In the summer of 2010, I had the privilege of visiting South Africa to view the very first World Cup on African soil. During the course of that trip, was my first father’s day without my father, so I thought of him often as I always do. My father was a big fan of the beautiful game, and I knew that he would be with me in spirit as I travelled from Chicago, to Lagos, Nigeria for a family wedding, to Johannesburg with my cousins and uncles to be in the number of those who would witness the World Cup.
While I was there, I had a chance to visit Nelson Mandela’s house. It was a small brick house, full of awards, mementos and history. Throngs of people joined me at the small, refurbished house, to pay homage to a giant of a man who has touched so many lives.
Some of the bricks in the house were replaced with brass plates that had words of inspiration and motivation on them. I took pictures of many of them – one of my favorite said simply: Courage.
I look at the picture of this bronze plated brick whenever I feel that I am facing a large challenge or opportunity.
Having the opportunity to share my story with those who are interested or curious is a great blessing, a great opportunity, and a great responsibility. Some will find it touching, some will find it to be a waste of time. I’m okay with both.
In addition, August is the month that my father was born and the month that he died. For the past few years, it has been one that I have learned to take day by day – knowing some days would be days that I could celebrate small or large victories, and other days would be those that would find me in extreme contemplation.
Two of my favorite verses about Courage from the Bible are:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9
Be strong and of good courage and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed for the Lord God, my God, is with you. God will not fail you or forsake you.'” -1 Chronicles 28:20
I share these scriptures and send out a prayer – to anyone who is facing a large task, a personal challenge, or any time in their lives when they are not sure how they will get around, or through, or over – but know they must and they will.
My prayer is that you should face whatever that thing is – whether it be great opportunity, or great pain – with courage.