In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I am posting some of my favorite quotes attributed to him. It is fitting to pay tribute to this great man in a week when we will witness the inauguration of our new President. A President who is – at least from my perspective – one of the most controversial ones ever to be elected to run our country, if not the most controversial. No matter who you voted for or what your political beliefs, this has been an intense election year.
Dark vs. Light; Hate vs. Love
I begin with the following, which is perhaps my absolute favorite:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
This quote says it all to me. I have been struggling not to succumb to the hate which is floating around our country at this time. I have read things which astound me, things I cannot believe people are really thinking, let alone writing. Things I am sure they most likely would not say aloud and in person to another human. But, nonetheless, things which have been said in some fashion.
I wish I could say that I have been on my own best behavior, but that is not true. I have had a handful of occasions where I have exchanged words (written ones) with others. Heated words which made me feel disgusted with myself and instantly rueful. I finally made the decision to stay away from news and Facebook for a bit. It helped more than I would have imagined. I got back to center, to my place of rational thought.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Since then I have sought to be someone who brings light into this darkness we have all created rather than add to the hate. I’m not always successful, but I do my best. I believe we all have had some part in this turmoil within our country. Whether it is in not listening to another, using derogatory language to bring others down, spewing hateful comments; or even simply by turning the other way, refusing to step in when needed, remaining silent when speaking up is required.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
My goal has been to try to walk in another’s shoes, to sense – as much as possible – where they are coming from. To judge less and embrace more. It hurts my soul to be in that place of hatred. I invite you to look inside yourselves. See what your darkness is. It is only when we identify those places that we can begin to heal. And we all have them.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
More Words of Wisdom by Martin Luther King, Jr.
I leave you with these extra quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I hope you will read them, contemplate them, perhaps even apply them should you be so moved as I have been. I invite you to leave your own favorite MLK, Jr. quotes in the comments at the end of this post.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”