~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yesterday afternoon, while Grey and the Beats took a much needed nap, I dressed myself warmly and ventured outside to shovel snow. The weather has finally turned colder and, with the chills, has come white, fluffy powder that blankets the world. It's a peaceful sight until one realizes that it needs to be cleared so that life can continue to function. And I knew that as the day passed, we were running out of time to clear the sidewalks and steps before that powder turned to ice.
As I was clearing a section of the sidewalks surrounding the house, I had an opportunity to observe those who were doing the same. In many cases, the others were neighboring homeowners. But in a few cases, there were work crews who were clearing. These crews consisted of men who drove beaten-up trucks, usually with a label on the side. Most worked quietly, but some that spoke did so with broken English. One man was surprised when I offered him something to drink during a 5 minute break. It was clear this wasn't a common gesture.
Watching the crews work had me remembering the migrant workers that would line up at chain home-improvement stores in Seattle. Of the roofing crews I would see on the highways when I was a college student. Of the hate that was spewed towards these men by those who were threatened by their presence. And the conversations I would have with a few where it became so clear that they were lonely, missing family and acutely aware they were unwelcome.
Clearing the stone steps leading to the house, I found myself playing Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech through my head. Particularly this segment.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.As I reflected and watched the crews, I became more aware that this injustice has extended all the more. Racial injustice combined with socio-economic injustice and religious divide. Change is long overdue as the wants of a few are greatly hindering so many.
And so, once again, I'm reminded that I need to be the change I long to see in the world. Even if my gestures seem small and unimportant.