This is Martin Luther King Day, the 25th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. day. As The King Center says “On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.” Right, yes, he represented, embodied cultivated love, forgiveness and non-violence he also lived with courage, dignity, service, and compassion. I admire this man, his wife who as a partner in vision action, and deeply admire the conviction with which he lived. In most simple, banal terms he walked his talk.
Dr. King said “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” What is it that we do for other. Not just doing but doing unselfishly and in an inspired way, one that suits your abilities, talents, and resources. That is a call to not be stymied by the “shoulds”, “can’t’s”, and “ought’s” that can block our intentions. I should volunteer every Saturday at the Boys and Girls club, maybe every Saturday does not work for your schedule, but might every third Wednesday work? “I can’t make that much of difference.” Who say you do needs to be grand, a small honest gesture is enough. “I ought to be donating more money. . . give what you can, lending your hands to a project is just fine.
Here are some examples of real world creative altruism:
- A friend of mind is an artist, with limited financial means, but she volunteers teaching art at local transitional housing shelter.
- A retired chef in my neighborhood creates healthy tasty meals for the local church preschool and afterschool programs.
- A woman uses her experience of immigrating to this country after WWII as her inspiration to infuse her English as a second language tutoring with an acculturation slant.
So what are you doing for others? What will you do for others?