Thursday, April 26, 2012

Arthur Ashe, Soul of Grace

Arthur Ashe is one of my heroes. His autobiography Days of Grace (written with Arnold Rampersad) is one of the most stunning books I have ever had the privilege to read. There was one passage in particular that inspired me:

"I wish more of us would understand that our increasing isolation, no matter how much it seems to express pride and self-affirmation, is not the answer to our problems. Rather, the answer is a revival of our ancient commitment to God, who rules over all the peoples of the world and exalts no one over any other, and to the moral and spiritual values for which we were once legendary in America. We must reach out our hand in friendship and dignity both to those who would befriend us and those who would be our enemy. We must believe in the power of education. We must respect just laws. We must love ourselves, our old and our young, our women as well as our men.

"I see nothing inconsistent between being proud of oneself and one's ancestors and, at the same time, seeing oneself as first and foremost a member of the commonwealth of humanity, the commonwealth of all races and creeds. My potential is more than can be expressed within the bounds of my race or ethnic identity. My humanity, in common with all of God's children, gives the greatest flight to the full range of my possibilities. If I had one last wish, I would ask that all Americans could see themselves that way, past the barbed-wire fences of race and color. We are the weaker for these divisions, and the stronger when we transcend them."

Arthur Ashe, one of tennis' greatest players, went about doing good quietly, with dignity and hope. And this dear soul of grace died of AIDS at age 49 from a blood transfusion. Life is not fair sometimes.

Thank You, Father, for Arthur Ashe and for his reminder that we don't need to trumpet our faith and works. Like Jesus Himself, we need only go about doing good!

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