V is for Vision
Patricia Adams Farmer
"The Adventurer of the Universe starts
with the dream and reaps tragic Beauty."
-- Alfred North Whitehead
I have a friend named David who can see things others can't. He has visions. I don't mean David has "second sight" or any psychic ability; rather, it's more of an artist's vision of seeing things that are not there, but that might be. With a gestalt sensibility, he can see something whole that is now in parts, broken, and crying out to be either put out of its misery or loved back into life. David is a woodworker, restorer, and artist. He mainly works with discarded and unwanted pieces of furniture, like the lonely chair left out on the curbside by someone in a rush to move, or the abandoned table at the side of the dumpster, or a battered antique trunk hoping to be discovered on the last day of an estate sale when everything is 75% off. David grabs what others pass up, or gathers odd pieces and makes something completely novel like the "Frankenstein" table as he jokingly called it: a stunning dining set created from disparate parts he found "here and there."
What a gift! To see possibility among the discarded, to save the landfills by remaking something that lasts, and to add beauty to the world.
I think this is the way God dreams in the world. In every moment, God envisions possibilities for wholeness and beauty amid the rubble of our lives. The "Adventurer of the Universe" feels everything, even the most tragic, and through that deep empathy with "what is" carves out a new vision for "what might be" among the wreckage. We process thinkers call this "creative transformation," and it begins with the divine dreamer, a visionary God who lures creation forward with such dreams of beauty, visions born out of love from all the possibilities at hand.
God looks for things, for hidden treasures of possibility among the worn-out and wounded, the discarded, and the broken. But God is not a cosmic carpenter who can pull this off alone. It's more of a cosmic collaboration; God needs our hands and feet and sweat and tears. Yes, envisioning a better world begins as a dream in the mind of God, a creative yearning that saturates the world with hope. It's up to us to catch those dreams and embody them with the flesh and blood of our own uniqueness and calling. Like that carpenter from Nazareth who wanted to remake the world in love.
Perhaps we can all become "dream catchers" for the sake of the world, for God yearns for fellow dreamers, visionary partners of fresh forms of justice and peace and planetary wholeness—those who dare to say with Martin Luther King, Jr., "I have a dream."
Can we do this? Do we dare? Can we let go of such dream-crushers as cynicism and despair? Can we pluck up the courage to re-build a new world, a sustainable planet, a place for democracy and equality to thrive? It all comes down to our capacity and willingness to dream something new out of the broken pieces all around us, whoever we are, and wherever we happen to be.
So, let us ramble through the rubble together, seeking out the good and the redeemable and the "might bes" in the harsh realities of our day. Divine possibilities are always close at hand, deep inside of us, welling up behind our vocal chords, prickling our fingers and toes, waiting patiently to be let loose upon the world.