Home > On Teaching > “What can Martin Luther King teach me about faith?”

“What can Martin Luther King teach me about faith?”

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Staring at the DVD on my coffee table, I begin to have many thoughts. “In remembrance of Martin,” a documentary I’m showing to my students tomorrow is resting on it. Others will be commentating on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. I wonder, what do I want my students to get out of this? I think, what if he never came? How would the world be?

America would be divided. Schools would be segregated. Blacks would go to one restaurant, and whites to another. Even restrooms would be separate. We would not ALL be able to vote. America would be bleak, an ugly place.

It amazes me that when I ask my students, half of them know nothing about how unequal America used to be. As I teach on Dr. King, I plan to ask them–“If it wasn’t for his efforts, do you think you would be here?” I personally believe it would be harder for even foreigners to migrate.

My advanced class consists of people who come to the U.S. to further their study of English. Most of them have degrees in their former country, but sometimes they want to achieve higher degrees or simply better their English.

Martin Luther King had a dream. He fulfilled it. He wanted equality. He said, “I just want to do God’s will, and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I looked over, and I’ve seen the promise land. We as a people, will get to the promise land!” I thank God he had the courage to follow it.

I have some dreams too. But mine are more simple. I may not have the same prophetic abilities but I have an intrinsic gift of having a dream, and the ability to make it come true. We all do. It’s a gift from God. Like Martin, we must have the courage to follow it.

At sixteen I was injured in a pedestrian/motor vehicle crash. While crossing the street on my way to school, I was hit by a car. It’s a miracle I’m alive. I was paralyzed. I’m now able to get around on two forearm crutches. I’m practicing with one cane. It was my dream to walk again. I did. I still hope to walk one day with no walking device. I know the power of having a dream.

But my dream stretches further than the simple fact that I’m determined to walk. My dream is for others with spinal cord injuries too. It can take so much from our lives. We not only lose the ability to walk, life as we know it changes. SCI not only paralyzes our bodies, it can paralyze our hopes, dreams, and positive outlook on life. When you’re sitting in a wheelchair, it’s difficult to see past it, especially after you’re first injured.

My dream is for others with SCI to know they never have to give up. I’ve worked hard to walk again all these years. I’m still not walking as good as I’d like. But I don’t plan on giving up. It feels good to not have to put a wheelchair in the car several times a day. My crutches weigh less than two pounds each, they are light weight.

Although walking again is not a promise, it takes extreme determination and faith. Maybe if those injured work hard enough on exercise in physical therapy, they will get return of their muscle function, arms, and possibly even legs too. And maybe their dream can come true.

“We’re all connected as humans. No matter how vast our differences may seem, no matter how we each propel ourselves through this life; we all touch the lives of those around us.” From the movie – Intouchables

Do you have a dream? What’s your dream? Feel free to share in the notes.

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