Between the Jimmy Carter Museum and Library and the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site it is evident that the state of Georgia is the reservoir of much history.
This makes me think of history in general and our relationship to it. I think all would agree that what we all are, in both the collective and individual sense, is the product of our histories. After all, where we have been shapes our identities and determines largely where and what we are today.
As someone once said, "if you don't know where you are coming from, then you don't know where you are going." If there is even only a hint of truth in this statement, then it is critical that we all invest some time in tracing the histories that we are all a part of- this begins from the micro sphere of our family tree and expands to that to our nations, regions and the world at large.
It is also important that we think about the role that we play in shaping history. In other words, what impact does my life have on others and the world? Martin Luther King Jr.'s actions aided in changing the entire history of the United States and beyond its borders. Jimmy Carter's unwillingness to abide by the status quo impacted positively the lives of so many in America and the world as well. These two stalwarts of history should make us pause and look at the legacy that we are leaving behind. Why? Because whether we are aware of it or not each of our lives leaves a trail behind. We are involved in writing history as long as we are alive and I think it is an awesome privilege and responsibility to have the power to impact lives.
I see people everyday who live selfishly. They are caught up only with hoarding the material and temporal things in this life and give no thought to the man, woman, boy, girl or animal that lives next door, in the next village, in the next nation or in the world. What kind of legacy is that leaving behind? What will be the history that will be told when they are gone. How will his obituary read?
Martin Luther King Jr. was not a fictional superhero. Likewise, Jimmy Carter has blood running in his veins like the rest of us. What these two men were able to do, the legacies that they were able to bequeath to us did materialize because they possessed something that the rest of us lack. No, they were able to rise above the rest of us because they were willing to risk all for the sake of a better tomorrow. They were willing to fight for others who in many cases were not able to fight for themselves. They were willing to have a dream and work to make it happen. Note: They did not know where the path would take them, but they were willing to take the first step. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. But, one has to dream first.
Therefore, I hope that all of us will cease to be myopic. Instead, I hope that we will all cast our visions backward and contemplate history. Then, I hope we will cast our vision around us and see the needs of our times and then chart a course for the future where we might see only a distant horizon, but we will press forward in faith knowing that our cause - whatever it may be - will benefit humanity.
I hope that when all our obituaries are written and our histories told, someone, somewhere will build a monument to us. I do not refer to a monument of stone or steel; but if it is only a thought of gratitude that we were willing to extend a hand when needed; that we were willing to do all that it takes for the cause of justice, truth, equality and the betterment of humanity, then our lives would not have been in vain.
So, do you have a dream? I dare you to!