I don't know much about Martin Luther King Jr. I know the basics--the social studies and evening news version of his life. I can't quote him beyond, "I have a dream," without Google. And I can't say I am the daughter or granddaughter of civil rights protesters. I am certainly not qualified to tell my children his full story without the Wikipedia article open on my computer.
But, I do know one thing: Reverend King inspired people of all ages, races, religions and backgrounds to stand together. Every word of his mouth was a reminder that God made each and everyone one of us. It is a call to live life remembering that God loves us all the same. God loves those we don't have the strength to love. God loves those who do evil, as much as those who do good. God loves us whether we are fat or thin or black or white or Jewish or Christian or Muslim. God loves us whether we win the game or loose miserably.
And God asks us to do the same--love like it is going out of style. To love those we love and to love those we are called to love. It is one of the hardest pills to swallow as a human being--especially when people are irritating or do stupid things or behave in ways we don't like or do horrible, horrible things.
But, it is also freeing. To love those who are unlovable by human standards--frees us up to love ourselves--even the parts of us we don't particularly like. It multiplies love--it is healing and gives all of us a chance to live knowing that we are okay, just as God made us.
During His ministry Jesus spoke to his disciplines and taught them, saying "The Beatitudes."
Here is a snippet:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.. . "
It is one of my favorite pieces of scripture. It is a reminder that we are loved and in turn, are called to love. That we are all blessed, just the same. We are all God's children. To quote MLK Jr,
"their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone."
This is the truth--whether speaking about race relations or playgroup relations. No matter who we are, we are loved. We are blessed. We do not walk alone.
Since I seem to like making resolutions on everyday except for New Year's Eve (see Chinese New Year), I have decided to make this year about walking the walk-teaching my children to love all and accept all. This year, I will remember every time some steals my parking spot in the school parking lot that God loves them. This year, I will bite my tongue when someone irritates me. This year, I will open my heart, my home and my wallet to those who God calls me to love--whether it is someone in need of a meal or someone simply who needs a friend. This year, my eyes and heart will be open.
And when I fail, and I will fail (I seriously just called someone an idiot while writing this), I will start over. Because God loves me, even when I don't love everyone else.
And maybe, just maybe, a tiny bit of MLK Jr's legacy will live on in my children, so one day I will know enough to tell his story, because it became a part of my own.
Happy MLK Jr. Day.