By Dr. Lawrence Wood
We could tell that Spring was upon us when, seated on our stoop, my best friend and I watched him shuffle passed us. His shoes were so big or so small – we couldn’t tell – that he walked on the backs which gave way and folded down to expose his filthy heels. The dirt on his body and face was blackened and caked like too much make-up. His hair was unruly and matted and his clothes were equally soiled. We called him John-the-Bum.
He never said a word. He never retaliated, if we made a comment or called after him with some scornful or ridiculous question. In fact, I never heard his voice, but the memory of this insignificant man created in me a desire to help. The desire created the vision and the vision created a passion.
As I matured and I understood the meaning of the suffering of John-the-Bum and when I applied my mind to identify a problem, I began to understand the need for a solution. I now see the homeless as equal in stature and as human beings, and that I, even I, could be part of a solution. That simple change will influence the world. It will cause one to ask questions that, inevitably, leads to understanding, which, in its turn, begets compassion. And compassion and mission and desire and determination turns into a passion.
My desire to help has inspired the novel, Among Pigeons. It has directed my wife, Vanessa, and I to start Fan of the Feather, Inc.-a non-profit organization to house homeless veterans.
I am compelled by the Bible to remind the rich, “to do good works… ready to give, willing to share…”
Here’s the lesson for you, whatever your passion:
Without the passion one cannot withstand the challenges that come with any business operation. It is the passion that overcomes the struggles. It is passion that declares, “I believe!”, when the world insists that you give up. What is your passion?
My name is Lawrence Wood and I am John’s voice.