Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
FOL contributor Leigh Love shared this eloquent Martin Luther King, Jr. quote a few days ago on Instagram and Facebook. It spoke to many of us as we read it and I wanted to share it today to open my post.
I’d intended to write about “Signs” but my heart kept coming back to this quote, and others which I’ll share. Since our unofficial guideline here at FOL is “write from your heart”, I decided instead to get serious today.
A couple of months ago, Linda broached on the topic of Breaking News and how disheartening it is, day after day after day to hear and read the daily news. In the time since she wrote that post, the news, it seems has just gotten worse. What is one individual to do in the face of such dismal and brutal news, day after day after day?
Yes, it’s a good idea to limit your exposure to these news stories just to keep your own sanity and to keep from giving up on everything we hold dear. But let’s be honest: that’s not enough. We can’t run around with our heads in the sand.
I know that each of us wants to do something positive, something constructive. Seeking and sharing beauty in the everyday is a good way to begin but today I’m going to suggest we take it further.
Some of you, I know, follow Karen Walrond and her blog Chookooloonks. She has written about senseless violence on several occasions but perhaps her most important post was written a few days ago. I encourage you to read the whole post but in this post she says,
Hate does beget hate, but love also begets love. And I don't have to work change the world, or even the country -- just my world. And I can begin by "loving my neighbour as myself." The trick, of course, is remembering my "neighbour" is everyone who crosses my path.
Oh, right. My neighbour is everyone.
Oh, I know. It sounds Pollyannish. But, friends, what choice do we have? Are we going to roll over and let this horrible hatred consume us? Our country? Our world? Or are we going to try to spread love wherever we are, in our own little corner of the world? This includes doing our best to spread love to those we find unlovable, not an easy task. But is it worth it? I believe it is.
On the night that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Robert F. Kennedy arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, to campaign for the Presidential nomination. Riots had exploded in more than 100 cities in the United States. His aides urged him to cancel his appearance because of all the violence that had erupted across the country in response to this heinous murder. But Senator Kennedy insisted on speaking and some consider it his most important speech. In his uniquely eloquent way, he got to the heart of the matter and there were no riots in Indianapolis that night. Again, I urge you to read the whole speech, but here is the part I particularly want to leave with you today [emphasis mine]:
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past, but we -- and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.