I'm not much for churches or temples, or funeral parlors or cemeteries, but rather believe we can fully worship and mourn where we stand, because what matters most is what we feel and radiate and practice on a day to day basis, what lives and breathes in our hearts and our minds.
I abhor labels, and I believe in substance over form.
As a young child, my mother made us very aware of right and wrong. Her right and wrong wasn't religious or political, and it didn't disparage the needs or beliefs of others. The right and wrong she taught us was simple: we are all created equal, and we should respect one another regardless of outer trappings.
As I was born in 1964, a big part of how she shared this message was through the teachings and life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
I remember her reading his biography to us more than once, and I remember wearing black armbands the days after he died, and on MLK days thereafter.
When my own children were too little to understand, we watched this speech on MLK day year after year and talked about what he stood for. And for years, we wrote bits and pieces of his words on the front windows of our home in glass paint.
I still listen to this speech each year, and it still brings tears of hope and sorrow to my eyes.
This year, I have a new favorite MLK day video, this beautiful song written by Billy Walsh and sung by the 6th graders at teachsmalltruths, and shown to me by my beautiful sister.*
I have listened to it over and over in the past few days. The lyrics and message are SO VERY simple. Not just simple to hear, but so very simple to do.
Two little words to teach and pass on. And put into action in our lives.
And, yet, just last night, the local news was filled with swastikas, and bullying, and racist attacks.
Just yesterday, the news was still full of wars, and poverty and hate.
So, I can't help worry about tomorrow,
and wonder where the lovingkindness is,
and how are we still so far.
* p.s. if you'd like to make a donation in honor of peace this MLK day, please consider making a donation to my sister's Peace Temple Fund in NYC.