Reflections on the Eve of Martin Luther King Day
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”Martin Luther King Jr.
“Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”Jimi Hendrix
A steady diet of pestilence, prejudice, protest and persistence in unremitting and repetitive succession have marked the course of the past year. We have all been traumatized by these events, and retraumatized, one of the “R’s” to avoid if we are to succeed when grappling with trauma. The arrival of Martin Luther King Day offers us a much needed reminder, in the midst of disease and division, of the power of love and service to heal and unite.
Dr. King devoted his short 39 years to altruism, resolutely and courageously staring hate in the face and reflecting back a message of hope and love. He was assassinated when I was a seventeen-year-old high school senior, the third such violent traumatizing event during what was as much a divisive decade as the times we are living in now. Hindsight being the illuminator, I have long come to appreciate the ongoing fruition, albeit incremental, of Dr. King’s vision. Hate does not prevail for long. The act of hate against Dr. King backfired; his message of love has grown exponentially. The struggle is long, but we are walking towards the light. We know in our work that pain (punishment) reduces us as human beings, but that service and love (reinforcement) nourishes and heals.
This brings me back to what has been happening at SD over the course of the past year. While the pandemic has prowled our perimeters with fear, and division has plagued the body politic, the wonderful people at SD have donned their masks, washed their hands, and showed up to wield the power of love and service. Things will get better because of the countless large and small acts of love you engage in every day. Each of those acts bears fruit that in turn provides the seed for more fruit.
This is my thank you card to all of you…. dp