“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When thinking about the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many things stand out in my mind. However, during these trying times, this quote echoes my present state of mind. Regardless of your personal views, opinions, thoughts, and/or wishes, most can agree that these days are indeed times of challenge and controversy. So simply put, where do you stand?
To stand means to have or maintain an upright position, supported by one’s feet. This, in essence, means that Rev. Dr. King was asking how you would consistently respond while maintaining honorable action. Some would argue that this implied request is outdated, but I would disagree. In times of challenge and controversy, we show who we really are. How do we respond with our time, talent, and treasure? What do you have planned to contribute, if anything? Are you seeking to grow from today’s trials or stay in a space of stagnation?
While I doubt that Rev. Dr. King envisioned the details of today’s time, I fully believe that the answer to this question points the way for generations to come. When I allow my action to answer this question, I’m not just doing so for me as an individual. My action is answering for my wife, my children-to-come, and generations that follow. Building family legacies . . . I know that this is how you change for the better. Each of us will encounter a time where we have to make a definitive choice. For many, that time is now. What can I do to make this test a testimony? What can I do to transform this challenge into a conquered foe? Not just for me, but also for the many eyes that follow me.
Where do you stand when you’re at a place of no return and everything seems to be against you? Will you have faith in your beliefs and morals or will you operate in the present as if there was no future to come? This isn’t to dissuade your course of action. It’s simply a question. A question of self-examination. A thought provoking question. A question of intentionality. A question of goals. A question of focus and effort. This is a question . . .
While our answers and actions may differ similar to our views, opinions, thoughts, and/or wishes, I’m grateful for the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This legacy prompted such a simple, yet introspective question that calls us to action. Not just for the betterment of ourselves, but for others as well. This past summer, I made a trip to our nation’s capital and was able to visit MLK monument. At this site are many MLK quotes which I’ve shared in this post. On the side of his statue, it accurately states ‘out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ When looking at his statue, I noticed that his legs fade into the stone . . . he has no feet. When I asked why that was, I was met with a simple response. “Because his work is not yet done.” So I ask you today, where do you stand?
Jaison K.D. McCall, Assistant Director – Education & Financial Capability