You know, there’s something to be said for following your own life’s path, no matter how uncharted the territory or arduous the journey. Those who persevere and overcome personal odysseys while making lasting contributions to civilization are revered by Greek laureates and celebrated by historians. Those who fail epically are awarded distinctions more suitable for another Homer (the one from Springfield in case you were wondering.) Wherever you fall in the spectrum (from the Iliad to the idiot), one thing is for sure, you are certainly no Martin Luther King Jr., nor should you aspire to be.
Now before you alert the NAACP of my insolence, just hear me out. I, and I would venture to guess most know more about a few events in Dr. King’s life than about the man himself. In this regard, MLK Jr. is as fabled as Jesus in that he miraculously manifests in and out of history’s timeline with sizable chunks of data either disregarded or disavowed (I wonder what Jesus was like as a teenager?) At least we can trace Jesus’ birth to a barn in Bethlehem. Without the assistance of Wikipedia however, few have a clue as to when or where MLK Jr. was born or even his motivations. Our deepest, fondest, and most often only memories of Dr. King’s are those where he valiantly emerges (in slow motion of course) amidst a cloud of racial injustice somewhere in Montgomery, Alabama….and then again in Washington, DC.
Our life experiences most often govern our beliefs and future actions. Dr. King was certainly no different. His message was so powerful and reverberated with so many however that the dreamer was rendered second to his own dream. Of course his beliefs echoed across many households (as they should) and of course the ideals of equality (at least 3/5 of it) resonated with a nation whose founding doctrine is inclusive of those principles. Lost however is the recognition that the events which lead to his spiritual and social ascension where his and his alone. There was a man behind that dream and the dream was his, not yours.
So what exactly am I babbling about here? Well since you took the time to make it this far, I’ll tell you. I won’t just waste your time droning on and on. I’ll get right to the point. Yup. That’s what I’ll do. Are you ready for it? Here it comes……WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU DOING ABOUT YOUR OWN DREAM?!
Only you know your back story and only you can take all those prior triumphs and travails to weave something of relevance. So what exactly are you doing to make your own personal dreams come to be? Be it big or small, what is your exacting blueprint for rallying the masses around your cause?
Too often, we expend too much energy looking for a helping hand or looking for a leader when we should be looking in the mirror. Dreams are achieved through a series of multiple failures, accomplishments and small victories. But if you are waiting for whatever gravy train or freedom bus to pull up at your doorstep and whisk you away, good luck with that strategy. What’s more likely to increase your chance of ever boarding that bus is conditioning yourself to run at top speeds in the hopes of catching up to an intangible traveling at 50 MPH, all the while keeping the faith for 2 main reasons;
- There are people already on that bus so it may seem unlikely but it’s clearly possible
- What are your true alternatives for peace of mind if you don’t at least attempt (and very very hard at that) to catch that bus?
Whatever proverbial bus it is you aspire to catch, just make sure it’s YOUR bus and it’s taking you to YOUR promised land. Otherwise, you may end up either at the wrong stop or worse, at Ralph Kramden’s house, and he has altogether different ideas of how to shoot you to the moon (one of these days Alice…)
As we reserve this day for the acknowledgement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his many contributions to our little slice of the world, I believe it should also serve as an annual reminder of how far you’ve come in making your own dreams a reality. Whose to say you weren’t meant to be just as great…or greater?
Sidebar: Ok, Now you can report me to the NAACP. Sidebar Complete
Happy MLK Jr. Day!