[2015 DREAM Essay] Dreaming the Impossible Dream

We are pleased to partner with WFYI to present a series of powerful essays on Spirit & Place Festival’s 20th anniversary theme, DREAM.

By Sr. Norma Rocklage

The call came on a late Saturday afternoon. My youngest brother Al had had a heart attack while driving and was in critical condition. Deprived of oxygen for seven minutes, the prognosis was not good. The family gathered at the hospital were told by the medical staff that he would not recover and life supports should be removed. We decided to wait and my dream took over my every waking moment … to have the opportunity for Al to regain consciousness and have one last conversation.

A few days later, to the amazement of the staff, Al began to respond, not to staff but to family. Tears would roll down his cheeks when his sons spoke to him of their love and need; lips would move as his wife spoke to him; eyes would open when other families touched him … but still absolutely no response to medical staff.

A month after the accident he became conscious of where he was and the long process of full recovery continued. The medical staff, calling him the miracle man, agree that their medical treatment was excellent, but there was “something else” without which his recovery would not have occurred–the powerful energy of family relationships. My dream was realized!

The “something else” is part of an amazing story of the “elephant whisperer,” Lawrence Anthony, who spent many years protecting elephants in Africa. He courageously rescued elephants from the Baghdad Zoo during the US invasion in 2003, taking them to his reservation, talking to the matriarchs daily, providing for them for three years.  In 2006, feeling they could safely leave, they left never to see him again.

On March 7, 2012, he died. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants, led by two matriarchs, showed up at his home in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend. Thirty one elephants, after walking for 12 miles, stayed for two days and two nights without eating anything and then turned from his grave making their long journey back. Scientists ask “how did they know?”  Conclusion: there is something in the universe that is much greater and deeper than human intelligence; there is a wondrous sense of the “interconnectedness” of all beings!

How has this affected me during the past few years?  It has given me the conviction and “foolishness” to DREAM that the ugliness of evil which has caused us to question what has happened to the “human” in “humankind” can actually be changed. The “something else” described above has strengthened my understanding of quantum physics tenets, that we are one, not just humans, but all creation, the entire universe.  We live in a complex set of relationships and can actually seed the world with good by our thoughts, words, and actions.

And so I dream that the disharmony destroying our world can be changed into peace and harmony if we daily CONSCIOUSLY live in the awareness of that “something else,” both in personal as well as community endeavors, and have the graced foolishness to DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM.

To listen to the audio version of this essay click here!

About the author

Sr. Norma Rocklage, OSF, is the Executive Director for Education Formation Outreach at Marian University.  She is a Sister of St. Francis of Oldenburg, Indiana, and holds a M.A. and Ph.D. from St Louis University.  Sr Norma has experience as an educator, administrator, lecturer, and retreat and spiritual director.  She served as a member of the General Council of her congregation for eight years.

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