The next time something catches up with you, and you know for sure, deep down, that you have to do something brave, you will be glad to have listened to the following On Being podcast below.
(featuring the legendary United States Representative from Georgia, John Lewis.)
He was the first person to be attacked by the police when the civil rights freedom marchers came over the bridge in Selma, Alabama 50 years ago, and yet even then, Lewis knew how to love and forgive his attackers.
[This is an update of an article we wrote here on EverWideningCircles.com (EWC) on January 15, 2015, to honor Martin Luther King Day.
Who would guess that two years later, Representative Lewis’s contribution to humanity would be questioned by an incoming president? While we never wade into partisan politics, EWC is all about celebrating true “thought leaders” who are making the world a better place for everyone, so we are happy to settle any debate about John Lewis’s history of unyielding public service by re-circulating this article.
Pass it along! Here’s an inspiring story!]
Now, sit back and let Representative Lewis’s story and message of love, discipline, and nonviolence wash over you. It’s safe to say there are few other Americans better equipped to teach us about being free: freedom from fear, from hate; free from regret, and from selfishness.
This is a little-known but incredible interview between On Being’s Krista Tippett and an ordinary person who practiced such extraordinary compassion and wisdom 50 years ago that one can barely comprehend his perspectives.
I’ll be working on the insights from this one for a while.
The first lesson that comes to mind for me is simply this: if Mr. Lewis can forgive and believe in the best in every one after his experiences, I guess every one of us can register a few acts of unusual kindness every day.
Can we get past the anger and anguish we might have as our first impulse? Some people are showing a remarkably weak ability to relax in the heat of the moment and pace themselves for compassion.
I tend to be on the impulsive side and lately I’m reminding myself of a great John Lewis quote:
Do something small to improve things … It’s better to be a pilot light than a firecracker.”
-US Representative John Lewis 2
Echos from the past, or present?
While researching this article I came across the most remarkable old photograph from 1968. Considering all that’s been in the news in the past 2 years, it’s easy to see the past will be a mirror to the present until we right the ship on issues that carry humanity forward.
This podcast is a way to touch the past – a half century ago – but it’s never more pertinent than now when we can celebrate the contributions of everyone who stands up for human rights all around the world.
At Ever Widening Circles, we know things will always be imperfect and our work incomplete, but we are taking the long, hard look and believe it can come together.
I will never give up on people.
Stay open, curious and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
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Have a great day, and don’t forget to pass this along and inspire someone today!
- Tippett, Krista. John Lewis — The Art & Discipline of Nonviolence. 15 Jan. 2015. On Being. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/john-lewis-the-art-discipline-of-nonviolence>. ↩
- Tippett, Krista. John Lewis — The Art & Discipline of Nonviolence. 15 Jan. 2015. On Being. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <https://onbeing.org/programs/john-lewis-the-art-discipline-of-nonviolence/>. ↩