It has been 54 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. As long as between the date of his death and 1914. A long, long time. Yet here we are still fighting for the world he envisioned, a world where people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
We must press on.
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” Martin Luther King, Jr., told an overflowing crowd in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, where the city’s sanitation workers were striking. “But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” Less than 24 hours after these prophetic words, King was assassinated by James Earl Ray.
Today, take a moment with his favorite hymn, the hymn he requested shortly before his death, “Take Me Home, Precious Lord’ and gather strength to continue his fight, all of our fight, toward the promised land:
We humans are an inventive bunch. When confronted with limitations, we’ve always found a way to persevere. Communication was once limited to face to face, but then we thought up written alphabets, mail, books, telephone and telegraph, radio, TV, internet, and now Zoom.
We’ve adopted new virtual ways to hold meetings, teach class, and stay connected. We persevere, and most important, we always look for ways to help, using the gifts we have and perhaps stretching them to fit the limitations of our new normal.
As we make our way through this new normal, rather than mourn the lost way we used to connect, perhaps now is the time to adapt and stretch to fit our present reality. How can we be present for each other, particularly for the youngest and most vulnerable among us, in a way that works right now today?
From Shari: what are some new ways of doing things that you’ve found helpful in our current world?
For me, Zoom has been a godsend. I’ve been able to attend a virtual reunion, participate in book clubs, stay connected with friends, and make author visits to schools all while maintaining appropriate social distance. I’ve also found I’m writing more snail mail.
Freedom and justice are not won and done. Often the road toward freedom, justice, and equality twists and turns, full of progress and steps forward, but pitted with set-backs as well. We have made progress since Martin Luther King, Jr. led a movement for civil rights, but his work is not done. We cannot relax. Indeed, we need to preserve and build on those gains in every generation. We need to be shocked but not surprised to encounter those who have no desire for equality but would rather return to an era of overt discrimination. Theirs is not the right path forward for any of us, including them, and they must be defeated because as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Have you ever been overwhelmed before you even get out of bed in the morning? The problems of the day seem too big; you seem too small? At times like these, it is important to breathe deep, close your eyes and think of all the things and people you love, and then remember that you don’t have to solve all the problems now. You just have to do the next right thing. Step by step, piece by piece, showing up and moving forward.
Take the time to find a quiet place and remember whose you are and that each moment is a gift. To help, here is a lovely video that will start you with a wonderful perspective with which to face the day.