Today is the third Monday of January, which means it’s the federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. We all know about Dr. King and his dreams of seeing equality for all people here in America and around the globe. But do you know much about what else he said?
I’m far from being an expert on Dr. King and the things he believed, but it doesn’t take long when looking at quotes from some of his speeches or writings to see that he was a well spoken, thoughtful man with a strong faith. Here are 10 of my favorite quotes that I’ve seen from him, just to give you an idea:
- The time is always right to do what is right.
- Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend.
- Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
- I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
- Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.
- Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.
- Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
I’ve never seen some of these quotes before I did a bit of searching, but think they all carry important messages.
Of all these (and others) that I found, I think the last one I’ve listed is my favorite, maybe because it hits home every day. What am I doing for others? In other words … as much as I might tend to get wrapped up in my little corner of the world and forget about thing beyond, it’s really not all about me. Life is about helping others and trying to make the world a better place, whether that means becoming an international leader whose policies affect millions or simply smiling and holding the door for a mom balancing an infant carrier seat while keeping hold of her toddler’s hand. I can donate to a worthy cause, offer to volunteer when they need help at school, or put a note in my child’s lunch that she’ll find just before taking that test she’s worried about.
It can be big, or it can be small. The important thing is that it makes a difference to someone else. I think that’s a good thing to focus on, especially as we see so many things in memory of Dr. King this week.
Your turn: What’s your favorite quote from Dr. King, and why?