It was on this very topic, in April 1967, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of his most impactful speeches. Yes, in those remarks, he urged African-Americans to say, “I’m black and beautiful.” But he also discusses a complete life as one containing three complementary dimensions: length, breadth and height.
Length is described as “the inward concern for one’s own welfare … that causes one to push forward, to achieve his own goals and ambitions.” Breadth? That is “outward concern for the welfare of others.” Height is the part “of life [representing] the upward reach for God.”
With all of the economic and social pressures of the modern-day world, it is easy to wonder whether we have lost sight of this roadmap to a complete life. In his speech, Dr. King alludes to how easily freedoms can be taken for granted. This occurs as people assimilate into a system that stifles mindful living — and ultimately imprisons the individual mind. Here’s how to combat these outcomes: by living life as a calling to pursue excellence in all that we are.
Ultimately, the gift beyond gifts lies in the embrace we offer to others. That blessing, as Dr. King suggests, has a supernatural source.
Said King: “One day you ought to rise up and say, ‘I know him because he’s a lily of the valley. He’s a bright and morning star. He’s a rose of Sharon. He’s a battle-axe in the time of Babylon.’ And then somewhere you ought to just reach out and say, ‘He’s my everything. He’s my mother and my father. He’s my sister and my brother,” He’s a friend to the friendless.’ This is the God of the universe. And if you believe in him and worship him, something will happen in your life. You will smile when others around you are crying. This is the power of God.”