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.
- 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!