Jan 19, 2009
"Where Do We Go From Here?..."
I've been wondering what Dr. King is feeling about tomorrow's inauguration. Surely he is pleased. I also believe that Dr. King is quietly reminding us to be mindful; that the work to heal our country (and ourselves) is not over. Mostly I like to think that he goes about, quietly whispering our ears..."Hold on to the way it felt when Sen. Obama spoke in Chicago. Hold on to the feeling that we finally were able to address each other with joy and without agenda or preconceived notions."
I have this picture on the wall above my desk, just looking at it calms me when I'm worked up about people, things, the world. And when I am worried about what comes next, I am reminded that Dr. King knew what was coming next...and he never wavered from his path. I'm hopeful that in the coming years, we will do the same.
So in the spirit of today, in honor of Dr. King, here's your homework assignment: Give an unexpected hug today. Express kindness in response to anger. Hold the door for someone (I find people tend to be really shocked by that, for some reason). Tell a stranger how lovely they look. Mean it.
Dr. King asks, at the 10th Annual Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "Where Do We Go From Here?" I like his chosen path.
"...Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.
And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren't moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.
And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men and angels; you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not love, it means nothing. Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy; you may have the gift of scientific prediction and understand the behavior of molecules; you may break into the storehouse of nature and bring forth many new insights; yes, you may ascend to the heights of academic achievement so that you have all knowledge; and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing. You may even give your goods to feed the poor; you may bestow great gifts to charity; and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing."