As a part of my sabbatical, I picked up Explosion in a Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier. Carpentier is a super-influential Cuban writer and the book is about the 19th century revolutions in the Caribbean. At least, that's what it is about at a surface level. Written in 1962, the books themes of revolution and disappointment serve as a coded commentary on the chaos in Castro's Cuba.
One line jumped out to me from the book last night:
"I dreamed of such a different revolution"
Strange things happen when dreamed-of-revolutions meet reality. Our dreams lack details. In the real world, revolutions rarely run smoothly. Disappointment, confusion and bitterness can set in. Character becomes more important than vision.
What you do when your revolution meets reality says something about you. Do you press through? Do you move on to another cause? It may not be an easy decision.
I've been a part of several small revolutions over my years in InterVarsity: diversification of an InterVarsity chapter, a missional shift in another chapter, a change in focus for an InterVarsity Area, a regional restructuring, things like these. None of these revolutions made the news and few will be remembered in a decade. But in each one, I learned something about myself when the revolution met reality. I learned about the darkness in my heart, about the power of my personal stories. I learned about my own limits and about my own priorities. I'm grateful that God gave me learning moments in the midst of these minor revolutions.
Have you ever been part of a revolution? What happened when your revolution met reality? What did you learn?