LETTER: Development putting a strain on infrastructure – Saanich News


On April 3, 1963, King’s nonviolent tactics were put to their most severe test in Birmingham during a mass protest for fair hiring practices and desegregation of department store facilities. On Good Friday, April 12th, King and his friend and mentor, Ralph Abernathy, led the march, singing freedom songs. Nearing the downtown area, they were arrested. They were kept in jail until April 20th.

White Birmingham ministers wrote, calling for an end to demonstrations. They were calling King and his followers extremists, law breakers, believers in anarchy. On April 16th, King wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail to refute his critics. The letter was a long one.

He wrote,

“Never before have I written so long a letter…I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts, and pray long prayers?”[1]


What would you do if you were arrested and jailed like King was? Or like Nelson Mandela (the next person we’ll be looking at)? Or like Paul the Apostle in the Bible? What would you do with your time? You might, I suppose, do crossword or sudoku puzzles. Or you might read a book or magazine if there was a good one available. You might sleep a lot as a result of the boredom.

Or…like each of the individuals above, you might find it a good time to write—to journal or write letters—maybe even poetry. Time in jail, or any place where you’re stuck and where you’d rather not be, does give you time to think. Time to get a new perspective on your life without everyday distractions. Time in hospital would do the same thing.

However, I’m sure you’d rather go on a holiday to get a fresh outlook. Yes, there would be more distractions, but by applying yourself and staying focused, you might find some quiet thinking time here too. You might end up doing something you had never thought you would. Could this be how it worked for King, Mandela, and Paul as well when they were incarcerated?

Try taking a holiday from your everyday routine.

Spend some time in a forest, by the ocean, or in a quiet park. Get in touch with the plans God might have for you. Who knows what could happen in these quiet private places?

[1] Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. – Page 203

This has been Part 55 of the series A Life Worth Living. Read Part 56 – Freedom Songs.