I went for a long walk this morning, and I discovered that a long walk beats a long day of work any time. The day off work and the walk were made possible by our national holiday that honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thinking about Dr. King actually fit into what has been a week full of reflection. It started with the tragic shooting in Tuscon last week where a nine year old girl was among the many senselessly killed and injured. I also found out this past week that a wonderful couple I met during my college days in Toledo lost their college-age daughter to cancer. And finally, a wonderful young man that I went to high school with who was left paralyzed many years ago by a bullet fired at him in a robbery, lost his life last week to complications of that act of violence. When you have young kids, these events hit especially close to home.
As I've grown older and I hope wiser, I've chosen not to spend a lot of time trying to make sense out of circumstances like those I've mentioned above. The world doesn't make sense, frankly. And I'm relatively certain that's the way it is supposed to be.
I read today that Dr. King traveled over 6 million miles and gave more than 2,500 talks over his short lifetime. He appeared wherever there was injustice, protest, and action. And I have to believe that the world made little sense to him either. But unlike so many of us today, he didn't let the senseless nature of the world stop him from doing what made sense in his own world. I think too often today we write off the activism of Dr. King, and of Jesus long before him, as guys chasing unrealistic dreams instead of wise men giving us the very recipe for hope in our own lives.
Dr. King once said: "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."
I suppose we could complicate that statement by wondering what the apple tree is. But as I was walking today a song began to play through my headphones that a friend had shared with me some time ago. I liked it when I heard it, but today it made a lot of sense. I hope as you listen to it you'll consider what I considered as I listened to it, that maybe Dr. King, like Jesus, saw life as simple as each individual exercising their opportunity to freely love. And as I considered the events of last week, and just how fragile that opportunity is, my time is better spent loving freely than trying to understand a senseless world.