When was the last time you recognized those whose words and deeds exemplify the values of inclusion, diversity, community, and equality? Now is an ideal time to honor your hero, whether it’s someone famous, someone in your congregation or family, or a local community partner.
This is a hard prompt. I am inspired by so many folks: my mother, the ministers who serve my congregation, my fellow-DRE's in this area and those I only know through their work, the many passionate volunteers and advocates who attend my congregation, and the community figures I know who work on so many worthy dreams. And that doesn't even take into account the authors, international figures, and historical figures that inspire me through their work and the love they have brought to the world.
To pick one person seems impossible to me, so I am going to share the story of an amalgam I will call The Dreamer (who is not me, but a combination of people I know).
The Dreamer was born into fairly mainstream American family, and comes from a middle-class family of European background. The Dreamer then gradually started to form their own opinions in adolescence, and although they dearly love their family-of-origin, they don't have the same values and beliefs anymore. College then really changed The Dreamer, and they found their Dream and became passionate about changing the world.
That was all fine and good in college, but after graduation the family says "Ok, now what are you really going to do to make a good income? It's time to cut your hair and get a real job, son/daughter."
But The Dreamer had a DREAM, not a career-plan. So The Dreamer took a low-paying job as an advocate/social worker/librarian/government agency-worker/organic farmer and/or went on to get a completely impractical graduate degree. Their family sighed and worried, but hoped they would grow out of it.
The Dreamer met many other dreamers, and went to live in an Intentional Community/married-partnered another dreamer/got a bunch of really awesome Housemates and found a community outside college that supported dreaming. But it was hard, and many of the dreamers struggled with giving up on their dreams or feeling that it was hopeless - no change would ever really happen and in the meantime you can't afford health insurance.
The Dreamer got older/had children/bought a house and now their family and others they knew expected them to finally give up on this dream and go get that real job. They couldn't afford the things their family could afford, and they were offered hand-outs so they could go to Family Reunions that would be held at expensive resorts or so they could go to the same restaurant for dinner with everyone else.
These things bother The Dreamer, but he/she cannot/will not give up on their Dream, and so they keep on staying home with their kids/working at low wages for an organization they believe in/struggling to be self-employed and build their own business/or working a day-job to pay the bills while doing their real love at the same time.
Ask not what the world needs, but rather what you love, for what the world really needs is more people doing what they love.