Happy Martin Luther King Day.
I have been blessed with amazing friends, some of whom have already come to visit me during the four months I've called Little Rock home. During one of these weekends, I carted my friends to the "visitor" places that most residents wouldn't consider an outing. Among them was Central High School, one of the first integrated schools.
I'm blessed to be in a generation that missed out on that violence and brutality, and though I've heard the stories and been to the MLK memorial in Atlanta, this visit was jarring.
A park ranger explained how one little girl, little girl, didn't get the message to meet up with the other nine students and local ministers. She got off the bus in a pretty white dress she'd sewn, and was immediately pressed by hatred. She walked alone down the middle of a very narrow road. On her left, men and women her parents' age, boys and girls her own age, spit until her dress was drenched. They shouted vile threats as she clutched her books, kept her gaze ahead and walked. On her right, between her and the strikingly pretty high school, stood her own National Guard troops. Men in uniform armed with guns. Their sole purpose was to prevent her and her nine black classmates from getting to school.
She sat alone on a bench at a bus stop until it came. The jeering never waned. The hate never thought twice.
When the bus came, she rode to her mother's work.
The next day, she went back to school. And she stayed. And she graduated.
In a culture obsessed with comfort, I'm awed by the willingness of those who have the spine to really believe in something. Even when it costs them.
I'm so glad the Little Rock Nine were able to see the fruit of their labor. But even if they hadn't, they would have taken their stand anyway.
There's a verse in Esther that says we're put where we are "For such a time as this." I'm so thankful that God does that. He plants us where He wants us, where the world needs us, and He gives us inhuman fortitude to stand.
Thank you, God, for your people who stood courageously in the face of unthinkable foes. Who would not bend from what is right for the sake of what is easy. Please may I be like that. All my love.