This I Believe

Jay - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on November 16, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: courage

Being called a dreamer is a funny thing. It invokes either praise or scorn depending on the person who labels you as such. Dreamers tend to be obsessive, but as the dream begins to grow, the more obsession is necessary. People frown on dreamers, often dismissing their vision as trivial.

I however believe in the power of dreams. For 5 years I lead a double life. By day I was a Supervisor at a fortune 500 corporation, but by night I was an internationally globetrotting documentary filmmaker.

At 27, I began shooting this as a short expose on a quirky subculture spawned by a small dream of another gentlemen also living a double life of sorts. As I dug deeper and we became friends, our dreams took on lives of their own and as his group grew, mine broadened.

Throwing caution to the wind, I sold all my possessions, lived on dehydrated noodles, and traveled almost every weekend to parts unknown to document these people.

Dreamers feel they can see beyond the obvious, which tends to justify the illogical choices they make. Of course my corporate colleagues had no real grasp on this duel life of mine and only saw the illogical, and most of them immediately started taking me less seriously. Dreamers aren’t respected until the dream becomes a reality. Which they naturally then become ‘visionaries’ and are no longer the dreamer.

With no money, no sleep and no life, I began to break down and the dream no longer sustained me. Reality had fought back hard on the dream. The same happened with my friend. Being figurehead of this group while trying to maintain a professional and normal home life became crushing. Yet luckily for both of us, our dreams survived.

It was at this time the subject of my film found out his precious daughter was diagnosed with cancer. The 4000 members of the now worldwide organization dropped everything to help his family and I was directly in the path to record this outpouring.

Things didn’t work out as we had hoped, but this family of dreams was there for him in his hour of grief. Later, I met another individual whose son had passed away of Leukemia. He too had been touched by this group my friend created, going on record that he didn’t know how he would be coping with his own son’s death if it hadn’t been for my friend and his group.

Being a dreamer is now a badge I wear proudly. My friend’s small dream helped spawn joy around the world. It evolved and was there for him and a complete stranger in their darkest hour. His simple dream even helped them deal with something as enormous as the deaths of their own children.

Personally, I’m humbled and honored that my small dream allows their story to be told and in some way their children remembered. Dreams are irrational and draining, but the power of dreams defines our humanity. This I believe.