Not beaten down…

Frederick was a slave for life. His back was proof positive. He was whipped on more occasions than he could count. His kairos whipping, however, came at age sixteen. He had been sent to Master Covey’s house as punishment. Master Covey, you see, was a professional “slave breaker.” Slave owners in an around the beautiful farms of Maryland would send their obstinate slaves to Covey. His job was to break their spirit. He was a master of his craft. Prior to Frederick’s arrival he had beaten, I mean broken, ’em all.

He would whip Frederick too. His whippings, however, would not beat him. Frederick’s fighting spirit saved him. I imagine it was a warm Maryland morining, still dark of course, and Frederick was busy doing his job. He was rubbing, currying, and feeding the horses. Covey was stalking him in the dark and roped him like I suppose one ropes a calf around the legs. In Frederick’s words, here’s what happened next…

“Mr. Covey seemed now to think he had, and could do what he pleased; but at this moment from whence came the spirit I don’t know, I resolved to fight; and, suiting my action to the resolution, I seized Covey hard by the throat; and as I did so, I rose. He held onto me, and I to him. My resistance was so entirely unexpected, that Covey seemed taken all aback. He trembled like a leaf. Mr. Covey soon called out to Hughes for help. Hughes came, and, while Covey held me, attempted to tie my right hand. While he was in the act of doing so, I watched my chance, and gave him a heavy kick close under the ribs. This kick fairly sickened Hughes, so that he left me in the handle of Mr. Covey. This kick had the effect of not only weakening Hughes, but Covey also. When he saw Hughes bending over with pain, his courage quailed. He asked me if I meant to persist in my resistance. I told him I did, come what might; that he had used me like a brute for six months, and that I was determined to be used no longer…

This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free. My long crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.”

Frederick would not be whipped by Mr. Covey again. The tension had been passed from him to it’s rightful owner, Mr. Covey. Mr. Covey would not even lay a hand on him and wouldn’t tell anyone of Frederick’s victory for fear of the damage to his reputation. Frederick would not remain a slave in form for long. FACT. He ran for it. Frederick escaped his bondage and would become a great writer and immense influencer on the future of these United States. You see, young Frederick was none other than Frederick Douglass, the former slave that kept calling and calling and calling on President Lincoln. Frederick Douglass would not STOP his fight for freedom simply when he had won his own. Frederick’s fight would be a catalyst for one of the greatest pieces ever written; The Emancipation Proclamation.

Frederick was whipped, not beaten. Frederick fought for his freedom and his spirit inspired a President to do the same. Frederick understood freedom is never free. We are all learning that the obstacle is the way. Do not waste a perfectly good crisis, friend, even if it’s a global pandemic called corona. Make this kairos moment a wake up call, not another beat down. You too have to learn how to stand in some hard moments of truth. Helps to have a historical perspective and not make our current situation into more than it is. Slow down and sit with this for awhile. Keep fighting. You may be whipped. Do not accept defeat. You are not beaten down.

What Coronaobstacle, friend, are you gonna turn into your way? Good…

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