Remembering Martin Luther King surely reminds us of the miles we’ve walked, but it also forces us to admit how many miles ahead there are. It’s sobering to acknowledge how slow and uneven our progress has been, and right now the catastrophic consequences of our lack of progress weighs heavily. And when we look at this particular moment in our history and admit how screwed up things seem to be, many of us are wondering if King’s dream were realistic and we are questioning if the changes he hoped for were possible. Maybe after all these years, we were just kidding ourselves.
Yet even during the bleakest days, King’s most memorable words, “I have a dream” were hopeful. He refused to accept the way things were and instead focused on what “one day” could be. And then he took it further and asked us to walk with him. Was he being naive or had he discovered that believing in possibilities was much more powerful than being grounded in reality? Did he know that hope was the only candle that cannot be blown out, and that with hope comes resolve and with resolve comes power and with power comes change?
Now lately, there seems to be a shortage of hope. For the past few weeks, I have been feeling powerless and worried about where things are heading, and I know that I am not alone. As a country, we seem to be more divided than ever. We have a very low tolerance for each other, especially people who hold different beliefs than we do. And as much as I keep thinking things will get better, so far things only seem to be getting worse. But I also know I need to snap out of this funk. And right now, remembering Martin Luther King is helping.
It’s helping because I have a dream too. And right now, I want and really need to be around others who are holding onto hope and talking about their own dreams for more peaceful, more fair and kinder days ahead. And with that thought comes a growing sense that we can begin turning this around by simply helping each other stay hopeful. And with even a little bit of hope, we’ll discover that no matter how dark this night feels, by standing together and taking even the smallest of steps towards a better tomorrow, maybe, just maybe, we’ll see that dawn was closer than we thought.
The other day a friend of mine shared a beautiful little music video that changed my day. It’s called, “If I Were the President”, and it lifted me and inspired me by reminding that we have a new generation of hope on the horizon. Seeing children sing a simple message of a hopeful future shifted my focus towards the possibilities of tomorrow. Maybe it will help you too!