|Sardie with my daughter Beth Brandt|
Success stories are everywhere, articles, documentaries and books flooding the internet. But how do you succeed when everything’s against you?
Ten months ago my dear friend of 40+ years passed away. Sardie Cashwell Jones was 101 years of age, and she was impacting this world and making a difference until the very end.
But how could she? Today’s headlines are filled with crowds rioting, voices screaming, “We need our rights.” “Give us a chance.” Give, give give…”
However, there was something very different about Sardie Jones, she had learned a secret and she learned it long ago, while she was being mistreated—very mistreated—and at a time when she really didn’t have a chance in life. Everything seemed against her.
What was so unusual about her? She was an African American born in the early 1900’s when it was difficult, dangerous and even deadly if your skin was chocolate brown like hers.
- · Imagine applying for a job and being told, “You’re too black.”
- · Imagine wanting to shop, but instead being forced to go to the back door.
- · Imagine sitting in a restaurant, and others were served but not her—she was colored.
- · Imagine not allowed on the sidewalk, but forced to walk in a muddy street wearing church clothes.
- · Imagine riding a train, not in seats like others, but forced to sit in the baggage car.
Yes, Sardie’s life was filled with the un-imaginables, but she didn’t focus on those negatives. She had risen far above the abuse and was a winner, loving and encouraging others to find a life of joy and purpose she had found.
When she turned 100, we interviewed Sardie for the last time, and she was just as spunky as ever. “God helped me forgive and love others and He'll help anybody. His love erases the color barriers. Parents need to teach young people, that every life matters.”
Through a one hundred and one year journey, Sardie Cashwell Jones, walked through racist fires to freedom. If anybody understood cruelty, forgiveness, and the answers to racial problems dividing our nation, Sardie understood big time!
This little known American Hero often said, “We’re all God's children. Racism and hatred are man's way, but love is God's way." And if anybody understood the power of love, she did. Sardie believed God’s love was the answer to everything.