Today is Martin Luther King Day. A day devoted to honoring a man who promoted social change. Who spoke words of love instead of hatred; words of acceptance despite difference. In honor of this day, I find myself wanting to write something on hatred and bigotry; on humanity’s capacity for blindness and their ability to dehumanize others simple because of political indoctrination and willful ignorance. I want to write words that resonate with others the way that MLK’s words resonate … for those that choose to hear.
I once again want to move the world. I want to leave a mark today.
But the simple truth of the matter is … I am not Martin Luther King. I am no great orator with the power to shift hearts. As I said in the About Me of my new photo blog (gotta get in that gratuitous self promotion), “I am just an ordinary guy who occasionally gets a glimpse of the extraordinary. Sometimes I am able to express my glimpses in words. Sometimes in photos.”
So how do I make my mark? How do I move people? How do I change the world?
I’ll tell you how. One small deed at a time. For instance, I can help watch my niece for a few weeks, while my sister explores the world, and learns something of dehumanized humans; allowing her to step on a path that will someday maybe help teach tolerance on a grand scale … for she has that power. Or maybe I can do something even simpler, and give a lonely child some attention.
We are not all movers and shakers. We cannot all grasp and hold the attention of the whole world. But that does not mean we are powerless. Every moment we have the ability … and the chance … to improve the world around us, even if only one little bit at a time. Acceptance; tolerance; love … these start with individuals. First we need to open our own hearts. Then we need to share however we can with others. Smile when another is frowning. Offer a hand to someone who can’t get up. If you can’t be the one who moves mountains, then move a pebble instead. If everyone capable of moving a pebble does so, that mountain will be shifted in no time. But if we all wait until the mighty mountain mover comes along … well … it could be a long wait.