Death of The Spirit
I read a quote this week that woke me up. Not surprisingly, that quote came to me on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, from the man himself. It read:
“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid… You refuse to do it because you want to live longer… You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Perhaps the greatest thing you will be called to today is for you to be kind to your partner when they are being selfish, or to be patient with the driver in the car in front of you. It is still a powerful call to persist, daily, in putting forth your better traits and skills, and beginning to grow the traits and skills you wish you possessed. Especially in the face of disappointments, injustice, frustrations, tragedies, and loss of hope. To persist in being kind, humble, fair, or hard-working each day. To begin trying to be more selfless, conscientious, or responsible.
I hope that whether or not you are given the “great opportunity”, that you make one. That you go and ask for the raise at your job even though you may be afraid. That you actually make a fuss about the cuts to your company’s healthcare package, risking your popularity and civility to take a stand. That you stand up to your friend and tell them what they are doing isn't healthy or right.
The opportunity to live with principle, to make positive change in our lives and the lives of others is given to us each, each day.
We are coming to the end of January, and whether you have held to your resolutions or didn’t make any new ones at all, I hope that you start each day anew trying to live the life you have always wanted for yourself and for the world. Begin living a life you admire today at 23, 38, or 59 that you can look back on with spirit and pride at 90.
How can YOU get involved? Simple!
Step #1: Allow this to influence or change your week in a positive way. Allow the inspirations that find you to actually have an impact on your life.
Step #2: Share this. With you co-workers, your friends, your family, your community, share this with whoever you think might need it.
Step #3: See this as the "call" or the "opportunity." Stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. Wherever this meets you, it isn't a coincidence. Stand up.