We are all familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “I have a dream” speech from August of 1963 as he stood before thousands at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
I watched it again on Monday, the day set aside to honor his memory, and like all the times before, had chills on my arms listening to his powerful words.
“Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”
It is without question, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, speeches in American history.
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King, however, came from another of his speeches. In December of 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. During his acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway he spoke of “an audacious faith in the future.”
In a world seemingly overflowing with pessimists, an “audacious faith in the future” is truly inspirational. We should all not only strive toward such a view, but work toward it.
It's with that in mind that I found Min. Vickie Coffey's words so on point during last Saturday's annual MLK banquet in Pittsboro benefiting the Loggins Scholarship Fund.
Coffey, a native of Calhoun City, stressed what she called the five Ps – pray, position, patience, persevere and praise.
Her point was the importance not only of faith, but to put in the work to put yourself in the best position possible.
We all have dreams, but it's not enough to simply want for them. You must commit yourself to the effort to achieve the dream.
We all struggle with patience in this instantaneous world. Think how upset we get when we can't get a text to go through on our cell phone. Even if it takes all day for it to finally send, the technology is undeniably amazing. Patience is a virtue we should all strive for.
While being patient, we should also persevere. Whatever the goal, quitting is not a means of making it come true.
And lastly, praise. When you do reach that mountaintop, give credit to those that helped you along the way and always look for opportunities to help others achieve as well.
These were the principles Dr. King dedicated his life too, which Min. Coffey so eloquently outlined last Saturday night.
Patiently, yet relentlessly working to make this a better world for us all should be a dream we all share.
Email Joel McNeece at firstname.lastname@example.org & follow him on Twitter @joelmcneece