The gift of a dreamer


Some time ago my friend Blas Cantu brought me a gift — a very thoughtful and personal gift, two statuettes, one of Don Quixote, the other, Sancho Panza.

“Because you’re a dreamer, like me,” Blas told me.

Blas had kept these statuettes on his desk at the Harlingen Housing Authority until his retirement. When I retire I plan to find another dreamer.

You never know what a gift may mean to another person.

You probably know the story of Don Quixote. Don Quixote was kind of crazy, but he saw the world as a better place than it was, and lived like the world was what he wished it would be.

Sounds crazy, but the world really is what you think it is. If you think the world is full of jealousy selfishness and hatred, that’s the world you’ll live in. If you’re looking for peace, kindness and humility, you’ll find them too.

The main character in another great work of literature, Les Miserables, is Jean Valjean. He was sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. After escaping, Valjean stole valuable silver from a bishop who had given him shelter. The bishop forgave him and even gave him as gift the very silver Valjean had stolen.

This act of kindness transformed the hardened criminal. Victor Hugo says through the narrator of the story, “Did a voice whisper in his ear he had just passed through the decisive hour of his destiny, that there was no longer a middle course for him, that if, thereafter, he should not be the best of men, he would be the worst?”

The world is what we decide to see in it and what we see in it is determined by the decisions, small and large, we make every day about what kind of men and women we want to be.

Every day is “the decisive hour” of your destiny. Decide to be a dreamer.

Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.