Much of our emotional well-being is connected to the way we measure growth toward an ideal.
Dr. King’s spirited speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial almost sixty years ago, lifted the eyes of millions of weary souls to see clearly a dream of a much brighter future. His “I Have A Dream” speech is one of the most inspirational public messages of all time. And it inspired social action, the likes of which, has been rarely witnessed in human history.
Any respected historian would admit that the Civil Rights Movement under Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership, greatly changed the public landscape in America, and was successful in bringing increased dignity to those who had long suffered under oppressive hands.
But was it enough?
In other words, how can we adequately measure the effectiveness of all of Dr. King’s efforts?
If we begin our assessment by beginning with his lofty idealistic words and measuring forward to where we are today in actualizing those civic ideals, it would be more than understandable to become deeply discouraged. We are still very far from, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.“
There is a Gap, and it is measurably obvious.
If we stand in that Gap, we will wallow in disillusionment.
If on the other hand, we measure the progress that has been made since that famous day in Washington D.C. to this present day, we can be encouraged to see that all has not been lost in the struggle to gain freedom for all. Laws were enacted, at great cost to reputation and life, that opened the door for many more opportunities to the very ones who peacefully protested against the earlier injustices. It took nearly a half century, yet America elected it’s first black President to lead our nation, and in only a few more days, the first woman of color will serve as the Vice President of the United States of America.
There is a Gain, and it’s measurably obvious.
If we stand in this Gain, we can worship with gratitude.
While we memorialize one of our great moral leaders today, how we choose to measure his greatness will make all the difference in how we feel. While we continue to stand in the Gap, let’s not forget to measure the Gain. We shall overcome. That is both the hope and the promise.
We are all still progressing toward The Dream.