I read a New York Times op-ed on Martin Luther King’s legacy, which was fine, but a story it quoted stood out to me.
… one night [Martin Luther King’s] brother A. D. drove him to Tennessee. Infuriated by all the other cars’ brights, A. D. vowed to crank his lights and blind the next driver passing by. Dr. King told him not to, that it would just get everybody killed. “Somebody got to have some sense on this highway,” he said.
And isn’t that what it all comes down to? Love thy neighbor. Turn the other cheek. Be the person your dog thinks you are. Use common sense.
Whatever our religious, spiritual, or human sensibilities are, this calling is clear and present and necessary to our humanity: We must make the best and most righteous choices regardless of what those around us choose to do and be. We have to understand and love and let go and move on. And we have to do this first and last and again and again.
We must teach ourselves and our children not only to use common sense but to use common decency as our guide. It’s not merely that it makes a better world. It is how awful the world will be if we all just react to each other’s anger and selfishness. It is the hurt and the pain, and even the death, which follows.
If we take the few minutes it takes to think our actions through — To act instead react. To breathe instead of talk. To listen. To forgive. — we can save our hearts as well as our lives. Our relationships as well as our humanity.
Someone has to do the right thing around here. “Somebody got to have some sense on this highway.” That someone is me. And you.
Because if not us, who will be hurt?
Because if not us, who will be forgotten?
Who will suffer?
Who will die?
I think we all will if we don’t try.