Parisian Love Lockphoto © 2010 Allen Skyy | more info (via: Wylio)It if it weren’t for the array of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes flying around Twitter, today might have slipped by unnoticed for me. It was a Monday as usual, and it was almost 4pm before I realized why we didn’t get a visit from the mailman today.

But this one, found floating somewhere amidst Floridian rainy day angst and Golden Globes commentary, gently lodged itself in the front of my mind and took up residence there:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

And for good reason… I’ve been thinking a lot about love and hate and the lines between them lately.

Maybe it was the little flare of tension after the shooting in Arizona, where shock and mourning turned to politicizing, finger-pointing, and defensiveness all too quickly. Or perhaps it’s just divisions in general that make me frustrated — the idea that we can draw lines around ideas, focus on being right, rather than being open, merciful, kind — and everything surrounding this just drove it home in recent days.

Maybe I’d just like to see Rev. King’s mentality make a comeback.

Because here’s the thing: hate is easy. Picking sides and drawing lines is easy. Love requires an effort to see people as they are, to open our hearts, to understand, even if we don’t agree. Love is hard.

But, unlike hate, it won’t kill you.

The reason we remember the Monday after January 15, perhaps, is to celebrate a man who chose to look at the hatred and lines around him, who had every right to be angry, and wage love instead. Who took the high road of peace instead of violence, hope instead of despair.

I want that, for all of us, more than anything.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ MLK Jr.

Susan Isaacs, by the way, explores this idea in her slightly sarcastic, always thoughtful way in today’s blog post What Would MLK Do? Yes and amen. Go read it please. :)