By George Kelley
As I stood one day on the stones of the ruins of Urquhart castle on Loch Ness in Scotland, I remembered being a small boy reading a comic book about a ghost in those very ruins and dreaming about visiting this castle some day.
I always thought my dream was unlikely. I lived in rural Northern New York, and Scotland was as far away as the moon for me, and also because my family did not have the money to afford such kind of trip. However, I never stopped dreaming about the all places I would love to go, and as I aged my dreams took a backseat to more important things, but they were always there, and like in that moment on Loch Ness, coming rushing back to remind me of what it means to dream to have hope for the future. It happened again with another dream, to straddle the equator, however this time, the feeling was different.
Near the equator, in Western Kenya, a group of faith communities from Indianapolis joined the Kenyan faith groups and began supporting orphans and vulnerable children by providing school lunches and educational subsidies to combat the ravages of HIV/AIDS. More than 3000 children receive much needed food and many receive tuition and other support for schooling through the Umoja project of the Global Interfaith Partnership. This project helps the community, already trying to build scaffolding for those who lost parents to illness, make their work easier. I was able to visit our project with a group of interfaith leaders from Indianapolis and in doing so had the opportunity to fulfill that dream of standing with one foot in each hemisphere.
Standing on the equator was moving experience but much more as I shared the moment with others, concerned for the wellbeing of children a world away from my home. While at their age I dreamed of Loch Ness, but those kids dreamed of food and shelter. This was humbling for sure, but it also reminded me that it is okay to dream, even if the dream is far away. Some of the children in Kenya could have never imagined that someone would be concerned enough to help them finish school, but we came. It allows them to dream bigger dreams. It is those dreams that help enhance one’s life and strive for more. Something we can all do.
About the Author
George Kelley is the Education Director of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck. He is active in the interfaith community and serves on the Executive board of the Global Interfaith Partnership (GIP) among other community involvement. He grew up one of eight children in rural New York state and has lived in many states over his 50 years. He is a storyteller and loves to travel with his wife Dianne.