Monday, January 18, 2010

Courage and Shame

The Martin Luther King Holiday always makes me think about two issues: courage and shame.

Believing in something so deeply that you're willing to face the opposition, hate, and threat to life experienced by Reverend King is a type of courage that is unfamiliar to me.

If you're like me, and most folks, right now your inner voice is saying, “Well, I’m sure there are things I’d die for; my children, freedom, my God.”

Really? History and nature don’t support your thought. Billions of people throughout human history have been enslaved, beaten, forced to accept religious beliefs, and degraded and did not have the courage to resist when the moment came to do so.


And, whenever I see news clips of the police turning fire hoses on civil rights marchers and siccing German shepherds on protesters I can’t describe my feeling as anything other than shame.

I don’t share the stereotypical white shame experienced by some. Mine is human shame. How could anyone treat another human like that?


The affirming thought I always get on this holiday is this, “If it is true that we are all essentially alike, and if one person can step up and be a bigger, better, greater person, then I, too, can do that.”

What can you do today that gets you one step closer to being the person you believe you should be?

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