Freedom

I post this on Facebook pretty much every year. But this should be its permanent home.

MLKJR

Every year on Martin Luther King Jr day I think of this story. As a sensitive human and more so as a mom it totally got me. Telling our children about history, about why they are "mixed" and what that means, about how not long ago their daddy and I couldn't have been married legally, how people discriminate others for just the color of their skin or where they're from or the way they talk is a tough one. Their child hearts and brains don't compute such hate, ignorance, or bigotry. Neither does mine. Luckily I haven't experienced or witnessed too terrible acts of hate as I know were normal and are still every day occurrences for some. I love what MLK Jr stood for, what his name and legacy still stand for, and appreciate this day to reflect on that even if it makes me sad. One of my favorite things about him and his story is that despite his downfalls and we all know some of them, he persisted. He still did the thing and the work THROUGH the struggles of his own selfish sins. The same kind we all struggle with. I've shared this story the last couple of years and I probably will every year. It's a good reminder of how far we've come and how much more we still need to work on just being kind to one another, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us... No matter what they look like or where they come from.

"Well, it all began at Christmas two years ago, when my daughter was four years old. And it was the first time that she had ever asked about what did this holiday mean. And so I explained to her that this was celebrating the birth of Jesus. And she wanted to know more about that. And we went out and bought a kid's Bible and had these readings at night. She loved them, wanted to know everything about Jesus.

So we read a lot about his birth and about his teaching, and she would ask constantly what that phrase was. And I would explain to her that it was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And we would talk about those old words and what that all meant, you know?

And then one day, we were driving past a big church, and out front was an enormous crucifix. She said, "Who is that?" And I guess I'd never really told that part of the story. So I had this sort of "Yeah, oh, well, that's Jesus. And I forgot to tell you the ending. Yeah, well, he ran afoul of the Roman government." This message that he had was so radical and unnerving to the prevailing authorities of the time that they had to kill him. They came to the conclusion that he would have to die. That message was too troublesome.

It was about a month later after that Christmas. We'd gone through the whole story of what Christmas meant, and it was mid-January. And her preschool celebrates the same holidays as the local schools. So Martin Luther King Day was off. So I knocked off work that day, and I decided we'd play and I'd take her out to lunch. And we were sitting in there, and right on the table where we happened to plop down was the art section of the local newspaper. And there, big as life, was a huge drawing by a 10-year-old kid in the local schools of Martin Luther King.

And she said, "Who's that?" And I said, "Well, as it happens, that's Martin Luther King. And he's why you're not in school today. So we're celebrating his birthday. This is the day we celebrate his life." And she said, "So who was he?" And I said, "Well, he was a preacher." And she looks up at me and goes, "For Jesus?" And I said, "Yeah. Yeah, actually, he was. But there was another thing that he was really famous for, which is that he had a message."

And you're trying to say this to a four-year-old. This is the first time they ever hear anything, so you're just very careful about how you phrase everything. So I said, "Well, yeah, he was a preacher and he had a message." She said, "What was his message?" And I said, "Well, he said that you should treat everybody the same no matter what they look like."

And she thought about that for a minute. And she said, "Well, that's what Jesus said." And I said, "Yeah, I guess it is. I never thought of it that way, but yeah." And that is sort of like, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And she thought for a minute and looked up at me and said, "Did they kill him too?" {Jack Hitt on This American Life Episodes 188 + 605: Kid Logic https://www.thisamericanlife.org/…/episo…/605/kid-logic-2016}

I love driving and where we live the sky is vast and the stars bright. I think I see shooting stars often. However, I also know myself and convince my mind it's probably just something else out of the corner of my eye or a reflection off my glasses or something else. Tonight, when I was almost home from a 4 hour drive, I'm 100% sure I saw a meteor. It was beautiful and then I cried at how perfect it was and the reassurance that God knows what we need and when we need it and gives it to us freely. I had just been thinking about how I needed to post this story again and then this video below came to mind. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech along with Bey's Freedom is POWERFUL.  This is one of my favorite Beyonce performances. (+ that fringe you guys...) Happy Day!