Thoughts regarding someone I never knew but miss greatly.

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UPDATE (1/18/11): I just learned, by listening to WSBRadio, that Royal had the following quote taped to his desk at work. Perhaps Royal isn’t rolling his eyes at me with my comparison. “The Christian faith makes it possible for us to accept that which cannot be changed, to meet disappointment and sorrow with an inner poise, and to absorb the most intense pain without abandoning our sense of hope, for we know, as Paul testified, in life or death, in Spain or Rome, “that all things work together to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

You are warned, this post will have a religious spin to it. Rather than tune out and click away because I am going speak some religion, I hope you will continue reading and see where I take my writing today.

Quoting Luke 13: 6-9 from The New Oxford Annotated Bible college edition, “Then he told his parable:  ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and I still find none. Cut it down. Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

Today Americans are celebrating the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. a man whose dream was heard around the world. Our son is home from school today, as MLK Day is a holiday. When we reminded Joe that he was not going to school, he quickly let us know that he was staying home because it was MLK Day. I asked Joe if he knew who Martin Luther King Jr. was and Joe said, “Yes, he was a man that believed no one should be judged by the color of their skin or religious beliefs. He wanted to help blacks and white get along better.” Folks, Joe just turned 6 this past Friday. Say what you’d like, but I was impressed by Joe’s words. And, my husband and I quickly chimed in with more information about MLK and his accomplishments.

Martin Luther King was born on January 15th. Sadly, this past January 15th a radio producer and entertainer passed away. Royal Marshall died suddenly in his home on Saturday. He was 43, and he leaves behind his wife and their two girls under the age of five. Royal Marshall was the right-hand man for another radio personality, Neal Boortz. And, many of Neal Boortz listeners would agree the radio show is a great radio show – in part – because of Royal Marshall.

Having listened to Neal and Royal for over 10yrs, I feel as though I know them. However, nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know Neal, and I didn’t know Royal. Yet, every morning I invited them into my life through my radio, and because of the dialogue they shared, I felt I turned my radio off each day knowing a bit more about life. And though I didn’t know Royal, I am fairly confident that he would not want to be compared to Martin Luther King Jr, perhaps because he would think such an association was mainly due to the color of their skin. Though honestly, the facial hair, the lack of hair on the head and their round faces – there are some undeniable similarities. Still, I can’t ‘not’ notice that Royal died on MLK’s birthday. And, I can’t ‘not’ notice the love and dedication Royal had for his family and friends, as well as Foreverfamily, an organization for which he was the National Advisory Board Chairman.

Taken directly off the Foreverfamily website, “Foreverfamily works to ensure that, no matter what the circumstances, all children have the opportunity to be surrounded by the love of family. We focus our efforts on some of the most marginalized children in our society—those with an incarcerated parent or parents—and support them as they, their parents, caregivers and extended families work to remain a family.”

Now, going back to my previously quoted Bible verse, the parable about the fig tree is open ended. Some Bible readers may feel the parable has a ‘the end is near, repent or die’ kind of message. However, I am more optimistic. I believe the parable is about how, with proper attention, care and nurturing, one can help others achieve a fruitful life, thereby making one’s own life a more fruitful life. Though Royal may have rolled his eyes with my comparison, both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Royal reached out to those in need, regardless of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs. And, by looking out and caring for others, both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Royal Marshall led a purposeful and fruitful life.

God bless Royal. God bless Royal’s wife and two daughters. May the soil of Royal’s family, which he fertilized and cared for so dutifully, continue to be enriched with the love and support of their family and friends. May Royal’s girls grow strong and firm within the roots their father left behind. May we all work together to become more fruitful in our own lives.

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