On this Martin Luther King Jr. day, I imagine many of us are reflecting on the idea of purpose and contribution. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to the welfare of so many of us inspires the thought: What can I do to make a positive contribution to the people around me. Some of you, proud to say some are members of my family, are spending the day performing charitable services. In these divided times I think it’s these acts of common purpose that are going to bring us back together.
I was at dinner last night with a man who fought in WWII alongside Americans. His thoughts were a bit difficult to follow, he was 92 and had a heavy English accent, but everything he spoke about was in reference to the war. These were obviously very formative years, despite or maybe because of the intense purpose behind the act of war. The purpose that created the connection to his fellow soldiers.
This human need and great satisfaction felt for intense connection despite awful atrocities is described in Sebastian Junger’s book Tribe. We need purpose.
I think we should remind ourselves that each act of kindness can go a long way. Even the simple act of putting down a cell phone or closing a laptop when a child wants to play is an act of purpose and a reminder of priorities underlining the importance of human connection.