An Evening with Michelle Obama

They say slow and steady wins the race – but that doesn’t seem to ring true in this day and age. Our days are filled with appointments, 9-5s, kids activities and the circus that is trying to balance it all. And as if our timelines weren't flooded enough with ads and news, now we gotta worry about this fake news phenomenon. There is just so much vying for our attention its no wonder the average attention span is only 8 seconds.

All of the busyness seems to make the hours run, days sprint, and weeks fly right by. The very real disorder of FOMO (fear of missing out) also jolts up the pace and makes the majority of us feel like we need to keep up with  the fabulous lifestyles of the Jones'. It's a slippery slope when you compare your behind the scenes to others' highlight reels. It all becomes overwhelming, then discouraging and then depressing. Especially if you feel like you've been working hard and consistently giving it everything you've got and still feel like you've made it nowhere.

*cue infomercial announcer voice*

Well have I got a word for you! Well, it's not really my word, its a liberating piece of advice Michelle Obama gave me  - cause you know, we're tight like that ;) (She might have also shared this with the hundreds of other people in the stadium with me at the same time).

Let me back up. A few weeks ago my sister from another mother (like seriously guys, they say you can't choose your family but she is such a blessing! Plus she drives like a boss on these SK roads and is definitely the only reason we survive snowmageddon that weekend!). So anyway, we got the chance to attend 'An Evening with Michelle Obama', an event held by the Saskatoon chamber of commerce. Of the many admirable and wig-snatching gems of knowledge Flotus gave using her life in the Whitehouse as examples, she dropped one particular nugget of gold that deeply resonated with me. It was a piece of advice she’d learned from the legendary Nelson Mandela when she and Barak had the honour of meeting him in South Africa couple of years before he passed.

“ Be patient with change. You may never get to see the fruits of the work you've done but that's not your job. Do the work you know is right."

That perspective is was what got the apartheid freedom fighter and former President of South Africa through the 27 long years he unjustly served in prison on the bitterly cold and secluded Robben Island in South Africa. 

Flotus went on to explain how Mandela understood that despite being seemingly buried in a hopelessly unjust prison system for decades, he saw his situation as being planted; roots burying deeper into the ground with each passing year. All in preparation for the day the sun would finally emerge from behind the clouds, shattering the darkness and providing the light needed to majestically bloom above ground. By then, regardless of the changing seasons or however harsh the winds of adversity blew, he was grounded, deeply rooted and unshakable.

Mandela's eventual reemergence from the belly of the beast was not merely for his own personal freedom, but rather to serve a greater purpose for the liberation of his people. That was his mindset in the face of the adversity that robbed him of his youth, of 27 years of life. Embracing the knowledge that he might not even live to see the fruits of his labour, while reveling in the fact that the next generation would benefit from the seeds he had sown, was what kept him going.

This challenged me on a ‘Rhoda girl you need to get it together and hit that pause button for a quick sec. Take a look in the mirror and figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing’ - type of way. What is my vision of success? Am I in it for the long haul? Am I willing to put my everything into it, or am I just playing a game of keep up that I’ll be the first to admit I'm failing miserably at? 

What motivates you? What dreams are you working towards? And would you still be committed to chasing after them even if you never saw any “success” in the traditional sense or according to other people's definition of what it should look like?  Are you in it for you or for others?

When you realize God is carrying you, you race with no one. You are not behind. Nothing it late. Everything will unfold just as it's meant to.  

Until next time keep rising,

Rhoda

LifeRhoda Twumasi