…what is your dream? Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. It was an amazing dream that has essentially changed everyone’s lives in some way. As I write this, I am watching the PBS documentary about the life of MLK with my two beautiful coffee milk hued boys. We are trying to make sense together of the events that took place just a couple of years shy of my own emergence into this world. My discussion with them consists mainly of answering their questions… ‘Mama what is the KKK?’ ‘Mama why were people so angry at the brown people?’ ‘what was the burning cross Mama?’ with frequent interjections from my ‘non-fiction’ reporting five year old such as ‘Martin Luther King Jr. did not like fighting Mama. He was a peaceful man’ and ‘the people stopped riding the buses Mama’.
We talk about purpose…my nine year old looks at me with a worried wrinkle between his eyes…’James Earl Ray didn’t have that Mama’. I agree. ‘If he had a better life Mama, if someone cared about him, then Martin would be alive to this day Mama!’ He says this to me with such strong belief in his voice. We talk about what we have learned through the amazing preschool in which I spend my days. We discuss how everyone makes bad choices sometimes and how we need to love people, to show others kindness and help them to make better choices…to turn it around. How we help others and encourage others.
“…it was his way of life” is what one of Martin’s followers said. ‘Non-violence, non-retaliation…Peace was his way of life.’
My daughter says, ‘He was a role model for all of us…if it weren’t for him we would not be together.’
MLK Jr. was a man who spoke from his heart. He did not ask the question about what would happen to him if he did not help someone…he asked what would happen to the person he did not help. I really work to live with this in my heart. I strive each day to help others as best I can, to give the best of myself to help and encourage others that I encounter in my life. My daughter often asks me to tell her the story about the woman I met in a shopping mall in South Africa. While visiting my husband and his family, I went to a local mall with a friend. I noticed as we pulled in, a woman that appeared to be not far from my age. Her face weathered, the heaviness of her heart evident…the love for the barely clad baby in her arms so big I could feel it. Her despair as evident as the beautiful blue african sky. I had gone to the mall to find a few things to bring back to my family in Maine. I used the money that I had to purchase three bags of items. I bought diapers and wipes, washcloths and soap among other toiletries. I also purchased cans of formula, clean water, baby bottles and clothing. I added on bread and peanut butter and milk and many other food items. I left the mall, walked to this woman and her beautiful baby and respectfully handed the items to her. She wept and humbly accepted my small offering. She shook her head and questioned somewhat frantically what she could possibly do for me. I looked lovingly at her and asked could I please just hold her baby for a moment. She smiled and placed this most precious gift of hers in my arms. I cuddled and smiled at this infant and poured as much love into her as I could in the moment that I held her. I will never forget that encounter as long as I live.
In the words of my five year old…Martin said ‘I have a dream that someday, ALL of God’s children will hold hands together…’