I had the wonderful and pleasurable opportunity this afternoon, to “re-listen” to one of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life (April 9th 1967). In it, King speaks to all of us in regards to how we can best live a complete life.
The first dimension is the “length of life” in which we are learning to love ourselves for who we are and the gifts that we are blessed with already.
But King doesn’t stop there, as he goes on to describe the second dimension of life which is the “breadth of life”, in which we are learning to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
But he doesn’t stop there, as he goes on to describe the third dimension of life, which is the “height of life” in which we are reaching ever higher for a spiritual connection.
All of these things add up to helping us to live a complete life.
One of my favorite passages in the sermon is:
“What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; (Go ahead) sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill
Be a scrub in the valley—but be
The best little scrub on the side of the hill,
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a highway just be a trail
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or fail—
Be the best of whatever you are.
And when you do this, when you do this, you’ve mastered the length of life.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I share this portion of the speech quite often when I’m speaking to young people in regards to getting together a “plan” for their lives, and also trying to realize the wonderful gifts that they’ve already been blessed with. Of course, many of the youth that I work with, want to grow up to be professional athletes or entertainers, and that’s okay to have a dream (Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, remember?), but we all need to realize the wonderful blessings that are already bestowed upon us, and to live our life to the very fullest.
Anyway, I thought I would share this with you since I was on my heart and mind to do so, and, to remind each and every one of us to strive to be the very best that we can be.