Today we celebrate a man who had some pretty strong beliefs, beliefs in his country, in God, in serving his fellow man. We celebrate his faith and unwavering sacrifice for others.
Martin Luther King Jr’s words and commitment are an inspiration to us all.
Near the end of 2013 when I was deciding if we should pursue the Cycle Cause trip I stumbled upon a clip of MLK speaking of moral courage. It was an edited soundbite from his sermon “But If Not”. Like many, I’ve always known him for his most famous speech “I have a dream” but I hadn’t really heard any of his other sermons up until that point. To say I’ve been inspired by this man would be an understatement.
Today had me thinking about the ‘cost of inspiration’. Specifically what it costs the person doing the inspiration and also what it ‘should’ cost the person who is inspired.
In an age of hyper access to information it’s pretty easy to become just be a ‘consumer of inspiration’, our feeds littered with quotes, stories, inspiring people. By consumer I mean someone who just takes the ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling of being inspired and then moves on unchanged, or unchanging. This was me for many years.
Martin Luther King Jr. ultimately paid a high price for his beliefs. I often wonder how many of us would actually die for something, go to jail to help someone else, sacrifice the comfort and safety of our families with the hopes that someone else might suffer less. He once said “If you have never found something so precious to you that you would die for it then you aren’t fit to live”. He also said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Powerful words that ultimately drove me to chase a dream of helping malnourished kids last year and teaching my two sons about service.
In 2014, for the first time in my life I choose not to just ‘consume inspiration’ but actually do something with it. As I reflect this morning I look at how much last year’s decision cost me and my family, a cost that has weighed heavily of late as we are essentially starting over. If you had told me that I would be married with two kids and at age 38 find myself broke, unemployed, and living with my parents I don’t think I would have believed you.
But the bigger question is, would I have still gone?
The answer to that question is something I struggle with, especially lately, but ultimately my answer is yes, yes I would still go. The way I see it, it’s just not fair to be heavily inspired by a man like MLK, someone who gave his life to inspire so many, and then not do something with it.
People tell me all the time what an inspiration our trip was to them, how our journey has been amazing to watch. I think I would rather hear about what our trip has inspired others TO DO. Heck, I don’t even need to hear about it as long as people DO something.
I hope the actions of my life have somehow lived up the MLK’s vision of helping others. His vision of standing up for what’s right. His vision for taking a risk for someone else. His teachings of trusting God above all else. It’s the least I can do when inspired by someone, it’s the payment.
Our cost should be pushing that vision forward.