After writing her poem about the color white, Ilham noticed a change inside herself. When she wrote and read poems, she felt free. She seemed happier, and more alive. She also noticed that her classmates began to understand her better. Writing seemed to have inspired them as well. Ilham wasn’t the only one who detected a difference in her. Mrs. Khoury commented to Ilham how she seemed more confident and happy. And though she still worried about her brother, since his time in the Galilee, Jari seemed to be more confident and cheerful as well.
In the spring of that year, Ilham decided to volunteer at a refugee camp working with the children there. Because poetry had helped her so much, she wanted to encourage them just as Mrs. Khoury had encouraged her. Gradually, after she had gotten to know each of them better, Ilham told the children more about her own life. She told them about her fears for her brother, and of the Occupation, and that she had spent most of her life paralyzed by fear. She told them too that she had learned that the best way to overcome fears was to confront them.
One day, Ilham said to her class, “Children, as you have learned from my story, it is imperative to write down your fears and worries. Also, write down your hopes and dreams. The next time that you pick up a pencil or pen, write down what you are afraid of. But also write down honestly what you hope for in the future. Do not be afraid to dream.”
That evening, as she slept, Ilham had a dream. In her dream, she imagined her life with no barriers, no walls, and living a community where she could meet others of every race and religion in peace. Then she heard a voice speaking to her. The voice exclaimed: “Believe! ‘All things are possible for those who believe in me.” Ilham suddenly awoke. She had a feeling of contentment that she had never known before. And then she realized that a dream like that could only be possible through the intervention of the Holy Spirit. In the months after her dream, Ilham wrote and spoke about what she had learned about herself and her life. She often told the people who came to her speeches to find a way to express their emotions, and to also write about their visions for the future. Ilham assured them that what is written down, if you believe it enough, often comes true. She told them to pray and to trust in God. And she reminded them of what Mahatma Gandhi taught: