“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friend.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know we won’t be celebrating Dr. King’s birthday until tomorrow; but since I share his real birthday, I will not wait the extra day.  I awoke this morning to many wonderful birthday wishes from my friends online and my family who are right here.  It is a joyful thing to be remembered and acknowledged by people who love and support us.  My birthday, more than any other day of the year, offers me an opportunity to pause and give thanks for all the love, encouragement, and kind words that friends and family bring to my life.  We all find joy in the kindness, encouragement, and love of others; and when we choose to live our lives speaking out for what is good and true and right, we especially treasure others who do the same.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a man who was satisfied with being silent.  He spoke out, in volatile times, in a voice that demanded to be heard; and he lost his life as a consequence of choosing not to be silent.  His life changed us all.  When I think back to my childhood and the narrow-minded attitudes we were taught that told us to recognize only our differences and not our common humanity, it seems archaic and false, and unbearably sad.  When I think of Dr. King and his voice and his message of peace and brotherhood and realize that my own understanding of truth and unity were changed by his example, it makes me proud to share his birthday.  The time when he lived and dreamed and spoke was one of great transformation for me; and I was not yet ready to risk speaking out in ways that supported his dreams.  I suppose you could say that it’s too late now; but I say that there is always time to speak up and reiterate the dreams of the dreamers of truth, peace and love.  When we break our silence and make our voices heard, we bring the dream to life again and again.

If you see injustice, speak up.  If you see love being trampled in the streets, let your voice be heard.    In the end, we will remember the voice of each friend who speaks on our behalf.  In the end we will remember the love.  In the end, I don’t want to be remembered for my silence.