Monday, January 4, 2010

The Dream Manager - Jan 3, 2010 - Dream, Trust, Act!

So, 2010 has begun…a whole new decade.
still seems strange to me, saying 2,010.

Nevertheless, here we are –
the beginning of another New Year…
and this always seems to be the perfect time
to dream.
Dream new dreams.

Of course, many folks like to dream or make yearly resolutions
about such things as dieting, more family time…

but I would guess,
most of us probably have our own list of things
we’d like to change in our lives
and the world around us.

Discovering a new sense of security and peace
for ourselves and those we love,
would most likely make the short list for all of us.

Including, I am sure both Mary and Joseph
who must have had similar thoughts so long ago
following the birth of Jesus.

No question, the birth of a child
is the beginning of a new adventure,
a time to dream
and yet, at the same time,
it’s a time to consider what it means
to take on this responsibility.

Matthew’s Gospel says,
An Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream
and the Angel had something very direct to say
about this new responsibility.

In fact, the angel came to Joseph and said
the child was in great danger
and the Holy Family must flee right away into Egypt.

And so guided by an Angel from Heaven,
Joseph trusted God
and obeyed…he took action.

Recently, I discovered a fascinating little book called –
“The Dream Manager” by Matthew Kelly.

Kelly’s book tells the story of a company called:
“Admiral Janitorial Services.”

Basically, other companies contracted with them
to provide the staffing to vacuum, scrub floors and clean toilets.
Lots of companies used them.
In fact, they had about 400 employees, and business was good.

But this company had a problem –
they had an annual turnover rate of some 400 percent.

On average, people left the company every 90 days.
Turnover led to inconsistent cleaning and poor morale.

Some of the executives,
who had put a lot of their time and money into this business,
began to think this problem was insurmountable.
They certainly saw these jobs as dead-ends, too.

But what happened next is amazing ---
apparently a middle manager type came to work one day
and told the executives -- an idea had come to him in a dream –
and he now believed there was a way out of all this.

His idea was simply to help other employees build a bridge
between their here and now to a better future.
So they created a position called a -- “Dream Manager.”

The Dream Manager would meet with individual employees,
ask them about their dreams,
and then using a mix of financial planning
and pragmatic counseling,
help them achieve their dreams.

The dreams these employees had were relatively simple,
and with encouragement,
they were achievable.

As employees felt valued and supported,
they began to bring in new business for the company.
And turnover went from 400 percent down to almost zero.

So, what are your dreams?
During this year ahead of us,
how can you and I take on the responsibility of
bridging the here and now to our future?

And maybe along the way ask,
where do we need to feel valued and supported in this?
how will this be achieved and
not just left in a dream…

Actually, what I really want to know is –
where can I find a good “dream manager”?

Joseph, knew where to look, didn’t he?
He recognized God’s messenger in a dream…
and then he Trusted God and acted.

But the trouble is most people are uncomfortable
with living out their dreams,
because we have so many "what ifs" aboard.

And, by the time we throw all those "what ifs" overboard,
what we have left is a well-defined plan
that arcs considerably lower than the dream
we started.

What's missing when we do this is Trust…Faith.
We can lower ourselves into being satisfied with the safer,
smaller arcs, than God or our dreams, intended.

But, when the Christian Church continues to teach –
“just be satisfied and don’t question or doubt”…
take a risk of faith.
When the church becomes self-satisfied with a plan
instead of a dream…

When the church steps away from pushing us
to be more than we currently are,
THEN it truly becomes,
in one thinker's words,
the opiate of the masses.

But, as long as the church –
that is you and me…disciples of Jesus Christ,
remember HOW to dream,
how to stretch and grow,
how to follow whatever dream God sends us,

then, and only then…
can we truly witness to the world
the transforming message
of Jesus’ Love.

May God give us grace to be like Joseph,
who trusted God
and who followed his dreams.

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