"(I) never lost a single passenger." - Harriet Tubman
We all have personal heroes and heroines in our lives - people outside our circle of family, friends or acquaintances. People we've never met, but somehow their life speaks to us on some level. I have quite a few, myself. My biggest "hero" is Harriet Tubman. With all due (and there is plenty due) respect to my other personal non-Biblical (too many Biblical inspirations to mention!) heroes: Mr. Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Mr. Reagan, Helen Keller, and Martin Luther - Lady Tubman has always come first. I hope that the life of this special lady, a "friend" of mine since I was 7, inspires you.
"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman suffered more abuse and endured more humiliation and heartache than a cat should ever have to - let alone a human being. While only a teenager, she stood in front of another slave to protect him from an angry overseer. The overseer, being the fine man he was, threw a 2 pound weight at the tiny teenaged girl, striking her in the head. It was an injury that affected her all of her life, but more importantly it was an act of heroism that went on to define her life.
With brains and bravery (What a combination!), Harriet managed to escape and find freedom and work up north. Now this is where this lady separates herself from the rest of us, she didn't just settle in and forget where she came from. She returned to the south and helped more slaves to freedom! She risked her life to save the lives of others. She didn't just make one such trip, either - she made 19 until her health wouldn't permit her to go any more. 19 times she risked what would have been a TERRIBLE death - I can't even imagine what they would have done to her had she been caught.
She was prepared for her charges who's bravery didn't match her own, too. She packed a gun, so if any (along the way) started to panic and put them ALL at risk - she'd pull out the gun and tell them, "You'll be free or die." She would later tell Frederick Douglass about her "Underground Railroad" trips, and how she "never lost a single passenger." Over 300 human lives were freed and saved because of this remarkably brave and compassionate woman.
She even served the Union during the Civil War as a cook, nurse, and even a spy! Now we know why the right side won.
I think there are some things we can take away from the life of the female "Moses".
First of all, we can endure a heck of a lot more than we think we can! Not only endure, but use our battles the same way our muscles use weights. We can strengthen ourselves by the burdens we carry.
Second of all, a strong case can be made for a life being a waste that hasn't touched other lives. If we serve ourselves only, what real purpose do we serve?
Third, there'll always be others throwing things at us. Hopefully not 2 pound weights, but potentially painful nonetheless. We can either get out of the way or get back up after contact. Staying down isn't even an option.
Last of all, there was a moment when Lady Moses decided that she'd risk her own life for others. (Personally I think she knew it before she left the first time. She just wanted to use herself as a target before endangering anyone else.) She made up her mind, then ACTED. A mind with a purpose is just as effective as a duck with lips if it doesn't do something.
Harriet Tubman didn't sit around feeling sorry for the hell she'd been through. She was too busy freeing others from their own hell!
A new article: "Here's to Your (Brain's) Health" has been added to The Mental Fitness Center.