I have a dream. Martin Luther King inspires me deeply. His ability to be a dreamer and visionary of how things could be and should be calls us all higher.
Last night as I tucked in our kids I prayed that they would be people who spread justice, light and peace like Dr. King. My hope is that in some way - for I know it will look different for each of us - we will each continue the good work he began. This often can look small and ordinary. It’s in how we value and view AND TREAT those around us. Do we bring respect and love to everyone? The waitress? The slow driver? The store clerk? The person who looks different from us? I don’t always do this well, but my dream is to do it better. My dream is to set a good example for our kids as MLK and others have laid this good path already before us.
A scripture that has meant a lot to me this year is, “Don’t despise these small beginnings” (Zech 4:10). We all start somewhere. How grand the beginning is matters less, what matters is that you begin. Our oldest son Eli is 13, he has special needs which I think make him super special ; ) He is learning how to ride a bike. His younger brother and sister have known for a while now which makes Eli even more motivated to master this skill. He has worked for years on trying to learn. His therapists have helped him, we’ve helped him, his grandparents and friends have all worked to help him gain this skill. It’s been discouraging along the way, he doesn’t understand why everything is so hard for him. But we all stay by his side cheering him on and gradually he wobbles a little less, stays on the bike a little longer.
It’s been slow progress, but there is progress because he doesn’t give up and we don’t give up on helping him. If he compared his progress and skills to his little brother he would feel defeated - but we all know all that Eli is overcoming to just get up on a bike. He is a miracle and his riding a bike is a miracle so we celebrate every wobble, every stretch of road covered without a fall. It all matters.
This weekend all 5 of us went on our first family bike ride. It was slow, we stopped a lot but we made it to a cute neighborhood cafe and ate lunch then rode back home. We all were over the moon that this was possible. Eli led the way and set the pace. He was beaming! He did it! ( I was beaming too : )
If we judged Eli’s ability to ride a bike from one snapshot of a day trying and learning over the years we would easily get discouraged, it would seem impossible. But instead we all keep the goal in sight and continue to keep working towards this goal.
This also seems true with our current cultural tensions. I believe our society does have hope for living more fully into MLK’s dream. There is a long way to go and we have come a long way. Every wobble is part of the story of learning to love one another. Sometime we are able to ride further, sometimes we wobble, sometimes we fall but we’re learning how to do it and we’re not giving up.
I do have a dream that we could all love one another, respecting our differences, valuing dignity, honoring worth, celebrating the humanity that looks so many different ways in our culture. Let us not fear the wobbles but learn from them and keep riding on in the good work MLK began.