Practicing Extreme Love

I spent most of today feeling sad and I wondered if you might be, too.

Every time I feel we take a major step backward in our country – whether it has to do with women’s reproductive rights or a man acquitted for killing a young, unarmed boy – I feel so overwhelmingly disappointed and helpless.

Where is Martin Luther King Jr. when we need him?  It was my first thought this morning.

And, then I remembered that he is always here.  In the marvelous works that he left us.  In the powerful speeches he gave, in his deep respect of humankind, and in the non-violence he was a role model of.

So, I took the time to re-read his Letter From Birmingham Jail, nine pages that chart a course of understanding and have given me hope and strength through other difficult times of unrest, war and despair.

No matter how dim or dismal a situation is, no matter the setbacks, he reminds us that love triumphs over all.

*This Week’s Pinspiration*

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[pinit]Practice Extreme Love with Women On Fire ~

In his famous letter, which was written on newspaper margins and scraps of paper while he was in jail for actions of civil disobedience, Dr. King addressed the accusation that the civil rights movement was “extreme.”

He argued that Jesus and other heroes were extremists and wrote: “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?

In times like this, I want to burst through my fear and anger and be an extremist for love. And, today on the heels of sadness and outrage, I took great comfort in these inspiring extremists for love.

Thank you, Beyonce.

Upon hearing the news of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin, during her concert in Nashville, Beyonce called for a moment of silence and then sang the powerful “I Will Always Love You.”

Thank you, Maya Angelou.

Her words ring as true now as they did when she spoke them during the Sandy Hook School killings.

“Our country is grieving. Each child who has been slaughtered belongs to each of us and each slain adult is a member of our family. It is impossible to explain the horror to ourselves and to our survivors. We need to hold each other’s hands and look into each other’s eyes and say, “ I am sorry.”

Thank you, Dr. King.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

So we go forward, as we always do.  Yet how can we do better?

Maybe today we smile at someone we normally wouldn’t.  Maybe today we take the time to understand another person’s point of view. Maybe today we examine and reconsider our own stereotypical views of anyone different from us.

Maybe today we join forces with others and do as Maya Angelou urges us in this video:

“Do right …try to be all you can be to be the best human being you can be. Do it because it’s right to do. Pick up the battle, take it up, it’s yours. This is your life and your world … make it a better world just where you are. Yes, it can be better. It must be better. But it is up to us.”

I dream of a world where we all step up, practicing extreme love to be the best human beings we possibly can. The world needs us to do better.