As it is not new news by now, the death of Hollywood megastar, Chadwick Boseman sent shockwaves through the nation (in particular many African American communities) last week. A relatively young man (age 43) who appeared to be in peak condition and at the top of his profession, reminded all of us of the often-over-used axiom “tomorrow is not promised”. But (as I see it), there are several lessons that we can learn from Mr. Boseman’s life and (now) legacy!
1. Be careful about judging people on their NOW without knowing all the nuances that make up their life’s narrative!
For months many people had speculated about the source of his dramatic weight-loss when few really knew the actual cause. I cannot imagine trying to fight for my life against a terrible disease like cancer, while at the same time having to listen to people trying to kill my character with wild stories that were WAY OFF base!
2. Sometimes our strength is best seen through our silence.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard the popular expression before “Silence is golden!” But in Mr. Bozeman’s life that idiom takes on new meaning. In the last four years of his life (in particular), he persevered through numerous surgeries, endured immeasurable exhausting treatments, and suffered through tremendous pain; all while putting on tremendous cinematic performances (conquering multiple iconic roles), giving joy through his brilliance to millions, and displaying a quiet dignity and inner strength that few ever have. – I don’t know what influenced Mr. Boseman to suffer without ever complaining or mentioning it to the media (or many others) but in his choice not to explicate on his illness, it serves as a reminder to us that the best place to sort out our problems is not in the eye of the public (on social media) or in the ears of people, but in the presence of God!
3. Never allow pain to paralyze your purpose.
In his unforgettable speech addressing the graduating class of 2018 at Howard University HERE (again when he and only few others knew his time was short). He said, “Purpose is the essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill.”
Chadwick knew that his time alive wouldn’t be long, and I believe that drove him to exhaust every possibility of potential that was inside of him. He knew that he didn’t have days and seasons to waste, and he chose not to lose time lamenting his losses. Instead with a laser focus, he concentrated on being and doing everything that he was purposed to do.
4. You can leave your mark regardless of the length of time
Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of so many positive African American figures has undoubtedly left a tremendous impression on black youth everywhere! For how many kids has he planted the seed of possibility? That they can become heroes and not just pretend to be ones! Former President Barrack Obama said it best, “To be young gifted, and black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”
Let’s learn, let’s lift, and honor the light of Chadwick Boseman’s legacy by striving to continue to be all that God has created us for!
Pastor Eric Hatcher