The Eartha White story appeared in Reader’s Digest nearly 40 years ago. She was four-and-a-half feet tall and the daughter of a former slave. She believed that “service is the price we pay for the space we occupy on this planet.” She lived by the principle that each of us should do all the good we can in all the ways we can in all the places we can for all the people we can while we can.
Miss Eartha gave up a promising opera career to join her mother in trying to make things easier for the people who came to her mother’s free soup kitchen. She taught school for sixteen years, then used her small savings to open a department store that catered primarily to blacks. She eventually started a steam laundry, an employment agency, a real estate company and an insurance business. She amassed an estate worth well over a million dollars, only to commit most of it to projects that made her a one-woman welfare department.
Her life was about helping people. She reached down and lifted those who needed a hand up instead of a handout. She maintained an old folks boarding home for indigents and a mercy hospital for those who had become completely helpless. At another house she took in unwed mothers and in another she nursed alcoholics back to sobriety. She also donated buildings for two child care centers and turned a vacant movie house into a recreation center for slum children. Her deep faith led her to quote John 15:7 which says, “If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.”
She worked hard, lived expectantly and died fulfilled. If each one of us did a fraction of what she did, our contribution to society would be significant. The sheer joy of giving and doing for others is hard to top. Take action and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!