If there’s one thing I know about bee life, it’s that each generation of bees will sacrifice everything for the next gen. By the time she dies, the worker bee wings will become threadbare and tattered—30 days of hard work for the community, culminating in field work, the pinnacle of selfless service. The queen will lay generation upon generation of eggs until she is barren. Recently I read new findings, which suggest that she is not cast out after her life work, but is quietly retired to the back of the hive to live out her last days peacefully.
These days our youth are rising up and showing us the vision, the sacrifice, the way forward to action for the common good. From Standing Rock to Tiny Houses, the next generation is walking the walk and talking the talk for what we must do to close the gap and create a just society—healthy for our children and our children’s children. They are calling us all to become the beehive, in essence.
Yesterday I listened to a Democracy Now! interview with two great social transformers of the 20th century. Harry Belafonte and Noam Chomsky. Belafonte, whom many of us know as a successful African American entertainer, don’t know that he also fought in WWII. He came home as a decorated serviceman only to find that the country he served was now at war with his own race. The Civil Rights movement would heat up even as the black men in uniform returned, their service lost in Jim Crow. At 90 years old, he is an eloquent speaker. He spoke of the legacy we are handing our children as we face unprecedented, growing chasms between rich and poor— wealth and greed competing for the highest public offices in this country. Monied interests have infected our politics until we can no longer see what’s real.
We have been so contaminated with possessions and power that we have forgotten that we have destroyed our children, or set the tone for that…without people who understand that there’s no sacrifice we can make that is too great to retrieve that which we’ve lost, we will forever be distracted with possessions and trinkets and title.
In 1967, MLK, Jr. had already identified materialism as one of the three evils facing societies. Pair that with the absolute power of militarism and racism, it creates a wicked brew that will destroy a society. Unless we the people stay vigilant…
I remember an old scriptural imperative. Without a vision, the people perish. More than ever, I think it is time to stand with those who have dreams for their future. It is time to listen to those who hunger for truth, a new direction and what is authentic. The next gen is charting the course for that which is life affirming. It will take all of our courage and fortitude in the face of adversity ahead.
Howard Thurman (1899-1981) Civil Rights leader, author, theologian, professor, philosopher wrote about dreams for the future. It is a simple vision. You don’t have to be astounding , just persistent. Determined. Showing up every day for the next generation. Like the bees.
Keep Alive the Dream in the Heart
The dream in the heart is the outlet…
The dream need not to be some great and overwhelming plan;
It need not be a dramatic picture of what might or must be someday;
It need not be a concrete outpouring of a world shaking possibility of sure fulfillment.
Such may be important for some; such may be crucial for a particular moment in human history
But it is not in these grand ways that the dream nourishes life.
The dream is a quiet persistence in the heart,
That enables us to ride out the storms of our churning experiences.
It is the exciting whisper moving through the aisles of our spirit
Answering the monotony of limitless days of dull routine.
It is the ever-recurring melody in the midst of the broken harmony
And harsh discourse of human conflict.
It is the touch of significance which highlights
The ordinary experience,
The common event.
The dream is no outward thing.
It does not take its rise from the environment
In which one moves or functions.
It lives in the inward parts,
It is deep within, where the issues of life and death are ultimately determined.
Keep alive the dream;
For as long as we have a dream in our heart,
We can not lose the significance of living.