Among the Saints: Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

This poem by Langston Hughes, the theme for your commencement, has always meant a lot to me. Coming from a single parent home and raised by my mother, I saw what broken dreams did to my family and what it has done to so many people that I've loved:

Destructive addictions
Repetitive cycles of procrastination
Crippling alcoholism

And so many more broken dreams.

Seeing as I'm in church, I going to take this opportunity to preach a little. One of the most famous dreamers in the Bible was Joseph, the son of Jacob. But what did Joseph dream and why were his dreams important? We also know that his brothers betrayed Joseph and we have to ask ourselves why they did that.

Joseph's dreams kept his tribe alive and his dreams saved the nation of Egypt. But why did his brother betray him? Sell him into slavery?

I think his brothers betrayed him because they stopped believing in their own dreams, and when they did that, they wanted to stop anyone else who had a dream. Joseph, the dreamer, became their enemy.

I know many of you, especially the children who are graduating from elementary school, are seeing that every day. You see the broken dreams, and you see the broken men and women all around you.

Langston Hughes saw this every day and that's why he wrote the poem.

But you have a better chance than Joseph and his brothers. You have an abundance of love in your church family that surrounds you at Mount Carmel .You have  brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles who only want the best for you.

My question is what are you going to do about it?

I believe every one of us is here for a reason; every one of us has a dream. Are you going to live up to your dream? Are you going to use "what's in your hand" to "put your dreams to reality"?

I know I have been living my dream, but it wouldn't have been possible without some of the people on whose shoulders I now stand.

I'll just mention a few of them

My teachers at Mona Primary: Mrs. Pennycooke and Mrs. Henry
My teachers at Jamaica College: Dennis Scott and James Carnegie
My teachers at Miami Dade College: Martha McDonough, Bruce Firestone, Angela Turner
My teachers at the University of Miami: Lester Goran, Evelyn Wilde Mayerson, O. R. Dathorne, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. 
My  family, who loves me and gives me the space to create and come back to them
My friends, who support my work in seen and unseen ways

And many, many more.

I'm standing here because of people who had faith in me. One is sitting right here in your church. Your sister, Lois Smith.

The Bible says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." The thing "not seen" is your future, but do you have to have faith that it can and will happen?

Do you believe?

I believed the words of my teachers and mentors that I could write a book. Up to today, I have published ten books and three more are one the way. If I could do it, so can you. I'm not saying your dream has to be to write a book. The fire in you is your dream. You have to follow your dream

The question is will you live up to your dreams?

I know you see evidence every day of your brothers and sisters, classmates who have stopped believing in their dreams and they want to drag you down. Don't let them. Never let them drag you down.

You are too precious, too worthy, too beautiful to be dragged down

And you have so many people who are praying for you, night and day. Day and night for you to succeed. Will you stand on the promise? Will you stand on the promise of all those who love you?

I hope and pray that you do.

For when you do, you praise the ancestors, all of those who fought for you to be free to have an education. All of then freedom fighters here in Miami who relied on God's promise for you.

Stand on the promise young graduates. Stand on the dream and you will be greatly blessed.


Mount Carmel Baptist Missionary Church, July 12, 2011.


Stephen Bess said…
This was the frequent comment on my elementary and middle school report cards: "Stephen likes to daydream." :)
Geoffrey, I stand on the promises of all those who love me. Most of all, I stand on the promises of God. I'm a believer in dreams and prayer. This is what sustains me. Whenever doubt enters my mind, I refer back to His promises and cling to those things hoped for and not yet seen. I remain a dreamer. The problem is when the dreamers are not doers; therefore, I have encourage and remind myself to move. Thanks for this. Great post.
Stephen, I am very happy that you commented on this. In fact, I was hoping that you would because when I was writing this post, I was thinking about you and the faith I have seen you manifest.
Take care of yourself, Stephen.

One Heart,
Stephen Bess said…
Wow! That's wonderful. Well, that explains why it resonated with my spirit so much. :) Have a great day Geoffrey.

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