As I sit here typing, with my feet all warm and toasty next to the space heater, getting ready to kick off another work week, I’m inspired to think about what today really means. I don’t have the day off, but even if I did, I believe our observance of the day dedicated to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be more than a federal holiday.
It should be a time of remembering what he stood for, and the causes he felt were important enough to make them his life’s purpose.
It almost seems, in this time of political divisiveness and yellow journalism, that we’re making things more complicated than they need to be. And I think Dr. King would agree. Maybe if we weren’t so focused on bipartisan agendas and public policy, we’d have the time and clarity of thought to focus on what really matters.
So, what does this all have to do with Dr. King? One word: compassion.
When we have compassion as a core value, it drives us to treat others the way we’d like to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule, and it seems to be missing in an era when people with no discernible talent whatsoever are famous for, well, being famous.
I’m not suggesting that compassion will solve all of society’s ills or render the laws that govern us unnecessary. We still have to have rules and regulations. I mean, who wants anarchy? I sure don’t.
But why does government have to be so political? And why does it have to draw a line in the sand that eventually leads to an “us vs. them” mentality? I don’t have the answers, but these are some of the questions that run through my head.
What I do know is this: I am grateful to have friends-turned-family all over the world. I have been shown immeasurable compassion and empathy from good people who took me in as one of their own in a foreign land. They didn’t have to, but they did, and it has enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined back then.
On this day of remembrance, I invite all of us to show others the compassion and kindness Dr. King embodied. Whether that means helping a friend solve a problem or buying coffee for the guy behind you at the donut shop, there are infinite ways to brighten someone else’s day.
And not just today, but every day. Let’s create a domino effect of compassion that ripples across our nation and the oceans. Let’s make Dr. King proud and show him that his legacy lives on.