Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hope in Tragedy

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Today, America appropriately honors and remembers the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Millions of Americans will use the day to remember and reflect upon his life and legacy including many who will take up Dr. King's call to serve others and participate in a Day of Service.

I admit, I did not have specific plans to commemorate Dr. King today, but then I came across a story of hope emerging from tragedy and I could not avoid being moved and sharing my thoughts.

Specifically, I reflect today of the amazing endurance of Dr. King's legacy. His message and inspiration could not be deterred despite his assassination in 1968 at age 39. Hate and violence could not quell his message of hope and peace that continues to profoundly move and change individuals over forty years later.

Likewise, death could not stop Andrew Benedict from saving and remarkably changing the lives of others after his family decided to donate his organs after Andrew's tragic death, at age 21, in a snowmobile accident outside of Kalkaska, MI in February, 2008.

Andrew's organs, bone, and tissue donations have directly saved and impacted the lives of over 40 recipients as well as the countless others moved by his gifts and those who received them.

I went to high school with Andrew in Lowell, MI. Every time I drive home to MI to visit my parents, I drive past his house and remember how his life was tragically cut short and say a short prayer for his sister and parents. I will now also be reminded to pray for those who carry Andrew's legacy around with them.

After reading Sue Thoms' column re-visiting the Benedict family almost three years later last night, I spent most of today reflecting on Dr. King's legacy which asks us "what are we doing for others?" in the context of Andrew who grew up in a family that taught him that "our goal in life is to make a difference."

In doing so, I am once again amazed how meaningful life is. Fear, hate, violence, nor death can halt virtuous efforts to serve and inspire just as the legacies of Andrew and Dr. King have transcended their lives cut tragically short.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article. Your comparisons and kind words mean alot to our family. I am Andrew's aunt.