Monday, July 8, 2013

A Stone of Hope: Reflections on Freedom

I had the blessing of spending this fourth of July at our nation's capital. While there, we visited the memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr and found it deeply inspiring. Walking through the lighted path that leads to the statue of MLK was like stepping into history itself. Two fountain walls on either side reminded me of the Reverend's timeless words, "We shall not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." His words of wisdom fill the walls surrounding the striking monument that stands tall in the center with a reminder that from the "mountain of despair" can emerge a "stone of hope."

As I continue to reflect on the meaning of freedom and how we can become its ambassadors, I share King's dream that one day "every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain ... made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight ... the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."

Together. Something about that word stirs my soul. It brings me back to an experience we had in New York City just a few days before arriving in DC.

Not far from Columbia University, we found a pizza shop with slices as large as bed sheets. As we sat down to eat, a man walked in, headed straight for the trash and stuck his hand in it to find lunch. Stunned, I watched him pull out pieces of half-eaten crust and bread sticks and throw them in his bag. Holding back tears, I shared some of our pizza and watched him walk out, still gripping his bag of scraps. He thanked us and, head down, found a spot on the crowded sidewalk for a makeshift table.

I never saw his eyes.

Clearly, some rough places in this man's life have not been made plain, and crooked places remain crooked. The reality of his life is a challenge for me to step out of my comfortable world and remember to meet the needs of the hungry in body, soul, and spirit. For too many, King's dream remains a distant reality. Yet, there is hope for them as long as somebody sees their need and cares enough to do something to meet it.

Truly, no one is free until we're all free. The reality of unmet basic needs like food, shelter, and dignity is a call for all of us to act, to do something, to do our part. By the mountain of our neighbor's despair, we can stand tall as stones and ambassadors of hope.

How can we do it today?

Spread hope!
Dr Mari

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." (Galatians 5:6)

"If you can't feed a hundred people, feed just one." (Mother Teresa)

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