Lessons Learnt

I am learning that nothing is eternal that is done outside of God.

Recently, I have been terribly troubled by realities around me. I am deeply worried that nothing is more significant to most people than gains. In the face of what money can buy, very few people treasure things that money cannot buy.

While contemplating the weight of these realities, Nigeria became a sensation on global airwaves because one of our athletes, Tobi Amusan, broke the world record for 100m Hurdles for Women. I watched the video with tears in my eyes as the National Anthem was sung, it was a beautiful moment of gratitude to God for her and for my nation, despite all the challenges we are dealing with.

I am hardly a commentator; instead, I quietly observe and draw understanding FOR my own journey as events unfold around me. I decided to dig deeper into this young lady, whose success obviously happened in it’s appointed time. We are in one of the darkest times of our nationhood; thus, her story revived hope in so many people effortlessly. Indeed, in deep darkness, a candle light is seen and cherished for it’s light; but, in a cascade of many lights, of magnificent proportions and powers, very little attention is paid to candle lights.

As I dig deeper, for personal lessons I can glean for my own journey; here are few things I found . . .

  1. In deep darkness, the way to a little light is the only ‘right’ way. Until a new light arises, like the sun, whose mechanics are ongoing, even in the darkness, the way to that little light is the only valid way.

The father of Tobi Amusan is painted in the media as a negative influence on her daughter – he insisted she goes to school and being properly educated. On the other hand, the mother, who was also acting by faith, is painted as her hero; she lied to cover up her practice time with being in church for worship. I reckon the father’s faith must be very prominent for that excuse to hold water when his daughter could not be found studying her books – God and good education was his pathway to the little light that was available to millions of Nigerians, not just His daughter.

But, what is the best decision a father could make for his daughter, especially in an environment like Nigeria? Is it to spend time with God, be well educated, and be prepared for life; or to seek success at all cost, even at the expense of REAL capacity to manage her life and success, when they eventually come? Is stardom/success of more value than her capacity to sustainably create value through what she knows and understand? I will leave that to your scrutiny.

We are quick to paint distorted pictures, especially when successes, or even failures, manifest. However, Joseph said his brothers meant ‘it’ for evil but that was God’s response to preserving posterity, even of the brothers as well. Indeed, perspective is important at all times.

  1. Until what is sought is achieved, the REAL intent and heart behind it all is really unknown.

I went further in my inquiry and listened to her interview immediately after the award ceremony. The interviewers asked many questions, some bordering on her fellow compatriot’s accomplishment as well – ESE BRUME, who got a silver medal for Long Jump in the same competition. I was excited to know how she feels and thinks, even in that exalted moment of accomplishment. What she said was a bit disappointing. Let’s just say, she sees only herself; she cared less about what’s happening to other people, even those in the same struggles as she was in. I had thought the national anthem and the tears that flowed from her eyes was about Nigeria, our country; I was wrong. It may just be about her struggles with Nigeria, and how she triumphed OVER Nigeria, not how she triumphed FOR Nigeria.

I know these are strong words; I am aware they are deeply soul-searching. I have been through pains and deep struggles because of Nigeria, I am still in some, by God’s grace; so, I know the difference between deep emotions OVER a matter/person and FOR a matter/person. This one was tears of triumph over all the limitations from Nigeria, not for the nations Nigeria

Good as that may be, I wonder if this has not already excluded the citizens from the glory of the moment. It is after all, her success . . ..

  1. When the endgame is done and dusted, the likelihood that one’s remaining days would be spent pursuing vanity and strange ‘games’ is high.

I watched and listened to Tobi Amusan intently; I scrolled through all her social media pages looking for context. What I found is this: her life-goal was attained at the public execution of her race this July, at OREGUN 2022. She broke world record twice in one night, and became a world champion. Beyond here, what is next?

I learnt from my journey that the most dangerous moment in a person’s life is the moment immediately after a major accomplishment. It is a very vulnerable one. When all that is sought is secured and long-time dreams are now realities, what happens next is the actual history about to be written. Indeed, the accomplishment is not the central idea of the history, it is what happens after it.

I hope Tobi Amusan has seen beyond this mountain; I hope her managers and minders have seen the landscape ahead from this zenith? Indeed, the way to the next mountain top, from the zenith of this one, is ‘down’ and not ‘up;’ there is yet many other excruciating climbing pain to the next zenith. The terrain is a land of hills and valleys; both are parts of the journey.

At the end of it all, the REAL destination is a place/position/PERSON, not a height; the highs and lows are merely characteristic of the pathways that lead there.

I rest here for now.

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