Meet Bishop Raymond Williams. Early on Monday morning I felt the need to get out and shoot some pictures. My wife and I were staying in downtown Columbus, our son had just graduated from THE Ohio State University, and all was well. My wife was coming down with a cold or something and wasn’t feeling well, so she stayed in the bed.
Our hotel room faced nearly due east and I kept the curtains open just a slight bit so that I could see the dawn approach. It’s a beautiful sight. One that I don’t like to miss. As the day began, I got up, grabbed my camera, put on my 50mm lens, and headed outside into downtown Columbus. As I walked the streets, I snapped pictures here and there. On the way back towards the hotel, I noticed a man on the opposite side of the street doing a bit of preaching. Mind you, I used to not be one to approach someone on the street and ask to take their picture, especially a street preacher. i wanted to be as far away as possible. However, there was something absolutely melodious and attractive about this man’s voice. So, I crossed the street to meet him.
He greeted me heartily, asked my name, shook my hand and then we started to converse. I guess what attracted me to him was that he was nice to everyone who passed, smiling and wishing them a blessed day. Most people, I saw, would not meet his eyes, which was a shame as they would have met a very kind and gentle soul and their day would have been changed, as mine was.
He told me that he was the ‘baby’ of 17 children. He is 72 and one of a few preachers in his family. I told him about my brother, Fred Jr., who is a preacher. He asked if I’d received my ‘calling’ yet. I told him no. He said that he could feel that it was only a matter of time for me. I simply smiled. In his presence, I was almost tearful. It’s hard to explain. I felt really loved just standing there next to him. I’ve never experienced that. It was strange and wonderful. I could have stayed there all morning, it seems. He just had that type of aura, power, energy, or whatever you choose to call it.
We talked about 30 minutes, then he was off to wherever else he was going and I was much richer for the experience and felt that I had had a ‘blessed’ morning just sharing that space with him for those brief moments. I’d certainly like to see him again and, should my travels take me there, I will. You can find him in front of the Starbucks on Capital Square in downtown Columbus, OH. You’ll be much richer for the experience, if you stop and talk with this wonderful man.
Before I left, he put his hands on my shoulder, closed his eyes, and said a prayer for me and my family and wished my son, Pedro, luck in finding a job. A blessed morning, indeed.