It’s strange that I don’t consciously recall hearing“Ain’t No Grave”before my friend Elaine shared it in memory of her father. Strange because it’s such a powerful song, especially with Molly Skaggs’ voice and the stunning images in the video below.
I share this song today in celebration of the spirit of Martin Luther King and hope Dr. King wont mind if I also share it in honor my father who left this earth two years ago today. They both loved Jesus dearly. They were men of courage and conviction. Dr. King changed laws and opened the eyes of a nation with determination, love, and peace. My father worked on a smaller scale. After 20 years of military service, my father (and mother) volunteered at the local soup kitchen, led a boy scout troop, ministered to disabled veterans, and taught Sunday school into his eighties.
Last night, I discovered a new stash of memorabilia in the attic. I thought I was done with the hard part of processing of my parents stuff, but there’s more. There are at least three big trunks in the attic, and I’ve only opened one of them. Inside the first trunk I found maybe 50 letters my mother sent my father in 1968 when he was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba shortly after Vietnam.
After reading just two letters, I’m beginning to realize what a difficult time this was for my parents when I was 12 and clueless, though I must have sensed something. Who knows what I’ll learn through my mother’s letters and what more I’ll find on this fascinating journey where the scent of my father’s old treasures makes me want to fall into a puddle on the floor. But I don’t fall often. And if I do, I get up. I keep breathing and digging.
It’s all a process. Some day, I will have gone through all the physical items. The attic will be empty and the house will be sold. But the memories will live on. The spirit does not die.
As my father told me when I was 12, “Nothing is Impossible.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If we take the refusal to hate one step further, is it possible to find something to love, or at least like, about every person? I believe it is possible. And the honest effort is a worthy one moving us in the direction of peace and understanding. It can begin with communication, which means listening with the goal to understand, and speaking with respect, from our hearts. It is not always easy. But it is possible.
Her story needs to be heard. Bloody Sunday must be remembered, just like the Holocaust must be remembered, and the Massacre at Wounded Knee. We need to learn and not repeat the horrors of history. We need to carry on with compassion for all people. For all beings. For the planet, Earth.
After being beaten and gassed in Selma, the marchers rested and regrouped. Then, they embraced the fear and marched on with the “Steady, Loving Confrontation,” of civil disobedience. Their perseverance led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Please listen to these words of Dr. King as he explains Civil Disobedience and Love: