Spiraling Words

When I was in high school and college, I took full advantage of the cardboard backing on my notebooks.

I used to write quotes, song lyrics, anything I deemed worthy in my brightly colored pens. Each letter was so tiny because, no matter how full the back of my notebook became, I always needed to make sure there was room for more. These were in addition to the mass number of "doodles," and poems woven into my notes and on the margins of assignments.

I couldn't help myself. I could concentrate far better while I was drawing or writing or both.

I read a quote tonight by Martin Luther King, Jr. that would have definitely turned into a spiral version of itself in my hand writing.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."

And since this is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I've been looking over several of his quotes. I've included some more just because...

Because thinking is one of my favorite pastimes: "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."

Because so many people base their opinions on "forward e-mail" type information, completely overlooking the importance of facts: "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will." [and] "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Because there's always something to do: "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists." [and] "Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." [I love how often he used the words creative and creatively.]

Because I wish I thought this way more often: "The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'" [and] "There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth." [and] "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

And lastly because every time I read these words, I get a knot in my throat [more so now that I have children]: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' ... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

(Pictured with three of his four children.)

"With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together... [I have a dream today.]"


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