While multitudes revel in a day off work, history calls. As we indulge in the glory of our pillow and comforter, our slumber unhindered by the blare of the alarm clock, something stirs. Do we hear it? Do we remember?
Today, I will enjoy a day home with my children, blessed with their ringing laughter, incessant fun, and smiles that shine with their glowing brown skin. Tomorrow, I will return to work, teaching precious children with skin of every beautiful color. I can’t imagine it any other way. And it’s all because one man had a dream.
It was hard last week to tell my classroom that there was a time when what we have wasn’t allowed. Their best friends wouldn’t be their friends. Their classmates wouldn’t be in the same building. They wouldn’t know each other. All because the color of their skin. What an ugly place, the world of segregation. What an ugly, hateful place.
It was just as difficult to tell these kids that though there’s been progress enough for us all to enjoy one another’s friendship and learn under the same roof, the world is still not the beautiful place it should be. There are still awful evils. There is still gross injustice. There is still racism and prejudice. Things that should not be with all the sacrifices made for change to come.
We live in a fallen world. And it will be as long as we live on the wrong side of heaven. I told my kids we each still need to do our part to bring the change.
And I told them we will have a day off school to celebrate a man who believed against all odds that things could change for the better.
So today is more than a day off. It’s a day to remember the darkness we’ve come from, resolving never to return. It’s a day to reflect on where we still need to change, repenting of our own sins of racism and prejudice. And it’s a day to dream, with Martin Luther King Jr., that ALL our 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.”
May it be on earth as it is in heaven.