When you’re ready. Not for them, but for you.
When you’re ready. Not for them, but for you.
Although Dr. King’s day of remembrance has passed for this year, we may still reflect and celebrate his life of humanitarianism. Naturally, we should reflect on his life often, given his mark in history. While most notably known for his spiritual teachings and dedication to the improvement of life for blacks and other people of color in the United States, we could stand to learn from his personal life and the woman who stood beside him. Below are three things that we should take heed from the man who led the march on Washington 50 years ago, and the woman who mothered his four children.
Relationships endure tough scrutiny already from family, friends, and other folk alike. Now imagine living your life in front of the public eye. Having the person you love placed underneath a small microscope for the world to praise or criticize in an open forum. Now, picture yourself as a black person living during some of the most oppressive years in history during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Imagine being a man unable to secure or maintain stable employment because of the color of your skin. Coming home to your wife and family after a long days work and having to explain to them why daddy cannot afford what they need. Picture yourself being spat on as you walk the streets of your city with your woman in tote. Feeling emasculated from your inability to remove the hatred and oppression that you both experience just from the color of your skin. Imagine yourself being a mother wanting the best for her family and children and having to stay optimistic about a future that often looked forlorn and grim. Then, being mandated by law to send your beloved children to dilapidated school facilities with outdated textbooks and subjective curricula.
These are just a fraction of the oppression and adverse hardship that this couple and so many others alike faced during the days of Jim Crow. They needed perseverance to push through the limits that seemed impossible. They needed to maintain their strength to uphold each other. Truly, as they marched side by side, they embodied everything that is means to be “ride or die.”
In order for any relationship to work successfully there has to be some element of togetherness. The more closeness and equally aligned a couple is, the more opportunities there exist for them to prosper. But as we know, disagreements occur in a relationship and are very common. One may want to go outside on a rainy day whiles the other person may want to stay in and sleep. Disagreements are normal and are a part of life. No two people will always be equally alike on everything. However, issues may arise when disagreements are substantial enough to cause tension in a relationship. When tension lasts, it has the potential to smolder like a fire and eventually lead to separation.
Obviously if there is separation we can presume that there is very little togetherness. We know this because togetherness embodies being selfless and learning to find something that is mutually beneficial to both people in the relationship. Togetherness means that you will support what I want to accomplish as I do the same for you. Togetherness means that when disagreements ensue, you and I will talk through those issues. We will rectify any underlying issues before they tumble over to other aspects of our lives. Togetherness means that we grow together. Helping each other become better and not hinder the potential of the other.
The King family had to have a substantial amount of togetherness to maintain the sanctity of their marriage. As Dr. King traveled, Mrs. Coretta had to feel a certain level of security from him to not want to stifle the work he was doing. Each of the two had to come together. He needed her support to march and lead the nation to new grounds. While she needed to feel his presence and know that in the midst of all his workings, she was still his first priority. She needed to know that she was his Queen and that through any stormy weather, they could withstand.
Faith is one of those things in life that doesn’t make much sense to many people. Some people have a hard time believing in the probability of something being able to happen that doesn’t logically make much sense. But that is exactly what faith is! Faith believes that something great happens when you put in the right amount of effort and work. Belief cannot be negated for hard work, but neither can hard work be negated with disbelief. A fervent attitude for work and a voracious imagination is not mutually exclusive. They exist in the same house and should be a part of yours.
There were probably many agonizing nights in which Dr. King might have naturally just saw no satisfaction in the work he was doing. Those nights may have been abundant or may have not come very often, but he never lost faith. Faith may have helped him sleep at night. Believing that one day, the words and imagery of his “Dream” would eventually prevail and become reality. Mrs. Coretta had to have the faith in her husband and the vision that he had from God to take on the responsibility that he held. She had to have the faith in knowing that things would eventually workout no matter what the current situation may have alluded. She had to have the faith in knowing that the hard work of her beloved husband would make the life of her children more peaceable than the life they lived. Faithfully, she stood by his side and toiled as did he. She is the epitome of what it means to be virtuous.
Today, many may argue whether we have reached the pinnacle of equality in the United States, or if we are even on its cusp at all. It will take a continuance of faith to ensure that his vision is thoroughly lived out until hatred is so exhausted that it has no choice but to surrender to love.