In The Name of Love

Martin-Luther-King-JrMartin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." In keeping with the tradition of other peacemakers, Reverend King tried to get people to come together and see their similarities as human beings, while appreciating we are all different and bring different perspectives to life.

Hate is not a new thing.  Hate has been around forever.  And society has not just suddenly become hateful, or even more hateful, it just has a new way of showing itself when the opportunity arises.  Racism isn't limited to black and white, and religious intolerance isn't solely the tension between Christians, Jews or Muslims. Hate even exhibits itself in hate for one's self.

Hate is often said to be the product of fear, but I think on a more subtle level, it is more the product of misunderstanding. We seem to have no problem as a people hating a group when we can make them a scapegoat for our own problems, as it distracts the focus from the real problem: that we have failed to appreciate the entire situation and that we may have placed our self-interest higher than in our neighbor.  Selfishness is but one manifestation of hate, and while that may seem strongly worded, but think about it.  When we put ego above the needs of others, we are being selfish.

Mary Kay Ash, entrepreneur, visionary, and founder of the Mary Kay Cosmetics empire, once said that one reason for her success was that whenever she met someone, she tried to make that person feel like "the most important person in the world."  She used The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" as the founding principle of her company.  When you place others above self, you will often be surprised at what doors open to you.

Emergency service is the shining example of how people should "do unto others". In often a person's greatest hour of need, we give aid.  When they are overwhelmed, we provide comfort and stability.  And yes, while taking a drunk to the hospital at zero-dark-thirty is not what any of us would prefer to do, the act of kindness may not be fully appreciated by the drunk, but I would imagine it is seen as another star in your crown when we reach that final judgement, if you so believe.

Leo Babauta, author of, pointed out that while there are interesting philosophical challenges to The Golden Rule, the truth is, if you live by it, you will make yourself a better person, you will make those around you happier, and you will make your community a better place to live. Being helpful, courteous, and empathetic begets those same qualities in others. If you want to be treated respectfully, it helps to treat others with respect first.

Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to get others to consider those precepts in what he said and wrote, in the interest of making our world a place where people came first. "So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love" is how it was said in The Bible. Love puts others before self, and we know this to be the highest calling, and we know it to be the source of our mission.  This is a profession which deserves to be treasured, and we need to treat our calling in emergency service with dignity and respect.

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