I used to turn to this quote in the midst of crisis or tragedy (or whenever I was in personal struggle). Now I realize that what started as shared wisdom has become my central prayer and a daily practice for me.
Anger, judgment and blame are go-to emotions for me. This is especially true when I'm tired, anxious, or feeling vulnerable. When I'm not being mindful, I can try to overcome hate with hate. I can drop quickly into resentment and judgment.
When there is darkness in the world, I can slip into the dark place. I can start rehearsing tragedy and let my fear take over. I can turn to blame even though I know that blaming is simply a way to discharge pain and discomfort and has nothing to do with holding people accountable.
This incredible wisdom from Martin Luther King has become a prayer to me because it is everything I believe about my faith. I want to stay in love when fear drives me to hate and judgement. I want to practice gratitude and cultivate joy in the darkness. That doesn't mean that I can't be afraid or sad or vulnerable, it simply means that reacting to tragedy by living in fear doesn't create empathy, it breeds more fear.
Here's to love and light. As an imperfect practice. As a daring prayer. Thank you, Dr. King.