I watched a documentary about residents in the slums of Brazil whose only option to earn a living was to sift through miles of garbage for recyclable material. It was difficult to watch, and I could almost smell the bitter, damp air that they spent hours breathing in. The pay was next to nothing and the living conditions were atrocious. I found myself naively wondering, "How and why can they live their life like that?" After some contemplation, I realized the painfully simple answer. There was never another option for them. No shred of thought that they could do otherwise. Nothing that they could see, hear of, or even imagine in their wildest dreams. How could they do something if they never thought of it?
I've slowly come to realize on my own, that the more you imagine in life, the more it becomes an actual possibility. I never saw a female in the Army until I went to an Army National Guard ceremony for my older brother. There was one female in his class and she earned an award for the highest physical fitness score. I remember being very proud of her though I never met her. I was about 12 years old. That may have been the first time I ever thought it was possible to be in the military myself.
I've NEVER imagined becoming a chemist, doctor, mathematician, or biologist. And guess what...I never WILL be with that mind set. On the other hand, I've daydreamed of making music in every way possible since I was a little girl. And those daydreams are helping me now to make a reality.
The documentary continues to tell the story about an artist, Vik Muniz, who photographed these garbage pickers and made beautiful, priceless art from their pictures. When the masterpiece was complete, the garbage pickers were moved to tears from seeing themselves in a way they never thought possible. Something valuable. Something fascinating. For many, this eye-opening vision changed their lives. They could no longer bare the thought of returning to their job. Some opened their own shop or business. Some moved to a new area to start over. But all were changed forever after they saw themselves in a new light and began to imagine a different life.
For some reason, God sees us ALL as priceless and beautiful. He wants us to know our value and never settle for less. He gave us imaginations and brains and creativity so that we could dream to our full potential and become the masterpiece that He created. I think we are to hold onto our dreams, pursue them, dream more, dream often. Because before it can become reality, it first has to be imagined.
Image from Muniz's series "Pictures of Garbage" from here.