If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. – Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m sitting in the Dulles Airport in Washington DC waiting for my flight home after taking part in a course in Virginia. I’ve had a few moments to reflect on the time that I’ve spent here. I arrived last Monday and fortunately I had time to take in some of the sights with some friends. When asked where we wanted to go by our tour guide I immediately requested to stop and see the Lincoln Memorial. Our drivers suggested since we were in the area that we might also be interested in the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I had no idea that a memorial even existed, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to visit.
Martin Luther King Jr. is someone that I have admired for quite some time. His biography April 4th 1968 is a powerful book that shares so much insight into his life and purpose. Those who follow me on Twitter will notice that I often quote him. I find his words to be so full of wisdom and give me so much to contemplate about life. He makes me think about my own life and my purpose.
His memorial is so surreal. You enter the site and cross through a large opening in a boulder. The piece that has been cut out is the stone that Martin Luther King Jr. has been carved into. Surrounding the memorial is a granite wall with several of King’s most famous speeches. You can’t help but stand there and be in awe.
I assume that all of us at one point in our lives have someone that we look up to. I’ve had several mentors in many areas of my life. Some have been close personal friends and almost parent-like to me. Others I haven’t even met. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of those people who I look up to but have never met. Unfortunately he died before I was even born.
If you are ever in Washington DC, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a must see. The experience is not about the photographic opportunities. No photograph could do it justice. It is solely about the experience of being as close as we’ll ever get to such a great individual; someone who changed the world.