ENG 101—English Composition I
Sandra Dihlmann, Instructor
Assignment: Re-visualize the1950’s image of the American Dream.
My American Dream
I have a dream of a land that brings freedom and hope, one with no more pain or sadness, one where the widow and the orphan find their family and the struggling family finds their home. In my dream, everyone looks out for the interests of others, instead of just themselves. I was created to dream big and to imagine great things. I was created to love, to persevere, to hope, to see the good in things, and to believe. I have a sensitive heart but also one of anger that drives me to accomplish as much as I can while I walk on this earth. I walk daily on the land that my ancestors dreamed of. I carry their desires in my heart.
When my great-great-great grandfather was young, he was surrounded by the depression of Wales. He had big dreams that carried him over the sea to a land of freedom. He started as a lowly cattle rancher, suffering heat and physical pain as he worked to gain his freedom. After years of labor, he bought fifty acres of land on which he raised his own cattle. This is my heritage. This is the blood of determination and desire to find true happiness that runs through my veins.
My dad and his brothers were the first people in their family to go to college. Though it was my grandfather’s dream to pursue schooling, he had to care for his family during the Great Depression. He dreamed, then, for his children and grandchildren. I am a product of his hope. I am a student. I am experiencing the late nights and over-booked schedule so that I may follow the desires that run through my body. I am a daughter, sister, and friend.
I am surrounded by people who love me even after they see my weaknesses. It is because of the love that I have experienced that I continue my quest to make a difference in this world. I want to change America for the better. I want to do more than take away hunger, poverty, and pain, for these things will never fully disappear on this earth. I want to change the very soul of mankind, for only after the heart changes can there be change on the outside. I want to touch the untouchables—people that society ignores because of the “disgrace” they bring: the thieves and murderers, the poor and lowly, the sick and depressed. My heart cries out in compassion when I see the lonely orphans in Africa whose lives will often end quickly because of disease. I want to change people’s souls, but, I, as a human being with limitations, know that I cannot change them. Only the creator can change their very souls. I desire true love that is beyond any human relationship, love that is so unselfish and humble that nothing could take it away, and I desire everyone to experience this love.
My life is short, like a mist that comes and then is gone, but I want that mist to have a lasting impact on people. I want my life to matter to others because of the hope that I brought to them. My life matters to me because in every breath I want to praise my creator who gave me the compassion that I feel inside. My life is built in the image of my creator, and this is why I have such strong desires. They come from the very heart of my God. I have the desire to create something beautiful from my hands and to experience the joy that comes when I humble myself and help others.
I am here with a purpose. I don’t know the specifics of that purpose yet, but I do know that above all, my life is meant to praise my creator and use my gifts of compassion to help others. This is why my heart sings for joy when I stand in nature and praise the one who made it, and tears drip down my face when I see the sad eyes of children with no hope. My life is a story that is being written so that others may see my weaknesses and the grace that my God has given me to help me overcome my faults. My story is still being written and is going through many revisions, but in the end, I hope my story touches the hearts of people so that they may find hope. I find my greatest joy when I am at the feet of a lonely child, simply being the friend they always wanted. My heart has a very special place for children, and my goal is to one day reach the desperate and orphaned children of Africa, whose only hope lies in the hands of the one that created them. Part of this dream is coming true, because this summer I have the opportunity to spend three weeks with the children of Kenya. I only hope that Africa will find my heart, because in America I am told that I need more stuff to make me happy. I am overcome with selfishness and this only leads to discontentment. There is a voice inside of me that keeps telling me something is missing. If possessions and money bring happiness, why do I only see pain and hopelessness everywhere I look? There must be something more that we have missed.
But my American Dream is hushed by America itself. When I want to change the world, it tells me that I need to be the very best. If defined by its terms, I would only fail. My dreams of showing compassion are crushed by words that proclaim that I am the only one that matters. My dream of experiencing true selfless love is taken from my hands and torn into a thousand pieces as the world tells me that true love is impossible, and I can only find love if I pursue my selfish desires.
Maybe I cannot find my dream in America because my desires are not something that this life can offer. Warm tears slip down my face as I realize this because of the passion that motivates me. I will overcome these limitations that America puts over me by finding my desires in something bigger than this land. I walk on my path of life with perseverance. My eyes are focused on the goal ahead. True life, true liberty, and the pursuit of true happiness—this is my American dream.