Today is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and his dreams, and I find myself wanting to have dreams of my own.

Dr. King continues to inspire my life which may seem odd for a white boy to say in the heart of Dixie. But it’s true. As a Baptist preacher’s kid in Alabama, I heard Dr. King speak a familiar language of faith, justice, and hope for all God’s people.

As inspired as I was, I want to confess that I have often wanted to make a difference in the world like Dr. King, but when I compared my efforts to his accomplishments, I became discouraged, disillusioned, and disheartened.  Just the opposite of his intention. But I ask myself, “What could I do in comparison with his life?”

I know there is only one Martin Luther King, Jr. and I am not him.  I am Malcolm Lewis Marler and that is enough.  It is all I am.

When I compare my gifts with anyone (usually to someone who does things better than I), my effectiveness is diminished. Do you know what I mean?

So today, in honor of Dr. King, I will dream my own dream and see what gifts I have to offer my community in my own unique way. 

Today, I am choosing to STOP comparing my gifts or my life to others. I will choose to use the gifts I have been given, and just be Malcolm Lewis Marler.

How about you?

Know this . . . Who you are and what you have to offer is ENOUGH, and is important to your community, state, country, and world.

So… let me start with one dream I have for the next few years.

I dream of a day when the barriers for persons getting medical care for HIV in Alabama will come tumbling down.  

In 2009, we know that if a person can see a HIV specialist 2-4 times a year, and then take the needed medicines correctly, he or she can live a full life. But if the individual cannot get to the doctor, no medicine can be prescribed. So let’s take one step at a time. Get them to the doctor.

Together, we will find ways to break down the barriers that make it difficult for people to come to the doctor for HIV care.  Transportation, depression, stigma, substance abuse, and other mental health issues will be overcome.

This dream is enough for one day.

So today on Dr. King’s 80th birthday, which is 15 years to the day when I accepted my job to be the Chaplain at The 1917 Clinic at UAB, I dream of a new day when barriers will dissolve, and neighbors and family and churches and friends will lead the way for the least of these.

Thank you Dr. King, happy birthday, and thanks for inspiring me to have my own dreams.  It’s time to get to work.