Today’s post is written by our Brave Writer, Karen Asbra
Ordinary – of no special quality or interest
Extraordinary – beyond what is usual, exceptional in character
My opinion is that the extraordinary people in our lives, in our communities, in our history were only extraordinary due to a moment, a belief, or a passion they chose to stand for. Many times these moments are not planned but happen amongst every day life. Yet, a choice is made in that moment that changes the course of history. Over the next four weeks, the teacher in me is going to highlight 4 ordinary women in history that became extraordinary when opportunity presented itself. I am personally thankful they did. My world is not only different and better because of them but I am inspired by them and their bravery.
The first one I want to highlight is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks has been given the title “The Mother of Civil Rights.” But, she didn’t start out that way. Rosa was born February 4, 1913. Her father was a carpenter her mother a school teacher. She grew up in a volatile and racist era. As a child she remembers existing from day to day many nights hearing the Klan outside of their house and never knowing if they would burn her house down or not.
After she married Rosa and her husband worked for the NAACP with little success for justice or equality. Even so, they continued because they wanted the powers to be to know that they (the African American Community) no longer wanted to be treated as second class citizens.
So here she was on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa was riding the bus. Where she was going I do not know but what I do know was it was on this day and on this bus when her moment came. She was seated in the black section with others as she was forced to by the laws of that day. At the second or third stop more people got on and a white man was left standing. The bus driver refused to move the bus until all those in Rosa’s row stood so that the white man could sit in one of the seats. Most of them hesitated but finally moved, all except for Rosa. She refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. Enough was enough. She wasn’t going to take it anymore. She knew that she could be arrested, which she was, but she didn’t care. Her people had suffered enough and she wasn’t going to take it anymore no matter the cost.
This one single act of defiance started a movement that would eventually bring freedom and equality. Rosa had no idea what a ripple effect this would have nor did she ever imagine such honor would be put on her. Her name will live on in history. Her one regret, that it took so long to make the protest.
I don’t think Rosa had any idea that morning that a chance to make a difference would come. She wasn’t ignorant to the plight of her people and therefore was ready when the moment came. She wasn’t anyone special she was just an ordinary person, like you and like me, until she made a decision to say enough is enough. We can learn a lot about being brave from Rosa.
First, being brave isn’t something you prepare for. It most often happens in the moment. Another great example would be 911. No one knew that morning what would transpire yet out of such tragedy came many heroes.
Second, with Rosa and throughout history, being brave usually involves others. It is a self-less act. Our troops risk their lives for our freedom. A firefighter runs into a burning building to rescue those trapped. We see stranger rescue stranger when acts of nature come and destroy communities. There are people like Rosa who stand up for current justice issues like the sex trade industry or domestic violence.
You may not see yourself as brave or heroic but we each, at one time or another, will have a moment, no matter how big or small, to stand up for the injustices that permeate our hearts. Your one moment of bravery can encourage others to stand with you and make a difference as it did for Rosa.
I will leave you with a quote I found on goodreads.com from Billy Graham:
“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
You maybe that brave man/woman that makes that difference!
For more on Rosa Parks visit www.achievement.org
Karen Asbra is happily married to Lance Asbra and has 3 amazing children. She is a writer, song writer, and worship leader and enjoys bringing people into the presence and intimacy of God. You can visit Karen at her blog http://lanceandkarenasbra.com