- December 25th, 2014
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There are many reasons to love Morning Call columnist Bill White—not the least of which is that he is a genuinely nice guy. He writes with wit, humor and compassion about many subjects other reporters would ignore or simply gloss over. Case in point: In a December 4, 2014 column, White told the story of former Call sportswriter Andre Williams and his struggle to regain his life after a devastating stroke in 2010. My heart broke as I read about his long road from physical and financial collapse. As White wrote, “[p]eople like Andre Williams are not supposed to be homeless.” Indeed, they are not.
I, too, worked with Andre for many years and although I didn’t see him often, when I did he would always break into a big grin and bend down from his 6’2″ frame and give me a bear hug. Anyone who knows Andre knows that he is one of those “truly good souls” that we rarely see in these post-Frank Capra days. His story goes to show how each one of us is just one tiny step away from a disaster that can change a life forever.
“When everything is going well & you’re on top of the world you have many friends,” Andre wrote after his stroke. “When you’re down you discover you’re really alone.”
This is the season of giving, so before you run out to the big box store to buy one more mindless and potentially unappreciated gift for Great Uncle Gimme, consider giving something to those who desperately need your help. Next time you pass one of those red kettle bell ringers throw in some paper money. Next time you head east on Hamilton Street and see that big neon sign touting “God is Love” give thanks for the Allentown Rescue Mission and its work. Stop and open up your checkbook. Be generous, be compassionate, because you never know who you might be helping just as you never know when it might be you or someone you love who needs that help. Give without expecting anything in return. And trust me in this; you will receive back a hundredfold for your generosity. Love never fails.
Jesus, the real reason for this Christmas season, drove that point home to his disciples over and over. Love God and love each other, He told them. Take care of the widow and the orphan. Help the one who needs a hand up. Feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Love one another, and even your enemy, for love is the total fulfillment of the law.
Back when I was a Call photographer in the Easton Bureau a customer once told me that “Bill White is the best thing about the Morning Call.” I have to agree. Long may you live, my friend, and continue to view our confused and erratic world through the eyes of your heart.
And as our class-conscious, self-centered, smart phone-dependent society grows more and more fragmented, let’s all take time out to remember those gentle souls like Andre Williams, a true “Miracle Man” who walked through the valley of the shadow of death into a new life. Andre’s story is one of hope. When he needed help, New Bethany Ministries was there for him.
May God bless you, Andre, for being who you are—an inspiration, a poet and a lesson in giving for all of us.