Celebrating today! He had a dream, a noble one, and Martin Luther King, Jr. shared it with the world in the form of living example and a famous speech on August 28, 1963. In a lesser known address he made to the American Psychological Association in 1967, he stated the following, “People who are labeled ‘crazy’ or ‘mentally ill’ are often in fact ‘creatively maladjusted’ to a sick society.” Fifty years later those words hold their relevance. I have a dream, too, Dr. King, that those labels disappear from language and that those who wear them come instead to appreciate their true selves and that there is nothing disordered about them despite what our culture and a well established medical model have come to dictate. “Thank God Almighty we’re free at last!” It’s a work in progress, yet I believe much better because of your words and efforts. Happy Birthday, and Thank You for all of the healing your messages of hope bring to our hearts.
Lots of happy words this week. From the window of the shuttle bus I noticed the Love and Love barber shop and Lovejoy Pizza. At work a spontaneous bout of playing name that tune prompted an intense lyric discussion invoking lots of laughter. And having the privilege to share a storybook with a co-worker’s daughter who is advancing in her reading skills made me smile.
The kindest words though, were spoken. “Excuse me.” The gentle voice from behind startled me. After all, I was in a parking lot scraping off my car in the middle of a snowstorm. At first I thought it was my spirit guide, but quite frankly, his tone is usually more nudging and playful than polite. Smiles! I turned around and saw a small man standing there holding a large plastic bag. Recognition came when he said, “Do you have any bottles or cans in your car that you can spare?” My mind flashed back to several weeks ago when the same man approached me in the same situation outside of my work building, seven miles away by bus. If he recalled my face or our encounter, he didn’t say so.
As the sleet and snow pelted us, he continued. “I’m homeless, so I live at the City Mission and collect bottles and cans to get by. I came here by the subway train, but I have lost my way to the station in the storm.” I knew he was being truthful about this because my workplace is next door to the City Mission. He asked so politely for so little, yet I could not honor his meager request. My car was meticulously clean, no empty cans or bottles. In today’s debit card world, I couldn’t even offer any cash or small change; only a smile and pointed finger in the direction of the subway station. It didn’t matter to him. His face lit up under his snug fitting tan hat and he smiled back. “Thank you. And may God Bless You.” He looked me in the eye and accepted my response of, “May God Bless You Too.” Then he turned toward the subway station.
As I completed my de-icing job, I thought to myself. His God/my Universe does bless me every second of every day of my life. I continued to think about that as I was guided home through reduced visibility on treacherous roads to the safety of my warm sanctuary and cooked my nutritious meal, took my warm shower and crawled into my freshly made luxurious bed. Amazing. And as I wrote in my journal, I embraced those kind words from a man who owns no more than a sack full of bottles and cans; theoretically nothing. “Thank You. May God Bless You.” By expressing those words he demonstrated that he has everything that many of us don’t. And he chose to share them with me. The gift of appreciation, gratitude, warmth and love delivered in the middle of a snowstorm by a homeless stranger or an angel in disguise? I’ll let you decide; I already have my answer.
Smiles to all and a wish for love, freedom and blessings.