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Welcome to our new Sunday Morning Service by Dr. Dean A. Banks, D.D. Every week Dr. Dean will be engaging subjects that are pertinent to your growth and expansion into recognition of; respect to; and communication with your inner spirit. Please feel free to comment or suggest topics for review. May the Divine always bless you and your families! ~Dean A. Banks, D.D.




Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Dogged determination. What does that mean? In most cases it is an unwavering focus on a desired outcome. It doesn’t mean that you sometimes don’t have any doubts and feel like throwing in the towel; it means that when you do you still “press on” toward your goal. It means that you still hear the negative chatter in your head but you take a stance and reject the perceived outcomes it reveals. Bias begins within each one of us. It is something that we are taught and sometimes accept as true without even knowing why, or worse, caring why. The story of Vivien Thomas comes to mind. I saw an HBO film about him in 2004 and shared it my fiancé last Saturday. Amidst the feelings of anger and a hope for fairness and recognition, we ended up with tears in our eyes by the end of the movie.

Vivien Thomas was a person who was a skilled craftsman. He was recognized as such but was let go at his job. He took on a job at a medical research facility in Nashville, TN tending the dogs that were used in the experiments. He applied his skills as a carpenter to help the doctor with surgeries on the dogs. His hands were steady and his mind was focused. The doctor recognized his skill as a perfectionist. This is where Vivien learned how to feel his way through the body during surgery. He would often close his eyes so he could feel better. Later on, this technique would astound other surgeons.

After Vivien lost his life savings in the bank crash in 1930, he paralleled his own career along with Doctor Blalock’s career. He accompanied Dr. Blalock to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He was classified as a “Lab Technician” but was only paid the same rate as the janitors. His anger brewed as he saw his research and discoveries being recognized as the work of Dr. Blalock. He channeled his anger inward and used it to become more determined to create the tools that would be needed to help in the surgeries of blue babies. At one point, Vivien left Dr. Blalock because he accepted full credit for the discoveries, acknowledging the “white” doctors without giving any credit to Vivien. Vivien then hawked antacids for a while until he realized that it was more important for him to complete the work he started with Dr. Blalock than to succumb to his desire for recognition and equal pay. He made the goal of helping others more important than his goals.

Vivien chose to “press on”, even though the prejudice against him seemed insurmountable. During the first surgery on a blue baby, Dr. Blalock stopped the surgery and sent for Vivien to help guide him through the procedure. Another doctor told Vivien to “attend to his duties” and Dr. Blalock told the other doctor that he was “attending to his duties.” The pompous, arrogant and prejudicial attitude of others didn’t stop Vivien from performing his duties. He assisted and trained Dr. Blalock and other surgeons and he never attended medical school. He had talent, genius and educated himself. All of that wasn’t enough to elevate his social status. Vivien was eventually recognized for his work after Dr. Blalock died. He was given an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins and his likeness now hangs in the entrance hall next to Dr. Blalock’s. His dogged determination is why. I suggest your rent the movie “Something the Lord Made.” It’s very inspirational.

Vivien faced prejudice, rejection and the negative attitudes of those less talented than him and channeled his emotions toward the ultimate goal of saving lives. He was determined to be the best he could be amidst his rise from a carpenter in the old south to a surgeon that pioneered a procedure that saved the lives of many children. That is dogged determination. It is the spirit of God within each one of us that knows the gifts and blessings that God has given us and refuses to let others tell us what we can or cannot do with our lives. Listen to that spirit. It is your guide to the life of your dreams.


Excerpted from the book "Spiritual Growth: Articles Of Expectation." Please click here to order the book:

©2016 Dean A. Banks, D.D. All Rights Reserved.


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