Few people today are unfamiliar with the Jamaican musician Bob Marley and his relaxed, peaceful style of reggae music. The lyrics from Three Little Birds
often serve as a reminder to relax, be mindful, and take things a little less seriously throughout our daily grind. However, Bob Marley went beyond merely singing about peace and love and made a conscious effort to live it out.
In a historic event that many Bob Marley fans are familiar with, Marley was shot in the arm two days prior to a free concert in Jamaica—a concert that was being put on to help alleviate violent political tensions in the country at that time. After being warned that removal of the bullet could permanently affect his ability to play guitar, Marley went on to headline the concert called Smile Jamaica and played his peaceful music in front of a crowd of 80,000. When asked why he still played that day, Marley famously responded by saying, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”
While the powerful work and careers of Bob Marley and Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be compared for many reasons, Marley lived out MLK’s famous quote in this instance. Though most of us can’t expect to experience circumstances like Marley’s, we can live our lives in the positive, peaceful manner that MLK encouraged and change our world in small, tangible ways. As the German author Herman Hesse once penned, “To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters
; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.”
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