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“Much power is in my hands to make or mar the events of my destiny”
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“Much power is in my hands to make or mar the events of my destiny”

All men everywhere face days when the sun stops shining. But because they are born with strong spirit, they move on and alter the game, writes Nnadozie Onyekuru, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Maiduguri in Nigeria.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Abraham Lincoln whose story is as cliché today as the way I began this paragraph.

Mr. Lincoln was faced with the drumbeats of failure but he refused to dance. He did not give in to despair or curse his life.

He kept hope alive and became an acre of hope for generations to farm on.

No man of his blood lives on the surface of the earth. Yet, like him, all men everywhere face days when the sun stops shining.

Days when the rains gather and they are in the middle of nowhere. Times that night meets them far from home and there seems to be no shelter for refuge or lamp to light their paths.

But because they are born with strong spirit, they move on and alter the game. The odds may increase in their stack but that is only where the odds matter. No matter how many they are or how much water they hold, they are tapered off if the men in the arena choose to move on. And if the men do not move on; if they fear and opt for a recess; that becomes the end of their lives even if they live longer than Methuselah.

This must have been the logic behind the saying “Where there is life, there is hope”, and the motivation for that famous poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley (below). I find the same motivation to hold true in the life of this young man, though I might differ from Henley in believing that I am the master of my fate.

If I were to write those lines, instead of ‘whatever gods may be’ I would say like Charles Malik, “Jesus Christ…my Lord and God and Savior and Song day and night”. Still, I cherish Invictus because I know that much power is in my hands to make or mar the events of my destiny.

Right now, I’m losing the game. There are sprinkled cheers in the spectators’ boos. Yet it is up to me either to faint as failure throws her dashes around or to keep playing to turn the cards.

If I choose the former I shall be forgotten. But if I stand tall as the man in the arena and chase the prize as it kiteflirts with the weather of circumstances and opinions, I shall become an acre of hope for someone else to farm on someday.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus
William Ernest Henley (1849 – 1903)
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About me:

I am a Nigerian student. I love books. I am young and restless with firm dreams that are only tempered by Christianity. I dream of a world where people, inspired by their common humanity, engage in a global wheel of ideas and do not use history as a tool for blame game but as a lesson for the future. In my spare time, I write stories, speeches and participate in activities that advance the respect of human dignity.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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