When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the news lately, we’ve been hearing about people committing awful acts of terror, and this term seems to come up more often than not: “self-radicalized.”
It might be more accurate to call it “metastasized.” Something incompatible to life taking root at the cellular level.
I’ve noticed that this word isn’t applied to everyone equally.
We don’t call these two grandmas in a shoot-out at Wal-Mart “radicalized.”
In most cases, the term is used when speaking of Muslims involved in violent acts, but I think it could be applied to people of any race, gender or religion who feel disenfranchised.
That being said, I still believe that most of the world’s population is comprised of peaceful, law-abiding people. Of course, there are some exceptions, but there are still many reasons to be hopeful about life.
God’s grace is still the oxygen of the universe.
Here’s what buoys my spirits.
To know that there are people like this four-year-old who read a thousand books and was made Librarian for a Day at the Library of Congress is like a vitamin for the soul.
To know that this elderly lady in distress dialed a wrong number and it turned out to be a police detective who stayed on the line to help her is evidence of Providence at work.
To know that these stray dogs in Turkey were given shelter at a mall by kind-hearted locals during a snowstorm warmed my heart.
To know that young and old can connect, as this 82 year old man found out when a 4 year old said, “hi, old person, can I have a hug?” brought a tear to my eye.
What if we took back ownership of the word, “radicalized,” and used it in the spirit spoken of by Dr. King?
We might self-radicalize toward full-scale compassion. Mobilize in the direction of brazen kindness. Maybe if we open our hearts and reach out our arms, we’d find we could embrace the whole world.