The Art of Chasing Dreams: A Lesson from Dr. King

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dreamThe myriad of arts in this world is expansive in range. There are the language arts, the performing arts, fine arts, martial arts, culinary arts and many more. Yet, have you ever pondered the art of chasing dreams? If you have not before, there is no better time than now, because this year’s Black History Month theme includes the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Not only did Dr. King have a dream for a world filled with equality and justice for all people, he also taught the world how to dream.

Chasing Dreams Step 1: Never Delay. When Dr. King wrote a letter from behind the bars of a Birmingham prison cell, he noted that waiting to pursue your dream can very easily turn into never fulfilling that dream. Too many times, people set their ultimate goals aside with the words “I’ll come back to it later.” Unfortunately an uncomfortable number of those who make that choice find that the lapsing of time wanes the chances of ever fulfilling those postponed aspirations. It is of the utmost importance that we take immediate action. Let us no longer fall prey to this sin and start today anew.

Chasing Dreams Step 2: Realize It’s Not Easy. Sometimes it can feel like you are climbing a mountain, yet just because one must start off at the bottom does not mean one cannot reach the top. Often there are obstacles to be faced. However, we are not to fear. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself said “I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’” He understood that not only do challenges come with the territory of chasing dreams, they also bring with them the potential to sharpen our character, make us stronger, and cultivate wisdom.

Chasing Dreams Step 3: Help Others Along The Way. Yes, Dr. King fought for justice in his hometown, but he did not neglect to fight for fellow Americans in neighboring states. He proclaimed, “I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.” You will notice that while you are scaling that mountain to achieve your dreams, your peers are climbing alongside you. There is sweat in their brow just as there is in yours. Perhaps tears stream their face just a tears have streamed yours. May we take care to help those around us strive towards their goals as we pursue our own.

Chasing Dreams Step 4: Remember It Is Worth It. Not all is blood, sweat, and tears. Although it takes a lot of strength, determination, and even sometimes rejection, in the end we will reap the fruits of our labors. Furthermore, you never know how great your reward will be. If Dr. King were alive today, he would be elated to see our multiracial society thriving largely in peace. As excited as Dr. King would be, he would probably be shocked, yet ecstatic, to see that an African-American man was elected to be the president of the United States of America.

Though the activities and events celebrating Black History Month are nearing an end, the essence of this year’s theme lives on in each of us everyday. Perhaps of all the arts in the world the art of chasing dreams is the most important and valuable discipline, and who better to teach it to us than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. The mastery of any art is birthed from this very one, for everything begins with a dream. I entreat you. Chase your dream. Chase it now with everything you have in you. Help your friends, family, and neighbors along the climb. We owe it not only to ourselves but to the world. Behold the power we can have if we master the art of chasing dreams.


Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments: a collection of poetry and short stories available soon on To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have your original poetry featured on Your Black Poets, click here.