When I stepped out into our backyard early this morning I was amazed at the calm beauty that surrounded me. As the sun broke over a row of distant trees and sent a sharp angle of light across the yard, I thought to myself how peaceful it was and that it was hard to imagine that a day or two ago the skies where black, sheets of rain were pouring down and the trees were profusely bending to the strong gusts of wind from the outer rings of Hurricane Matthew.
At that moment in time the morning was still, the trees stood magnificently tall, the air was crystal clear, crisp and sweet smelling and there was green as far as my eyes could see. As I prepared breakfast a little while later, I found myself praying that the peace that was present outside our kitchen window would also find its way into my being as I faced the new day and all my responsibilities.
We have a painting that hangs over our beds of an idyllic scene of a meadow with a stream lazily floating down the center of the frame. On one side of the stream near a cluster of willows there is a young boy sitting in a boat with a fishing pole in hand. For years this picture hung over my Mom’s piano in the living room of our home when I was growing up. I can remember sitting at the piano when I was supposed to be practicing my scales and dreaming that the boy in the picture was me and what fun I was having in the warmth of the summer sun, pole in hand and the dreams of childhood dancing through my mind!
In the months that we have been in our new home and that picture has had its prominent place in the master bedroom, I have found myself gazing into that picture, especially when my wife was going through a traumatic time, and drawing peace from the idyllic scene and the childhood dreams that it had evoked in me.
As I looked up into the painting this morning I began to think about the importance of dreams. Throughout the years of my life I have come across countless people who have never stepped out to fulfill a dream. People who live a life of regular routine, safe from the unknown adventures that they may or may not discover as they follow a dream. A life that to me… is squashed down with the fear of “What If?” A life that I would find stale and rather boring!
With today being Columbus Day, I found myself getting a little annoyed at the negative articles that served to destroy the explorer’s character, lessen the importance of his place in history, and destroy the dreams that those elementary school history lessons describing the events of the year 1492 ignited in the hearts of children of my generations as well as those previous to me.
Sure Christopher Columbus had his idiosyncrasies, personal flaws, and other discrepancies, we all do, but he did something that most men couldn’t even imagine. He had the confidence and the courage to set out and follow his dreams. I believe that this is one of the most important lessons and attributes that we adults should be teaching the younger generations. Why do we try to white wash our history? Isn’t history something we study in order to discover our roots, understand the gains we have made over the years and to learn from our mistakes?
As I study the history of our new home here North Carolina, it is easy to understand the deep pride that the southerners have with their past generations who fought in the war between the states. To see the statues commemorating their heroes of times and actions past being defaced and torn down is a personal affront to the thousands of lives that were given for their families, for what they considered to be their country and a way of life that was changing before their very eyes.
Whether we like it or not, those statues are a part of every citizen of the United States. They commemorate a part of history that sculptured our current way of thinking, living and our place in the world today. Some of those memories aren’t too pleasant and some are, but they all contributed to how we got to where we are in this generation. Personally, I don’t want me or my family to forget those historical facts. I want to be able to remember the good times as well as the bad when I am faced with daily decisions in order to follow the correct path.
I want all those historical facts in my tool box when I step out to follow a God ordained dream in this life, so that I don’t make the same mistakes. I commemorate Christopher Columbus for the courageous faith and dreams that drove him and his crews to step into three tiny ships and set a course across a largely unmapped and unknown ocean to seek new adventures, chart new lands and open up the world to a whole new page of history.
I also commemorate Christopher Columbus for all the dreams he set forth in the minds of young boys and girls through the centuries… including that young boy that sat at his mother’s piano and dreamed of new and exciting adventures as he starred at the painting of the boy fishing on a drifting boat in a stream on a lazy summer afternoon.
Men and women in history like Christopher Columbus are heroes to people like me! It is examples like there’s that have driven me to follow my dreams, to be an explorer of a type that charts new lands and seeks God-given adventures in faith that challenges the truth of the Word of God, and desires to be all that God has created me to be!
Sometimes the path is easy, and at other times it is not, but during the rough times I have found myself over the years turning to a familiar portion of scripture for guidance and peace and can also imagine Christopher Columbus doing the same in the midst of an mid-Atlantic storm that pushed the crests of the waves over and across the decks of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and opening his Bible to Psalms 23:1-2 and declaring: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me besides the still waters.” (KJV – and yes I realize that the King James Bible wasn’t written when Columbus took that adventure… but I am sure he had another version with him!)
So on this 524th anniversary of Columbus’ adventure across the unknown sea, I encourage you to celebrate the courage, the faith, the discipline and the confidence he had to follow his dreams and become a symbol of what each of can do to boys and girls throughout the years past… and in the years to come! Happy Columbus Day everyone!
Hey… I turned to Piper last night while watching TV and declared: “Well, we can add another item to our ‘Have Done’ list… we’ve been through our 1st Hurricane! Yeah!” Now what else can I dream about doing…