America at our best; why we should all celebrate MLK Jr. Day
“Ben, I love your column, but are you gonna write about MLK Day this week? I suppose that’ll be nice if you do, but if I see that in your title I likely won’t read any further. That day is mainly for Black people. Most of the rest of America just doesn’t really celebrate it the way Black people do.”
Those words were spoken to me by a dear friend whom I came across while walking down State Street this past week. I hadn’t specifically planned to write about MLK Jr. Day this week, but my friend’s words greatly inspired me to do so.
As I write my column each week, my two primary guides are kindness and truth. If I can stay loyal to those two pillars (otherwise known as “courage”) then I feel I have written well.
However, it’s a pretty obvious fact that when we try to tell the truth and do kind things in this world we often become a marked man or woman.
So instead of risking such a mark, many among us strive, instead, to do a “little” good as we pass through this life, all the while making sure we are not rubbing powerful people the wrong way, not taking any real chances, and not creating a big stir. That way many of us manage to do a “little” good.
And that’s exactly how much good we then do; a “little”.
But if you and I want to truly do a “lot” of good, we must take chances. We must, at times, risk our reputations. We might even sometimes risk our jobs. Ultimately, we may even go so far as to risk our lives … as did one Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Few of us go that far.
Ah, but those times in my life when I, like Dr. King, have risked my reputation to spread kindness and truth in this world … rarely have I felt more courageous, more whole, more alive.
I will share with you one of those times.