January 19, 2009


Its MLK day, and so I think it is important to speak a little about heroes. Heroes to me are people who are able to weather horrible tragedies and yet continue to lead. People who, though their heart may be breaking, are still able to inspire. People who are willing to put their own lives in harms way simply to show people that we must move on, we must move forward, we can move forward. Heroes to me are people like Mr. King, Ghandi, the 14th Dalai Lama, Desmund Tutu, and Nelson Mendela. These people are the ones who were there to lead people in times of extreme tragedy and trauma. These were people who remained steadfast to their cause and willing to risk everything just to help others move forward.

Last summer I was given the most amazing opportunity, I got to attend the Seeds of Compassion conference in which the Dalai Lama and dozens of others heroes, role models, and inspirations came together to talk about peace and compassion. I was lucky enough to attend the spirituality discussion where leaders of all different faiths came to talk about inter-spiritual dependence. There were many many amazing speakers at this event, but what stuck out to me the most was the interaction between Mr. Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Those two acted like Kindergarten best friends. They giggled and hit each other. They flowed gracefully between an eloquent serious answer and complete overflowing joy.

It is people like them that inspire me to go forward everyday.  Both men were put in leadership roles during horrific and painful acts of injustice in which their lives and those of their people were in great danger. As His Holiness was forced into exile, making him leave his people, country, and life behind, Tutu was dealing with the massacre that was South African apartheid. These men were the happiest people I have ever seen. They laughed and giggled and danced. They smiled and joked. And they demonstrated that they had survived. They lived through that cruelty. That pain. That fear. And they lead there people to peacefully and compassionately show resistance to the prejudice of the world. It is through heroes like these that we are reminded that no matter what happens in life, no matter how bad it gets, you can always move forward.

Now sometimes, no matter what things don't turn out the way the should. Sometimes our heroes are taken too soon, or our lives don't change fast enough. But in our honoring and still loving and cherishing the memory of Mr. King we remind each other that we can move forward, and that we are moving forward. I am so proud and happy that 41 years after the death of one of our greatest heroes we have moved to the point where we are finally okay letting a person of color lead us in one of our most important roles. Though I feel this has taken much much much longer then it should have, (and though I found myself in the past feeling that we are never going to get any better,) we are doing it. We are truly beginning to live the dream that was awakened in us so long ago. We are finally beginning to love and treat each other as we should. And tomorrow, in about eleven hours from now, lets hope that a new hero will lead us and shows us that we can move on. I hope that through our increasingly tolerance and love for each other that we can all come together in this new year to pass on the love and compassion that so many beautiful people have taught us in the past.

To see true inspiration and joy please watch this short clip of Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama: 

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