Worldmakers are Dreammakers
“It makes my heart sing to see how such simple acts of care can bring so much joy to others,” my friend, Linda, said as she was telling me about her community organization’s work to grant wishes to low income seniors.
“What are some of the fun wishes you’ve granted?” I asked.
“There was a feisty older woman who dreamed of being a truck driver. We arranged for her to ride cross country with a licensed driver, covering her hotel and food. Most of these wishes don’t actually cost a lot of money.”
Caring is a precious gem that money need not buy.
This story landed smack in the center of my heart. We recently had taken my 85 year old mother-in-law (known as Grandma Shirley) to see Mollie B., a polka musician she had long dreamed of seeing. My girls grew up to Mollie B. polka parties in grandma’s kitchen. During intermission at this free community concert, we encouraged Grandma to go say hi to Mollie B. “Oh, I couldn’t do that!” she insisted. “Sure you can. She would love to hear what her music means to you.” And so she did.
Visiting with this musician who had brought so much joy to her life was a dream come true.
On the way home, with Grandma Shirley still aglow, we passed a semi-truck. “You know, I’ve always wanted to ride in one of those,” she said. We expressed surprise and shared a laugh about how this must run in the family because people joke that my husband would make a great truck driver given his affinity for driving his pickup truck near and far.
In light of Linda’s story, I thought back to this conversation, recalling Grandma Shirley quietly saying, “I just think it would be amazing to sit up so high as you travel down the road – what a view that must be.”
Listen carefully and you just might hear the quiet dreams of others.
Linda continued, “Our greatest challenge actually isn’t finding ways to make dreams come true, it’s helping people understand that they are worthy of their dreams.”
Let that sink in…
The hardest part of supporting others often isn’t finding a way to make a dream come true, it’s convincing them that they matter and are worthy of the dreams embedded in their heart.
My wheels were turning like an 18 wheeler… the search for a trusty truck driver in northeast Iowa began.
One day, I found myself pulling into a trucking company. A young man named Thomas greeted me and listened so attentively to my story of wanting to help a grandma’s dream come true that I got all the way through it before he said, “You’ll have to talk with my dad.” This led me to Matt Rethwisch, a second generation driver who learned the business from his dad, Tom.
Matt quickly agreed to take Grandma Shirley for a spin. On the big day, I called and asked her out for lunch, telling her we had a stop to make on the way. Surprise!
Grandma was a little hesitant about climbing up into that big truck but seeing that Matt clearly was capable of spotting her – and delightfully discovering that she had worked with his grandma in her earlier days – put her at ease. My husband, daughter and I joined Matt’s younger son, Jack (who has his own dreams of being a 3rd generation driver), and his friend in the cab. It was so spacious – with a bed, closet, refrigerator, microwave and TV – and meticulously clean, thanks to Thomas’ detailing.
As Matt drove us across the bridge to Wisconsin and back to Iowa, we peppered him with questions. Hearing Grandma exclaim, “I am enjoying myself… I am learning so much… I always wondered what it would be like to ride up so high. This is really something!” made us all smile.
Upon our return, I teased her, “First, meeting Mollie B. Now truck driving. Grandma, you’ll need to start thinking about what you want to do next.” “Oh, I don’t think anything can beat this!” she replied.
Oh, let’s try…
This experience resonated deeply with my nonprofit Worldmaker work creating resilience curriculums that help youth cultivate hope and a positive vision for their future, such as Plant Your Dreams community events and youth day camps. Worldmakers are dreammakers.
Community helpers who support our seniors also need and deserve support. It dawned on me that these curriculums could be modified to engage seniors in fun ways, unleash the power of honoring that their lives matter, and guide them through a series of questions that bring forth the quiet – or bold – dreams in their heart. These short programs would be perfect for nursing homes, independent living homes, senior centers, local churches or anywhere else seniors tend to gather in their community.
We each are called to be a worldmaker for others – young and old, helping them create a world of safety, connection and meaningful contribution. Who knows? When you listen carefully and surround another’s dreams with care, they just might come true.
Author’s gratitudes: Thank you to my inspiratrix, Linda Ramirez, to the gracious Mollie B., and to the generous Matt Rethwisch. Despite our attempts to give Matt some gas money and gratuity, he wouldn’t accept a penny, saying that helping Grandma’s dream come true was all he needed. If you’re in NE Iowa and need your car or truck detailed, please call on Thomas’ Detailing and Polishing!