In his 1967 speech, “A Time To Break The Silence,” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”
Life is a journey that molds each one of us as it will. We live as determined or resigned as we want, some fully conscious while others live unconsciously. I have been a troublesome troublemaker, a father and a son, in so many roles a guide while other times I’ve slogged through my days. On those days, it’s been the king of love Dr. King described that gave me the courage to resist.
The resistance I’ve felt has been towards maintaining status quo. Forged like steel in a fire, my love came from childhood homelessness, growing up as a strange minority, and living in a violence-filled world as a teen. I didn’t want to suffer the death of self, literal and metaphorical, that so many of my friends and some of my family had. It seemed like so many people lost themselves to the world, mainstream society, high social expectations. It seemed like they never changed.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that instead of a shout, there’s a whisper that calls to me. It’s a quiet voice that goes to the middle of me and moves me to walk out into the street with my arms out. A world without fault, I’ve seen that life is not about being down or out. It’s not about pain or joy, loss or happiness. It is all about love. Love of others, and finding love for yourself through loving others. There’s nothing anyone else has that I need; my only desire is to love.
Remember: “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”
I’ve experienced real disengagement in my life, because I’ve stopped loving others in this way. I threw away the key Dr. King mentioned. It wasn’t because of anything anyone else ever did to me, either. It wasn’t anything that was taken from me, or anything committed. It was a scar upon my heart that grew because I kept scratching at it with my finger, picking the hurts until they bled more. A closed hand made into a fist and closed arms met to resist were wounds to my love.
Now I share open hands and an open face, and I hope that we can rewrite history as love, the kind that Dr. King taught about.