Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.
Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Thanks so much for joining us today. I want to talk to you about the future.
Now, this podcast episode is being recorded during the month of February, also known as Black History Month here in the United States. Many of us have the awesome privilege to speak during February about the accomplishments and the contributions that make Black history in the United States significant and important.
But I want to do something different today. Recently, my wife encouraged me to not be afraid to speak from the heart, so rather than talk about Black history today, I want to talk about America's future. Borrowing from the vivid imagery of language used by civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., allow me a moment to share with you my hope for the future. [01:16.7]
Friends, I want to remind you that hope always resides in the midst of despair. You may not always see it, you may not always feel it, but it's there. Here's a classic example of what I'm talking about. It occurred back in 1963. Many issues divided America back then, producing a similar disunity that we see today.
There was an unpopular war in Vietnam. A youth rebellion challenged established norms. Racial tension gripped the nation. President John Kennedy wanted very little to do with a movement whose voices began softly in Montgomery, Ala. That's what happened when a woman refused to give up her seat on a bus. Rosa Parks was that woman and she was arrested December 1, 1955. [02:07.0]
Eight years later by 1963, that movement had gained significant momentum, not only among Blacks, but browns and whites, and Jews and Gentiles, and Protestants and Catholics and Muslims. President Kennedy called the civil rights issue, quote, “a political football,” end quote, and passed it off to his brother, Attorney General, Robert Kennedy.
Against this backdrop, on August 28, 1963, over 200,000 people gathered at the nation’s capital, not to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., but in the words of author and educator, Simon Sinek, “they showed up for themselves.” Remember it was 1963, no Twitter, no Facebook, no TikTok, no Instagram. No invitations were sent out. There was no website to check. [03:03.3]
In fact, Martin King wasn't even the only speaker on the program that day. He was one of seven, but Simon Sinek’s assessment is spot on. Sinek said King didn't go around telling people what to change. He told people what he believed. Sinek continued, quote, “The people didn't show up in 1963 for Martin Luther King, Jr. They showed up for themselves. It's what they believed about America,” end quote.
You know what I believe about America today, friends? That we're still a great nation with than unbridled spirit and an unlimited potential, whose citizens want something to believe in, something that is good, something that is moral, something that is just, something that is right.
The future I see is not one that separates us with discords of division. The future I see is not one where people are harassed and hunted, and shot and seared in the flames of withering injustice. The future I see is not a country sweltering with the heat of hatred and oppression. [04:16.7]
I'm currently working on my newest book, titled, The Power of Hope. I quote a former homicide investigator who worked for a police department in the Dallas area up until his retirement. Several months ago, the investigator was on television. He was describing two homicide cases, both occurring in the same month, both taking place in the same North Dallas suburb. In both cases, the alleged suspects were the children in the family, charged with killing their parents and siblings.
What the investigators said on television really got my attention, so I sought him out. I interviewed him by phone and I asked his permission to quote him in my book. Commenting on both cases, the investigators said, quote, “Each murder has its own set of circumstances, but I can tell you, some of the similarities are helplessness and hopelessness,” end quote. [05:15.6]
Helplessness and hopelessness. For many Americans, for a variety of reasons, this phrase describes a view of the world in general and a view of America in particular. But I want to tell you all something. Despite the troubles of this present day, I still have hope.
It is my solemn belief that we don't need more intelligent people today. We don't need more talented people today. We don't even need more gifted people today. I believe we need more hopeful people today, people who dare to look to the future and inspire us, people who will lift us up with words of encouragement and with acts of kindness. [06:03.5]
We need more hopeful people who, just like Dr. King, have a vision for what America can be. You see, with hope comes faith and the unshakable expectation that somehow, despite our differences, we'll learn to live together in peace and unity.
Friends, the future I see is a vision of tomorrow framed by the lens of hope. The future I see is a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. The future I see is a desert of discrimination, converted to an Oasis of freedom and justice. The future I see is a day where we can hew out of the mountain of despair, a nugget of hope. The future I see is one that transforms the jangling discords of America into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. [07:06.3]
The future I see is one where we'll see King's vision of a beloved community, where all people are treated with dignity and respect. King said on one occasion, we'll either learn to get along together as brothers and sisters or we'll perish together as fools. King said on another occasion, “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.”
Friends, the future I see is that one day my four sons and their children, my grandchildren, will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. This is the future I must see. This is the future that I must believe in. This is the hope that I must have. If not, my life's work has been for nothing. [08:12.2]
The future that I see is a day where every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain made low, the rough places plain, the crooked places made straight, and the glory of the Lord revealed and all flesh, and all flesh and all flesh, shall see it together.
Friends, after sharing that wonderful passage of scripture from the book of Isaiah, Martin Luther King, Jr., made this statement, quote, “This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with,” end quote. He said, “This is our hope.” [08:52.3]
I have this steadfast belief that most people want to do good, that most of us want to aspire to do that which is right for right, so why not commit our lives to inspiring others to make this world a better place for all her citizens? Simon Sinek said, “There are leaders and then there are those who lead. Leaders hold positions of power and authority, but those who lead inspire us … We follow them not because we have to,” we follow them “because we want to.”
I'm talking about the hope of a better day, friends. I'm talking about the hope of America and I believe its future is bright. Dr. King concluded his speech in 1963 by inspiring listeners to be filled with hope and to act on that hope.
Helen Keller once said, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” One could add another line to her brilliant definition that hope hears. Hope hears the unimaginable sound of hatred being drowned by a joyous melody of love. [10:12.5]
Friends, I hear that sound of hope today. It sounds like freedom bells ringing all throughout the land, sounds like the hope of a better day, the hope of a more unified America, the hope of a brighter future.
As I close today, let me encourage you. Be inspired by the vision of one man who, though surrounded in a sea of despair, remained afloat because he was filled with hope. Dr. King expressed that hope in this manner. [10:45.4]
“And so let freedom ring.
From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado to the curvaceous slopes of California. Let freedom ring. [11:10.1]
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
Holocaust survivor, Eddie Jaku, said, “Where there is life, there is hope. If there is no more hope, you're finished.” America, we are not finished. There's still work to do. You see, hope always resides in the midst of despair. What a great opportunity this present generation has.
When I look to the future through the lens of hope, I see endless possibilities. My encouragement to you, to myself, my encouragement to all of us today is to inspire people to see what they don't see. Remember, true leaders inspire. [11:10.1]
So, why not inspire people to see America at peace with itself, to see America as that beacon light on a hill, to see America as a place where citizens offer one another dignity and respect, to see America where citizens listen to opposing views and act with civility? Friends, this is the future I see, and I contend this day, the future is bright.
That's going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking the most important question I can ask, how ya livin’? [12:53.0]
Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.
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