Thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day…
- I was ten years old when Martin was assasinated. I do not remember ever having heard of him, which was not unusual given the fact that we didn’t talk about world events in my home. It wasn’t that world events were taboo, my parents just didn’t discuss it. I feel sad that he met such a tragic end.
- Being a white guy from the south, I grew up immersed in a paradigm that thought of people like King as trouble-makers. He was a trouble maker. Sometimes we need trouble-makers to stir us out of our complacency or worse, our bigotry. It disturbs me that we need to be shaken up because we ought to be able to examine ourselves and make the changes that result from that examination. Alas, people aren’t very good at self-examination. I am thankful for the courage of Martin and others who risked everything to make things better.
- Our garbage pickup is delayed one day this week because of the holiday. Jeanie already heard one person make a smart-assed comment about how “they” have to have this day off, don’t they? Will we ever get past having an us and a them? I feel angry and sad that a whole group of people is marginalized because of the color of their skin.
- This morning, I was reading a newspaper article on King’s legacy and I was thinking about my African-American friend, Chris. (Chris is not my token black friend. He is my friend because we relate to one another well. We used to work on the same team at Wachovia. We no longer get to work side by side because of corporate reorganization decisions. I picked up the phone and called Chris. I told him how I had been thinking about how much of an impact King’s dream and work had on our ability to be friends at all. If it were 40 or 50 years earlier, there is no way we would be working side by side in an office. I celebrate our friendship today!
There you have it. Joy, because I am living Martin’s dream and sadness because it is so far from a complete reality. Hope that we will be able to one day truly judge one another by our character and not by our skin color or any of the other differences that divide us. Call me crazy, but I believe that is what Jesus wants. I believe that only when we truly embrace Him and follow His teaching can we have any hope of true reconciliation. Only when we learn to embrace one another, only when we see the “fingerprint of God” in everone can we experience Martin’s dream. Only when we learn to disagree well can we celebrate our differences as we together celebrate the One who made us all so different! We have so far to go, but I see movement. Movement in my life and the lives of some of my friends.
God help us to embrace You, embrace Your ways, see the world the way You see it. Help us to see Your fingerprint in every person and love them the way You do… the way Jesus showed us.