and live on a boat. So at least you started off with something bigger – you can get back to those dreams!
    As an aside – I’ve still never been scuba diving…

  2. Anonymous
    October 19th, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    See? Now get thee to a boat and go scuba diving! 🙂

  3. Taming Insanity
    October 19th, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    Let’s write a book. A collective book of stories for charity.

    Down with cancer. Up with life.

  4. MaconMom
    October 19th, 2011 @ 11:47 am

    Yes, you can write! Incredibly so. I’m with Taming Insanity; write a book for charity. If you decide to make a go of it, I have a friend doing just that (for tips and pitfalls).

    I get down on myself a lot for not doing more (anything since the birth of my little guy) to change the world.

    Thanks for the reminder… see you did something already today with your words.

  5. Lola M.
    October 19th, 2011 @ 12:12 pm


  6. ejandsloanphillips
    October 19th, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    Ah, the good news is that as a Mommy, you get to be both a doctor and a missionary. And imagine, if every child had a Mommy who adored them, taught them right from wrong, how to accept the consequences of their actions, how to be compassionate and giving, and to say please and thank you, perhaps the world would change itself.

  7. Kristinayellow
    October 19th, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    This was beautiful. I was just thinking “I”m just a mom” and wondering how my daughter will think of me not working or doing big important things in life. But you know, being her mom and being as great a mom as I can be so that she has the confidence to do anything she wants–well, that’s a pretty important job too. Meanwhile, I’m going to stop bookmarking things to make and actually make them. I’m going to plan that trip instead of putting it off. And I’m going to do my darnedest to stop worrying about what this disease will do to me and instead focusing on how and what I can do now. Thank you.

  8. Lisa H
    October 19th, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    I read your blog every day. Your posts almost always move me, but today you made me cry. Thank you for this post, for the reminder, for the kick in the ass. So many of us are just trying to get through the day, we’re just existing.

    I’m so very sorry about your friend. I wish her comfort and strength and health.

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