When the rhetoric of our time has become so divisive and ugly, so self-serving and petty, we need men and women who speak the truth in love. We need this day to honor a man who gave us powerful words that call out for justice and equality, for peace and love, for compassion and unity.
While many of Dr. King's words have been quoted on social media today, I want to highlight one sentence that strikes a powerful chord in me tonight.
"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
It's so easy to feel as if there's nothing we can do in times of division and crisis...times such as we see now. It's too big for us, we think, and we focus on protecting ourselves, our interests, our piece of the pie. Sometimes, we even join in the mud-slinging and division because it feels safer to join in with the crowds.
But these feelings of helplessness are a fallacy. We are far more powerful than we think, and Dr. King's words point us in the direction of exercising our power for wonderful good.
Do this with excellence, wherever you are and whoever you are. Start with your family, your neighbor, your church or temple or mosque, your community, your workplace, your city. Uplift humanity, even if only in the form of a single person, each and every day. Actively look for places you can serve.
Commit to lifting others up, and you will be lifted along with everyone else. That is the truth of service to others. Everyone wins, and the victory ripples out into a world that badly needs victory for all its people.
Dr. King also said, "Every man must choose whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." That key phrase, creative altruism, involves looking out from where you are and seeing the need in front of you...and addressing it in whatever way you can, small or large.
We have that power. Each and every one of us. And in taking it up, we gain dignity and freedom not only for ourselves, but for the world.
Thank you, Dr. King. The painstaking excellence of your words lives on, and I will do what I can to uplift humanity in my own creative ways.
How might you uplift humanity where you are right now? How might you create ripples of victory?