Yesterday was a day with many facets. Kids were home, tv in the background was a blur of inaugural activities and thoughts on Dr Martin Luther King Jr. All the while I focus on tasks with other priorities. Priorities that come to the front were updating my price list for my hand dyed yarn business, working on plans for the coming year. Then it was out to the dye studio to rinse out dyed roving, fill pots with more roving and yarn ordered by wonderful customers. As I am grateful for each one, I am focused on doing quality work. I later check in on weather reports that says it will be very cold this night so that means a heater to be turned on for the rabbits. I then head out to the barn to raid the shrinking hay stack and haul out hay to the different paddocks of sheep and goats. I put corn in the coops as the chickens are heading back from free ranging. They will soon be huddled together on their roosts. I check in with Nisa, our guardian dog to assure her she’s doing a great job as I count the sheep. I head over to the outdoor wood stove to lay more logs on the fire as the blustery wind picks up. My neighbor wanders over to the wood shed as I work to feed the stove and comments that I’d better not skimp on the wood as we are heading for a really cold spell. I laugh it off saying we are tough, we can take it. He agrees. I head inside to see what there is for dinner.
I then look over the news of the day. Seems most of the country was focused on other things. They talked of Dr King and his legacy of influence. I thought of how he has influenced my life. He has set an example of living authentically. He had a passion that we all have equal opportunity to pursue the life we want without obstacle of prejudice. He was also about personal responsibility of those choices. My choices have lead me to a beautiful life, but not an easy life. Making a living as a shepherd and a dyer has not always lead to financial success. But I feel I am meant to do this work and God has ensured I can stay on this path. It is not a path with clear and understood directions. Mostly I feel my way by faith and instinct. It is scary. I deal with fear all the time. But the work is mine, it is satisfying. I feel alive doing it. It is a path I have worked toward my whole life. Worked is the operative word. Having an idea is one thing. Following through is quite another. I take the lesson from Dr King that to have equal opportunity is not the same as equal result. That is up to each individual. This country is unique in that the real power and identity lies in what each of us does with our opportunities and our freedom. And we have to constantly strive to deserve the freedom we are bestowed. And that means designing our lives to make the most of our talent and abilities. So I challenge you as I challenge myself…to live with purpose, responsibility, with joy, with passion. Because only then can we say we are worthy of the gift of being American.