a reluctant atheist

I'm an atheist who wishes she wasn't. Life would be so much easier!

What Does Vision Mean to You?

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Today’s Daily Post writing prompt is “Vision,” and for the first time I’m going to try and write about a single word in my blog. Vision is a word packed with emotion and charged with possibilities, but it can mean something quite different from one person to another.

In secular terms, “vision” is often used to indicate that an employee or company has a firm grip on what the future of an entity should be. “That company as a vision for our future,” or “That woman has vision; she’ll go far in this business.” Vision seems to be mixed in with ambition, talent and drive. After all, if you don’t have the cojones to follow through with your vision, what good would it be? So vision in a secular sense is tied up with a lot of action words.

Vision of Mary

If I saw a vision like this, I’d probably faint. When I woke up, I’d make an appointment with a neurologist and a psychiatrist. I would NOT become Joan of Arc.

In the church circles I grew up in, “vision” was a word packed with religious portent. A vision of God, a vision of what my Christian life should be, and on occasion a believer would claim that they had a vision of heaven or a vision of Christ visiting them, whether in dreams, when they were praying, etc. Visions of saints are indications of divine grace, but these visions aren’t part of the individual’s own personality. These kinds of visions happen to a person, they aren’t created by that person. A religious vision is passively accepted by the recipient, not created by him or her. In fact, most people who have these visions reject them at first, whether out of fear, confusion or simply not wanting to be seen as crazy. There are a few people who seem to have religious visions with alarming regularity and embrace them. These are the leaders of certain churches that rely on this kind of divine intervention to guide them. They are, thankfully, few and far between because the more aggressive or pro-active a charismatic visionary is, the more passive and accepting their followers seem to become.

But I have a different definition of “vision.” It may be closer to the secular definition, but is more personal. I work hard and my boss will occasionally tell me that he admires my vision for his company. I don’t dispute his belief that I do have ideas for his business, but they are just that – ideas.

For me, vision is about looking toward the future and seeing possibilities. It’s more personal than a vision for a company or group and less certain than the visions claimed by the devoted visionaries of religious groups. I don’t know whether my visions will ever come to pass, but they bring me hope that I will improve and grow as time goes on. I have a vision, for instance, that I will one day be able to stand up firmly for all my personal beliefs without fear of disappointing or angering my family. My visions give me goals that I can work toward in the here and now. If I’m lucky, my visions will come true, but only if I actively work toward them.

My personal definition of  vision is many things – it is hopeful, it is personal, and it moves me forward. It will never be passive; it will spur me toward a better, brighter future that is right for me. I have a vision, for instance, that I will one day be able to stand up firmly for all my personal beliefs without fear of disappointing or angering my family. My visions give me goals that I can work toward in the here and now. If I’m lucky, my visions will come true, but only if I actively work toward them.

For me, a vision is many things – it is hopeful, it is personal, and it moves me forward. It will never be passive; it will spur me toward a better, brighter future that is right for me.

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