Monday Muse for Dr. King’s Day: Hope is the Eternal Theme

Hope is the theme this month for our Growing Group. And it’s quite appropriate for this Monday of Martin Luther King Day, where we celebrate the life and work of an extraordinary man of God.  King is best known for his “I have a Dream” speech and of course, his untiring work in the Civil Rights movement.


But when I read his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” I can feel an even deeper affinity for this righteous man. And in his essay, “The Dawn will Come,” in which he wrote about the feeling he had upon receiving news that the Supreme Court had ruled segregated busing was unconstitutional, it shows us so much more about the man and his eternal hope for justice.


The Dedication of the man to his cause

King was dedicated to his cause. He was deeply dedicated as a minister to his God. His insistence upon the use of non-violence during the protests showed that also he was a man of hope. In his essay, ‘The Dawn will Come” Dr. King chronicles all the setbacks and anxiety of waiting for a just verdict in the quest for eliminating segregated busing in Montgomery. It illustrates many of the setbacks that we have in life, and the many times we want to just throw in the towel and walk away.

It reminds me of a sign I keep in my office. Hillary Clinton was said to have kept this same quote from Winston Churchill on her desk. “Never, never, never Give Up.” It tells us that the dawn will come. I often think about that powerful message in my own life.


The Dawn will Come


When I experienced uncomfortable work situations, or people in positions of power that seem to overstep or try to throw their weight around, my first thought was this.  They have done this before and will do it again. And in so doing, they will find their downfall is coming.

It’s not a feeling of ‘they will get theirs.’ It is rather, The Dawn will come. Justice is slow, but the arc will curve towards and favor those who are oppressed. People will not tolerate those who perpetually offend and denigrate others. The Dawn will break, and a new day will come for those who wait.


It’s never too late to Hope


That is not a good message for those who feel they are oppressed or downtrodden. But it’s never too late to hope. We all must plan and live our lives to the best of our ability. All of us have within us the ability to be just and fair and honest and good. And we must know that there is always hope that the new dawn will come.

Dr. King said he may not be there to see it. And he was right. We may not be there either. The other great idea that penetrates to my psyche is the one about those who plant trees. The saying is:  One must plant trees upon which you will never enjoy or feel the shade. We may all be planting trees for the future, and that is why we must never give up the fight for right over might. And we must continue to hope, because as Dr. King told us, he had a dream that the dawn will come.

Mantra: I will continue to hope and to plan and to dedicate myself to what I think is right. I will be mindful of mine and other’s ability to be just and fair and honest and good. And I will remember all of the struggles that Dr. King had in his own life, and be more hopeful for the future to come. A future where we really do judge others by the content of their character. And I will always be hopeful that a new dawn will come.

The Dawn will come

Excerpts from the essay by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“At the beginning of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, we set up a voluntary car pool to get the people to and from their jobs. For eleven long months, our car pool functioned extraordinarily well. Then Mayor Gayle introduced a resolution instructing the city’s legal department to file such proceedings as it might deem proper to stop the operation of the car pool or any transportation system growing out of the bus boycott….

I could feel the cold breeze of pessimism pass over the audience. The night was darker than a thousand midnights. The light of hope was about to fade and the lamp of faith to flicker…

…a reporter came to the table where, as chief defendant, I sat with the lawyers. “Here is the decision that you have been waiting for….In anxiety and hope, I read these words: “The United States Supreme Court today unanimously ruled bus segregation unconstitutional in Montgomery, Alabama.”

My heart throbbed with an inexpressible joy. The darkest hour of our struggle had become the first hour of our victory. Someone shouted from the back of the courtroom, “God Almighty has spoken from Washington!”…The dawn will come. Disappointment, sorrow, and despair are born at midnight, but morning follows. “Weeping may linger for the night,” says the psalmist, “but joy comes with the morning.

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