Phillip Burgess: Turning dreams into reality

  • Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 12:22 a.m.

The older I become the more I think about my family and the generations that have gone before me.

I can still hear my mother telling me to “respect my elders and honor the wisdom of time.”


I never thought about the “wisdom of time” part until my AARP card arrived in the mail. But, in reality, my elders seem less “elderly” and the youth seem be getting more youthful with each passing year.

If you ever ride in my car, you will find that Radio Disney is often playing on my car stereo.

Although I am some 40 years older than their target audience, and for the listeners, an old song was written in 2011,

I really learn a great deal from the station. A case in point came during the recent Martin Luther King celebration. To honor the memory of Dr. King, the DJ asked the youth of our nation to call in and respond to the question, “What is your dream?”

I was amazed to learn that elementary school students were concerned about global warming and feeding the hungry and that high school students were concerned that they would spend money on higher education and not have a job when they graduate.

On any given day my job allows me to work with people of various ages, races and social conditions.

My day may start on the floor of the nursery with “Eensy-Weensy Spider” and end with “Amazing Grace” played in the social room of a local nursing facility.

In every instance there is a constant theme that is replayed over and over. This theme is that all people, regardless of age, still have a dream.

Whether it is first graders with Legos imagining ways of traveling into outer space, or seniors imagining an easier way of navigating their own homes, we all have dreams.

The speaker at the recent Martin Luther King breakfast was Dr. Zin White, a pastor and decorated war veteran.

White lives his life with the motto, “Together, we can make a difference, and it begins with me.”

As he told the audience, his wake-up call came upon his return from Vietnam. While dressed in uniform with his wife and young family, he stopped at a motel for the night.

The clerk refused him a room because of the color of his skin. For White, the clerk’s discrimination became the inspiration for his motivation to become an agent of change in our nation.

My mother’s admonition is correct. We do need to respect the wisdom of age and time, but more importantly we need to respect the wisdom of ALL ages and ALL times.

Whatever our age, race or creed, we all have dreams for a better this or that, but without action, dreams will simply remain dreams.

Perhaps we should all add a little bit of “-ation” into our lives. To make your dreams a reality you will need a healthy dose of inspiration, motivation, determination and plenty of perspiration.

As Dr. King and generations since have shown, making dreams a reality is hard work.

What are your dreams? Do you have the “-ation” needed to make your dreams come true? If so, then stop dreaming and start acting.

Dr. Phillip E. Burgess is director of music ministries at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

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