“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
The human brain is an amazing organ, one which holds many mysteries. Why do we ask questions? How do we solve mathematical problems in our head? How did the first man think of rubbing two sticks together to create fire, or create a tool, or invent the wheel? (And when I say man, I mean woman!). When you think of all of the amazing inventions and discoveries and creations that have come from people playing around with ideas, all you can do is sit in wonder.
My topic for this morning’s message literally came to me in a dream. I am not even sure what it means, but as the germ of an idea it worked for me. I dreamt I met up with some school children who were going on a tour of a town, to discover for themselves, their ‘innovative history’. How do we make history come alive? How can we help young people to know their past, so that they don’t have to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors?
I read the story this week, of a man whose grandfather had died on the Titanic. The grandfather (a young man of 21) was a violinist in the orchestra, the orchestra who had continued playing even as the ship went down. The grandson was digging into his history, and discovered that not only did the young violinist leave a pregnant girlfriend in Scotland; he also had a son in Jamaica, the product of a relationship with a (black) barmaid at the Constant Spring Hotel. So the grandson embarks on a journey of discovery, to try to see if he can find out what happened to his Jamaican uncle. Through a combination of hard work and an amazing coincidence, he actually locates the grandchild of his uncle while visiting the Jamaican high school that replaced the hotel of his grandfather’s past. Because of his curiosity, his family expanded both in numbers and in diversity!
We are often content to hold on to what we believe about our past, to accept our history as we have been told it, but what other stories may be out there if we ask the right questions? Life is not always as it appears to be. Sometimes we have to radically revise our opinions of people we think we know, and may have underestimated, because we didn’t take the time to get to know their story.
This week an amazing thing happened for nurses. Thanks to a brave beauty contestant deciding to tell the story of her life as a nurse, a TV personality has had to change her View of what the job of a nurse entails! Due to the disparaging remark about a nurse wearing a ‘doctor’s stethoscope’ a nation of nurses has risen up and embarked upon a campaign of education. One of the frustrations of being a nurse is the misperceptions of what it is we do. It is not until you are in the hospital that you realize you see your physician for maybe 5 to 10 minutes a day, but the nurse is the one who is with you through thick and thin.
The way we grow is by challenging our assumptions, testing our dreams, and creating new opportunities. Each time that we question why we do things a certain way, why we see things the way we see them, we open the door to new possibilities. And even though there may be nothing new under the sun, by using old things in a new way we are innovators. They say there are only four basic story plots, yet we still read books and watch movies. I was once told of a minister who said he really only had four sermons, yet his congregation didn’t notice! It is not necessary to come up with totally new inventions every day, but by redesigning old concepts we can find our innovative history!
This morning I challenge you to look at something familiar in a new way; to try to change a habit just because you can. To think of a dream you have ignored, and see if you can give rebirth to it. Our life is short, if we don’t try new things we may never test the full extent of our abilities and talents.
Have a wonderful weekend Family!