Impossible Dreams

Today’s Book Club Monday over at High Calling Blogs…which means I’m thinking about chapter four of Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland.

What’s impossible? In Strickland’s book, he talks about taking on a training center that was falling apart at the seams. The building was crumbling, the students could often be found sitting against the building shooting drugs, one of his teachers pulled a gun on a student. Finding funding to keep even this minimally effective program going was a full time job, and the center teetered on the edge of failure daily. Strickland himself began a downward spiral of depression and drinking that brought him to rest at rock bottom.

And then he found a dream. He looked out his window at an empty lot near the center…and saw in his mind’s eye a way to change the hopelessness that seemed to be pulling him…and the Bidwell training center…ever downward. A new building! A beautiful new building, designed by and architect who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright…a building of light and air, beauty and form and function. A building that would lift the expectations and dreams of those who entered it to a new level.

Strickland then did what many of us would never dream of doing. He hired the architect to make a model of the building he dreamed of. He did this with no financial backing, no solid plans for funding, and no way of knowing how he would pay the $10,000 bill for the architect…much less the millions of dollars needed to build the actual structure. He set off yet again, knocking on doors and sharing his dream. This time, he carried his impossible dream with him in the form of cardboard architect’s model of the future building.

His vision was contagious, and others signed on to his dream. The Manchester-Bidwell center was born, a beautiful and artistic building where dreams had the space and light to thrive.

What’s impossible? I’m sure if you had asked many people if Strickland’s dream was possible, they would have responded with a resounding “No”. And yet….

Awhile ago I found some film clips on a sport called Parkour (or “free running”). What struck me about this sport is how impossible it seems! If I hadn’t seen this, I would have told you that it’s impossible to run up walls, to jump from building to building. And yet here it is!

These athletes didn’t just wake up and decide to run up walls or flip themselves through the air one morning. They worked hard, training daily for the sport. They practiced over and over, they tried…and failed…and tried again. It’s not without serious risks, and the people who embrace this sport frequently do incur injury…sometimes, serious injury (read: Do not try this at home, kids!). But they have a dream in mind, and they are willing to take this risk in order to achieve it. Parkour inspires me, not to try free running but to try to break the limitations I have imagined in my mind and re-define my idea of impossible.

Note: You will want to pause the music over on the right sidebar…just click on the tiny ” symbol on the ipod device, on the bottom of the circle.

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2 thoughts on “Impossible Dreams

  1. Oh my goodness, Erica. Who could ever imagine something like this is going on out there? It really gives a liberating feeling watching these folk fly through the air!It reminds me of the fictional people the Feechiefolk from Jonathan Rogers Bark of the Bog Owl Triligy. They traveled by swinging from tree to tree. You are right, dreams don’t just happen (unless one is very, very blessed). Lot’s of hard work in Strickland’s past. Very inspiring.

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