Today is one of those days in America set aside for us to reflect on the life of a national hero. So here goes.
I think the young man in this photograph has it just right: "Dr. King was good." This kid is good, too. How did they get this way?
You may have heard the idea expressed in one form or another that children were not born hating other people, or something to that effect. They have to be taught to hate or to reject other people on the basis of a superficial difference. Kids will goof around with each other and have fun for hours as long as they don't get too banged up or bloody and even then, after a good cry and a band aid, they act like it never happened. That's because they are good. Inside, where their hearts are, they are good.
Somewhere along the line, kids get fed info, however well-intended (or not), like look, Junior, those other kids are not like you - they are bad, they will hurt you, you don't want to get hurt, do you? Keep away from those kids, keep away from kids who look like those kids, keep away from the kids who don't go to your school, keep away from the kids who don't go to our church, keep away from the kids who don't eat what you eat, keep away from the kids who don't talk like us, on and on and on.
So some kids become less good, because they are taught to be less good. They are taught to ignore the place inside, where their hearts are, and to confuse being good with separating themselves from other kids. It's a slippery slope from there to hate.
Nobody is perfect. Dr. King wasn't. I sure am not. But the good kid in the picture is right. Dr. King was good. And I am sure, with all that he went through in standing up for the rights of all people, Dr. King had to work at it. There were probably many trying moments in his short life (39 years) when he despaired and wanted to give in to all the hate. But he was good. He knew he was good. All the way until the minute that hate drilled a bullet through him, he knew he was good and he believed that we are, too.
So how can we tell? How can we tell we are good? How can we believe we are good?
I can do it. I can set aside a little time every morning and sit where it is quiet. I can listen to my breath, listen to my heartbeat, listen to the stillness, and feel something stirring inside me, feel something glowing. It's the real me, untouched after all these years, coached by my loved ones, nourished by my heroes, but alive and beating before I met any of them. I am good. Hate can't touch this. I am good.
I raise my hands and I stretch my fingers to the sky. I feel that goodness shine. I send it out to everyone and everything. Rays for all. Oh my goodness, thank you, Martin, and thank you to all the children everywhere.
Peace, Love, and Shine On,