Hope is the total of my desires. Expectations are expressions of my beliefs.
Both are closely embedded in a man named King. On the other hand, my faith was born of a man named Christ. For some reason a distinction was made on the subconscious level between faith and hope. There, I concluded hope was the thing to hang my faith. At an early age, I related to all that defined the King movement, most importantly, justice. Young and poor, I hoped for better days. I expected life to fulfill promises based on effort and excellence. King said I would one day be judged on those criteria and character. That was his dream. That was my hope. My faith was firm and steadfast; therefore, I never lost hope.
Now that I’m older, I have no choice but to acknowledge what evil became of both men, King and Christ. Now that I’m older, I have no choice but to admit that hope hangs heavy on my faith. Now that I’m older, I must confess the damage to and, in some cases, the demise of my expectations. I’m grateful to King for his eloquence, visions, and dreams. I regret, however, that I was unaware of the revolutionary that lived within him, something he had in common with the other man—Christ.
Had it been clear to me that, rather than the meek, mild-mannered persona assigned to both non-violent men, within them both was a raging fire matching their desire for love and justice. Now that I’m older, my respect for and admiration for both men has increased exponentially. Knowing what I know now as an adult, I feel great affection for both men. I love them both. They are heroes. Have you ever thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a hero? Have you ever thought of Christ as a hero? These men are heroes, as are others who, by choice, fully aware of the dangers, championed the cause of love and justice for all. I spend many of my adult hours studying war and warfare, essential tools for acquiring justice.
I wish I had known earlier in my life, when I was fully vested with the powers and stamina of youth. I confess my fatigue. I recognize my steps are slow, and my hopes hang low. What should I make of a holiday that reminds me of hopes I once had but no longer enjoyed? What to make of expectations, I no longer expect, and dreams I no longer dream. Is this holiday humiliating and painful a reminder that no matter what intellect, skill sets, credentials, or character I possess, Black, Negro, Colored, African American is seen first and foremost by those who keep and bank my civil and human rights in accounts for which I’ve never had the correct account numbers.
Despite efforts to disparage his name, yet another similarity with the other man I associated with King, I still love the man. In fact, I love both men. May King’s legacy forever fill our hearts with hope for love and justice, just as a love of Christ will permanently endow us with the faith to hang those hopes. Peace, love, and blessings!