Last night I was feeling inadequate, unable to work on the book I’ve been writing. Instead, I found myself pacing back and forth in my room as though I were lost. I recognized after an hour or two that I was feeling lethargic, unable even to complete a thought, let alone to write an entire sentence. What’s happening to me, I wondered as I opened a letter I’d received in the mail and then tossed it aside without even a glance.
Dissatisfied with everything, I decided to get into bed and just go to sleep. But before I did, I said a little prayer. “Listen, God,” I prayed. “I don’t know if you’re there. The little bit of evidence I have would never hold up in a court of law down here. But I’m kind of counting on you anyway. If you are there could you send me a sign? Just a little one. It doesn’t have to be a bolt of lightning. You don’t have to move a mountain. Just send me a sign no matter how small.”
In the morning I got up and did what I’ve been doing every morning since summer began. I went for a walk. On my way to the track I turned on my car radio, which I always keep tuned to NPR, and I heard a voice, the voice of a ghost from the past – the very distinct and mighty voice of Martin Luther King Jr, and he was saying these words “You must have a blueprint…(you must have) a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth, and your own somebodiness…. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star…Be the best of whatever you are.”
I listened to Dr. King and then I went home and sat in front of my computer and started to write. Thank you God I said when I was finished. And Thank you Martin, I added. Oh, and Martin, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that the voice of God sounds a lot like yours.