“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” –Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King Day continues to take on greater meaning me for reach year. It was, in fact, this quote by Dr. King that inspired me to join the Water for Life movement.
Sometimes we choose to serve because of a catastrophic, external need. We see something like a Facebook post or this blog. Something touches us and we reach out. Other times, a need to serve happens internally. Quietly. A spark ignites and we must find a way to quench it.
This quote was my spark; these words have made a lasting change in my life.
I was over at a friend’s house for Sunday dinner. We were practicing the great art of Dutch oven cooking, and I’d run into the kitchen to grab some ingredients. I’d been in their house multiple times, and for whatever reason that night I was leaning against the counter looking at the refrigerator. This passage was on a National parks refrigerator magnet along with some other inspirational thoughts on display. I’d read Dr. King’s words before, but I couldn’t remember a message punching me like this one did.
For years, I’d felt a need to do more to improve the world around me. I’d volunteered for wonderful organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as various service callings for my church, but still I felt there was something I could do on a larger scale.
This awareness readied me to meet Rudy Schaffer, a sharp businessman and unyielding philanthropist. I’d courted Rudy for years to work with my private electronics distribution company. After much back and forth, I got a phone call from Rudy letting me know his business plans had changed. He’d decided to retire early and devote his efforts to providing clean water to children of the world. You can read more Rudy’s journey HERE.
As I listened to Rudy detail his cause in earnest, the line came back to me. What are you doing for others?
I told Rudy to sign me up and to let me help. I didn’t know how I would help. I didn’t know what work would be involved. Finding the time can be difficult and I’m not always sure how or if my efforts will benefit others. I’m still growing and learning within this organization, but I’m so grateful for the small windows that have opened that have led me to this point.
As Director of Digital Marketing and Fundraising, I hope you too find a persistent urgency within yourself to help others – in whatever capacity. There is no greater feeling than the spirit of service. Martin Luther King was a shining example of how to take action and start a movement of change.