Pushing Beyond Your Limits!

Ah (sigh)!  You’ve finally reached the pinnacle of your life…a decent paying job, an affordable home to live in, the ability to plan a family vacation year-after-year, and the choice to opt for eating at a restaurant instead of cooking at home!  Yet there’s something inside you that always seem to be out of reach.  It’s that thing (or things) you really want to do.

I recently read a fascinating journey of one of our civil rights leaders, the late Hosea Williams.  Raised by his grandparents in Jim Crow south, young Hosea joined the military and fought vigorously in World War II.  While in Europe, there were many ground battles between the U.S./British-led forces and the German army.  Hosea’s 13-member combat unit tried to engage in battle with the enemy and at the end of that campaign, twelve soldiers were killed in a foxhole leaving Mr. William barley alive.  With his chest and stomach practically opened by the shrapnel of an exploded bomb, he was rescued by U.S. medical soldiers and hurriedly driven off to a nearby medical station.  Unfortunately, another mortal fire killed the driver of the ambulance that he was being transported in.  He was again picked up, sent to an army hospital, operated on, sewn up, and sent back home as an honored disabled military veteran.

Years later, Mr. Williams would tell people that he knew God had a purpose for him because he was spared twice.  Yet at the time, he didn’t know his purpose in life.

After his tour in the war, he returned to the discriminatory practices of racial segregation. The military purchased a bus fare for Mr. Williams to return home.  Before the bus was able to reach its destination – his Georgia home town of Attapulgus, it made a brief stop in Americus, Georgia to allow passengers to rest for a brief moment.  Looking for an opportunity to get a drink of water, the recuperating Mr. Williams noticed that this particular bus stop didn’t have a rest area for colored people and so he struggled to get a drink of water from a designated white-only fountain.  Little did this ribbon decorated purple-heart recipient know, a police officer saw him drinking from the white-only fountain and quickly moved toward him.  He was then beaten by the officer for not adhering to the segregated laws of Georgia.

Immediately, Mr. Williams knew his purpose in life … to fight segregation and injustices to all disenfranchised people.

Hosea Williams:

  • pushed beyond the limit to live through the oppression of Black People during the years of Jim Crow.
  • pushed beyond the limit to survive the military campaign of World War II.
  • pushed beyond the limit to beat his 13-month hospitalization in a Europe army hospital.
  • pushed beyond the limit to get a drink of water at a segregated white-only fountain.
  • pushed beyond the limit to fight for desegregation and injustices for the remaining years of his life!

Something stirred inside of Mr. Williams to push beyond his perceived limits.  Had he chose not to push himself, he could’ve easily returned to his southern home, looked for a mediocre job, married his home-town sweetheart, start a family and embraced a quiet/low-profiled life.

This ‘thing’ inside of him was forced out to do and change his world.

After successfully contributing to the civil rights movement, he founded a non-profit organization in 1971 – Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless.  Today the Atlanta based organization, provides hot meals, clothing and other basic services for the needy on major holidays.  His committed care and love for disenfranchised people lives on through the organization, currently serving 50,000 families each year.

This week, business mogul Donald J. Trump recently tweeted this message: Passion Motivates, Passionate people don’t give up; their zeal eliminates fear.  Passion can also create business opportunities.

What about that ‘thing’ you have locked in the bowel of your soul?  Willing to carve it out and demonstrate what you want to do with it?  Think about Hosea Williams….

Let’s go people and do some good!


An Inconvenient Passion

In 1965, a Midwest housewife and mother of five decides to leave her family behind to fulfill a desire that spurned by witnessing a horrible event on the evening news.  Five hundred miles away in the south, another housewife and mother of four also decides to leave her family to fulfill a desire by watching the same tragic event on the evening news.

Two mothers with different outcomes: one loses her life and the other living on to create a legacy.  The two of them shared an inconvenient passion – and that passion was to dismantle the barrier for people to vote in our country.

Inconvenient Passion of Viola Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965)

In early spring of 1965, Viola was 39, raising five children and married to a teamsters union business agent in Detroit, Michigan.  After watching the film clips of Selma’s Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965), she couldn’t imagine the state troopers’ brutality of attacking young marchers!  She and the nation grew furious over the treatment of protesters who wanted to conduct a peaceful march in the South.  Feeling somewhat helpless to do something, Mrs. Liuzzo eventually decided to leave her comfortable home in Detroit, drive to the South and joined the movement.  Little did she know that her involvement could lead to harsh criticism, physical harm or death – especially brought on by the KKK and other extreme “hate” organizations in the South.  Her passion may have overridden anything at the time; yet it was an inconvenient decision to those close to her.  Tragically on March 25, 1965, her life ended by the hands of race-hatred KKK men on the lonely two-lane Highway 80 between Selma and Montgomery.

Inconvenient Passion of Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 31, 2006)

In early spring of 1965, Coretta was 38, raising four children and was married to a newly elected Nobel peace prize laureate living in Atlanta, Georgia.  Certainly going through the strife of having her home bombed in Montgomery, receiving all types of racial threats and hate mail for more than 10 years, Coretta decided to join her husband on the march from Selma to Montgomery.  She too decided to leave her comfortable home in Atlanta to support the movement.  Little did she know that her involvement could lead to harsh criticism, physical harm or death – especially brought on by the KKK or other extreme “hate” organizations in the South.  Her passion may have overridden anything at the time; yet it was an inconvenient decision to those close to her.  She went on to support her husband and the movement.  Unfortunately, her young husband’s life ended three years later by the hand of a lone assassin.

You can image the inconvenience of their passion which was not a welcome invitation for their families.  The idea of the children not having a nurturing mother around or the notion of both women with self-ambitions ignoring their duties at home were not common in those days.

Eventually, Mrs. Viola Liuzzo’s inconvenient passion, along with other martyrs connected to the Selma movement helped turn the tide of events by allowing all citizens the right to vote.  She became one of the unsung heroes in the civil right movement.

Eventually, Mrs. Coretta Scott Kings’ inconvenient passion, along with others in the movement helped turn the tide of events by expanding civil liberties for all in the years succeeding her husband’s death.  She became a worldwide leader in her own rights – pushing our country to honor a man who fought for equal justice.

Spiritual Leader Os Hillman wrote the following in his weekly article “Living for a Cause Greater Than Yourself” – God has called each of us to live for a cause greater than ourselves – a life that is dependent on His grace and power to achieve things we never thought possible through our lives.

Do you feel that you have an inconvenient passion? Are you too concerned about how it might be unfavorable to people around you or should you move toward fulfilling your passion that can benefit multitudes of people?  The opportunity awaits you…

Let’s go people and do some good!