I’m never going to be a world changer, most of us won’t be. Still I truly believe that we can all change our own little microcosm of a world. We can change ourselves. And when we change ourselves, that ripple might spread outward and change another. If enough little corners of the world are better and brighter, maybe there will be just a little less hate and violence.
Here’s what I wanted to do last Friday. I wanted to retreat into my hole of self and safety. Or maybe I wanted to overload on media and pundits and news until I was numb. Or maybe I just wanted to deny that my life had anything to do with everything going on in BatonRouge or St. Paul or Dallas or the rest of the world.
Here’s what I did last Friday. After I posted “No Words,” I made a very small change.
Don’t be expecting any call to arms here. I assure you, this is not a holier-than-thou nor self-congratulatory post. I am a lily-livered, comfort-seeking, privileged, suburban white woman, who had the luxury of abandoning a career that she didn’t like in favor of raising two amazing, trouble-free daughters with an incredibly loving and supportive husband.
All I did was refuse to shut my eyes. I decided that I just had to go out into this amazing and diverse city that I live in. I needed to see that there is beauty and ugliness, and remember that it is not up to me to be the judge of which is which. I needed to find people who were better and braver than me.
I decided to go to a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. It felt like the place to find some peace and perhaps some strength. The MLK statue that the internet found for me is in the McGovern Centennial Gardens located on the edge of Hermann Park.
I found what I was looking for. I found a place celebrating the beauty of nature in the middle of an urban sprawl. Although not crowded, I found the beauty of human diversity in skin color and language and dress. I also found the beauty of words. (The following quotes were inscribed on the bases of the statues.)
“Gentleman are in harmony without conforming, petty men echo each other without being in harmony.”
“In the company of others, there is always one I can learn from, I shall pick out his merits to follow and his shortcomings to avoid.”
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
“I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills.”
“…because any time is the right time to do the right thing.”
Thank you, Dr. King. That is the first small change I need to make. I need to open my eyes and see to do the right thing.