Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Norway, on December 11, 1964. This statement is not as well-known as many of Dr. King’s other quotes, but for many of us there are “those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words”. I remember several: experiencing the quiet power of a lightning storm over Lake Atitlán, in , spoke these words after receiving the Nobel Prize in Oslo, Guatemala during my Peace Corps days, finishing the last of the 585 miles of the 2nd California AIDS Ride, and witnessing the birth of my children.
We risk forgetting those special moments as we “get back to business” and fall into our daily routines. The “moments of unutterable fulfillment,” fall by the wayside until we have an all too rare moment of quiet reflection.
It may seem strange to discuss “moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words” in the aftermath of one of the worst acts of racial terrorism in the United States. But the outpouring of love, courage, and unity brought about by the murder of 9 innocent people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, has caused a nation to face its demons and stand up for its values. An incident designed to sow fear and separation has instead created unity, and community across the country. An act designed to strengthen the hand of hate, has instead produced demonstrations of connection across tradition barriers of race, religion, and creed.
An incident designed to strengthen the validity of a divisive symbol may very well be the catalyst of the permanent remove of the symbol from the State Capital grounds. The triumph this moment brings is beyond words for some, and is truly an example of the inaudible language of the heart. This moment of unspeakable pain, has been transformed into a moment of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Nearly 50 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his legacy of persistence in the face of insurmountable odds lives on.
More Facts About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., had a passion, a focus, a singular idea of human potential that he maintained throughout his adult life. His singular idea, his faith in humanity helped create opportunities of unutterable fulfillment for himself and many, many others.
Dr. King worked to create a time, and then another, and another where the legal victories would connect with the humanity he saw in all people to become a groundswell of positive change; where we would feel connected to one another based on the content of our character and not the colour of our skin. He lived to help create moments of positive change and hope.
Those moments when one stops seeing the differences of another as weakness, sin, or character flaws but simply as who that person is… each of those instants of acceptance can lead to “moments of unutterable fulfillment” – both for the one who comes to the understanding and the one who is finally understood, accepted, and treated as an equal. Those types of moments bring profound relief, comfort, and joy.
Even in the midst of the worst that can happen, the inaudible language of the heart is always there. Life around us sometimes gets so loud that we can’t hear it, but it sounds in every beat of our heart and pulses through every fibre of our being.
Enjoy those moments of unutterable fulfilment, and when you don’t have the words, let the moment be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.