“Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of my favorite things about January is that we remember and revisit the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King.
There are many who have not yet understood the humanity of Dr. King. Many who have not taken the time to drink in more than the allotted sound bite, “I have a dream”. Many who have not yet begun the transformation from doubt of the possibility of peace to the commitment to act on behalf of peace, as did this courageous man. Today there are some who assert he could have done better, and there are some ready to dismiss the practice of nonviolence altogether making Dr. King an easy mark for intellectual debate.
As I see it, the movement that encompassed Martin Luther King was right on. Evolution doesn’t come along and change things over night, as much as we may wish. It is however, undeniable that we would be here now had it not been for the people of that time and the stand they were willing to take.
Having learned from Gandhi and as a man of peace in his own right, Martin knew the perils of asking white patriarchal hierarchy for justice. He knew and was delivered the harshest of judgments and paid the ultimate sacrifice for his efforts. So when people sit back and call his undertakings failures, I am suspect. Perhaps it is time we stop putting pedestals up for the heroes we create and setting them up for the fall.
The greatest way to honor those who call forth our humanity – is to stand next to them not behind them.
In other words, be your own hero. Learn from the voices of the past. Recognize that if we can stand together none would have to fall alone. Save time and energy on philosophical debate and put into action the truths that you carry in your own heart.
I will continue to learn from the genius of this man and draw courage from his character. I will take what I have learned and move deeply within myself to match his humanity with my own. What I will not do is walk lockstep behind him, nor will I take him down with hindsight babble.
One year before his assassination, he began to link the Vietnam War to poverty and racism. In doing so he not only risked the anger of his government but also the rejection of some of the people on whose behalf he spoke. Yet the words are as true today as the day they were spoken. We are foolish to continue to ignore them.
We insult our own humanity when we do not change the course of action that keeps bringing us to war.
Stick with love and lay your burdens down. Stick with love and war will end.
Thank you Martin.