Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

THE AMERICAN DREAM
Monday, October 7, 2019 by ANGELA BREIDENBACH

PLEASE WELCOME

ANGELA BREIDENBACH

TO

HAVING THE PRIME OF MY LIFE

 

Recently I spoke on a panel of community leaders as we discussed the American dream. Inviting the small audience, mostly senior citizens with some younger folks, to participate added a further sense of community. A few of the panelists had distinct political agendas. Though the moderator asked for those agendas to be set aside for the sake of human connection and conversation, a few could not seem to let go.

Victimization and discrimination became a theme for one gentleman who layered all his comments with rote phrases of practiced guilt. Guilt he expected everyone in the room to wear as a badge of shame. But instead, the room held a lot of listening hearts. Hearts that shared love where he shoved shame. Hearts that related experience instead of judgment as they responded.

At one point, the moderator asked whether the “dream” was a myth or a reality and then asked us to share our opinion. The same gentleman made some assumptive statements about the people listening to his opinions. But those assumptions about the audience and other panelists proved that this gentleman looked at the surface of another human being, too, without seeing their reality or personhood.

The irony wasn’t lost on one attendee as she listened for quite a while and then spoke up. She had experienced extreme racism as a white person in school in Hawaii. I was surprised. My experience with Hawaii was as a vacation place. I knew nothing of the life she’d lived. She’d been thrown out of a class by other students on the history of the islands. She was told she didn’t have a right to learn that history because she wasn’t Hawaiian. She’d experienced “Get Haole Day” each week where white students were regularly attacked. The fellow did not think she’d had “as bad” an experience. He judged and minimized her. She was not a native or even a natural-born American. She was an immigrant from Scandinavia who’d come for her American dream. He dismissed her experience, even turning away from her as he spoke. She asked for recognition that the behavior is racism regardless of the color of the person perpetrating the action. He again ignored her.

I’d stayed quiet, taking in her words and observing the body language between them. Then the moderator called me on my silence. What did I have to add to the discussion? I addressed making assumptions based on surface appearance. When you look at me, what do you see? Would you know my mother was mentally ill, and that I as the child was the parent? Would you know I went hungry a lot in my childhood? Would you know I started working at twelve to eat? Would you know a teacher/coach told me that no one in my school was so poor they had to work? Then she kicked me off the team for choosing my job over the team. Would you have a clue I was abused? Or that my kids all went to college before I could?

The moderator interrupted me, asking, “But do you believe in the myth of the American dream or not? Can you be anything or do anything you want to do here in the US?

I smiled, “Yes. Yes, I do. I believe that it’s hard, hard work and no one does it alone. But it’s possible because I’m doing it.” Even as a late bloomer held back by poverty, dysfunctional family, and then the need to provide for my children. Today, I’m a professional author. My first signed contract was on my forty-fifth birthday. This is my seventh year as the president of a non-profit organization, and summer 2020 I’m going to graduate as a professional genealogist a few days before my fifty-sixth birthday.

These achievements came after I was told I couldn’t be a writer. I couldn’t afford to go to college. I couldn’t have a dream. Guess what? God gave me my own dreams. I read books, sold personal items to attend conferences, and took hundreds of online classes at odd hours as I could pay for them. When I was told, “You can’t…” God breathed life into my imagination, and said, “You can. I’ll show you.” I inhaled the Holy Spirit and stepped out on faith. I do that every day.

I’m ignoring those negative messages that held me back as a victim, as a child of poverty, as someone who didn’t matter. I’m done with allowing others to dictate what I can do, who I should be, and how I should feel. I’m too busy having the time of my life becoming who God made me to be. I may have a late start, but who knows? You may pick up and read one of the books I’ve written or see a TV show or a movie I’m working on. You may attend a workshop on genealogy with me at the front of the room. I’d be truly honored if you did.

What is your dream? How can you inhale the Holy Spirit’s influence leading you into God’s purpose for your life regardless of your age or someone else’s opinion? 

ABOUT ANGELA BREIDENBACH

Angela Breidenbach is a radio personality, bestselling author, and is nearly finished with her genealogical studies degree. She's the president of the Christian Authors Network supporting the careers of Christian authors. Angela was recently awarded Outstanding Broadcasting from the Daughters of the American Revolution for producing and hosting a documentary called, Daughters of the American Revolution: A Patriotic Education at state, Pacific NW Regional, and national levels. 5x5 Productions manages Angela's screenwriting to Hollywood while Tamela Hancock Murray represents Angela's books. Hobbies? The writer has trained her Muse, a fe-lion, to shake hands, roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. All social media AngBreidenbach, http://AngelaBreidenbach.com

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach

Apple Podcasts/iTunes: Lit Up With Angela Breidenbach https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lit-up/id1232892304?mt=2

Angela's A-Muse-ing Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/n0s2t2

ABOUT THE BOXED SET … OUT OF THEIR ELEMENT

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Following her father's death and her own attempted suicide, pampered socialite Karen Butler reluctantly seeks refuge at the home of Sophia Taylor, the grandmother she has never known. Determined to escape Sophia's broken-down ranch as soon as she can, Karen resists connecting with its inhabitants – especially Dusty Stoddard, the driven director of the Golden T's summer camp for at-risk youth. For through their kindness and acceptance, along with the diaries of a remarkable woman who died twenty-eight years before she was born, Karen will discover hidden secrets and amazing truths that could lead her to the greatest love of all.

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