“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King

 Monday…January 18, 2001.  I’m writing this post on the morning of MLK Day. I don’t think I will complete it today because the week ahead promises to provide much more inspiration that I believe may, in some way, reflect back on today. But on this day, I’m thinking about the words of Dr. King and how relevant they remain, so many years later.

I am saddened by their lingering relevance. I wish I could say something like “…but that was another time…we’ve learned and grown so much since then. Just look how things have changed!” But, unfortunately, that is not the case. Not much has changed. We’ve grown older, but not wiser. It may be that we are right back there, in the same mindset, as we were then, when Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that August day in 1963 and shared his dream with us. I was in college that summer, in upstate New York and regretting that I had not skipped classes and gone to DC with some of my friends to witness in person this historic address.

But now I wonder…had Dr. King not left us way too early, what would his message be today? Would that abiding hope that literally defined him still be there? Or would his words reflect the despair and the frustration I’m sure he would be feeling? Would he, could he still have that dream?  I wonder.

Wednesday, January 20, 2001.  Today, as I was certain he would, Joe Biden breathed new life into the dream of MLK. Today we heard Joe Biden’s dream for us – for a gentler, kinder, more inclusive America. We listened as he unveiled his hopes so many years in the making. And I am once again filled with that same spirit of hope that Dr. King so passionately espoused. This was a day when darkness seemed to be waning.  A day when words of love were used to stamp out hate.  Our broken country has taken the first compulsory steps towards healing. Yes, we have grieved…and now it’s time to heal. We have a new leader determined to restore all that has been missing, and much that we have lost. A man of empathy and compassion, who does not hide from the truth, nor  does he mask it. We have a new president whose words echo the identical, almost spiritual longing of Dr. King back in 1963. “We have much to do…much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain…”  President Biden told us, “my whole soul is in this”. That is the price he is willing to pay. I believe him. I trust him. I have hope.

Today, I feel we are free to hope once more …for unity, brotherhood, equality.

“We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers” said Dr. King.

My prayer is that, finally, we will master this simple act of love.  Now is the time…the time is now.