“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13 vs 4 -7
What shall I say about one of my all-time heroes?
Should I tell you about his ability to lift people up, even when all seemed lost?
Or his stoic support for those around him – forever steadfast in Love and Courage, even in the most dire of circumstances?
Should I tell you how much I admired his humility, despite his numerous achievements? Or better still his unyielding love for his family and friends?
Maybe I should illustrate the times he came to my rescue during the darkest of moments – sitting with me for hour after hour whilst I was in rehab.
Or what he said when I asked him to come and say hi to close friends at my Children’s Books launch? “No no no,” he said with that all conquering smile, “Please just allow me to just sit here and admire you, my dear aburo.” He simply sat on the sofa, with that beaming smile – totally at peace with the world. Little did I know it would be our last time together. Whenever I look back on that day, it’s as though he knew – that all would be okay with those he was leaving behind.
A man who demonstrated the principle of Unconditional Love, no matter the circumstance or situation. Many of us talk about God’s Unconditional Love. Here was a man who lived and breathed it to the very end.
But somehow none of the above do him any justice. They neither bring home the reality of what he stood for, or his impact on the lives of so many people.
Despite his great achievements, my brother, John Olukayode Akande, was a simple man, who, like our father, was never one for even the slightest hint of pomp and ceremony. Out of respect for his character and principles we did our best to send him off in like-manner – quietly, humbly, and lovingly.
And so, as I made my way from the airport to the Commendation Service, after a very delayed flight from Benin last Sunday, I expected a somewhat quiet affair. Boy was I wrong!! Hundreds had come to pay their final respects to a man that had obviously touched their lives in so many ways. As I looked on in awe, the reality of the giant heart of this stalwart of Love began to hit home. Here was a man who had blessed numerous lives in ways one can only imagine. He wasn’t just my hero. He was a hero of many. He didn’t just belong to our family, but to hundreds. They say one never truly knows the magnitude of one’s life until one dies. This was an apt demonstration of the futility of our thinking that money is what matters. Yes, it certainly helps to make things easier, but in years to come, would you rather people speak about how loaded you were? Or how much you impacted their lives?!
As pastor Kayode Makinde said during what was one of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever heard, none of us know when we’ll leave this earth. But just as death is real, so too is the after-life. How or when is not what’s important; for when it happens, we’ll find out.
So what have I learned from one of the greatest of all men – John Olukayode Akande.
There were four things that mattered most to him – God, Family, Close Friends, and Bettering the lives of as many people as possible.
In as much as I want to live my own life in the way God has designed for me to live it, I’m in absolutely no doubt that to live one centred on God, Family, Close Friends, and positively impacting as many lives as possible is what truly matters.
So, my dear egbon – John Olukayode Akande – you’ve left the most gigantic shoes for us to fill. But I know you couldn’t have left us unless God knew we were ready to continue your great work.
We shall meet again. But as I’m sure you agree, “Not yet. Not until I’ve completed my own assignment.”
You deserve every second of the joy and peace of heaven’s eternity. There’s no longer any need for me to say “God Bless You Egbon”, because I know you’re now with Him.
Finally, the most important thing my brother taught me during the past couple of years is this;
My life doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the people whose lives God sent me to touch. In other words, no matter how I feel, no matter how bad things may seem, no matter the temptation to deviate from God’s chosen path for my life in order to take that of the world’s, I must always remember that many are depending on my walking on God’s chosen path for me.
If you’re reading this, and are presently thinking of giving up, I want you to take note of two absolute facts – God loves you, and designed you for a specific purpose. He will never ever give up on you, because He wants the very best for you. So please please please don’t give up. There are too many lives depending on your living the life God designed for you.
2. No matter how anxious or worried you are about your present circumstance and future, be rest assured that God is on your side. So, cast all your cares upon him, and let him take care of you.
“…casting all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5 vs 7
If you’re in a somewhat dark place at present, please say this prayer with me.
“Father, your word says you love me; that you care for me. But right now, I’m feeling lost, alone, and afraid (tell Him why). Please visit my situation Lord, and deal with it as your Love and Mercy sees fit. I don’t have the answers. I’ve tried my own way, and it doesn’t work. You tell me to cast my cares upon you, because you care for me. Please help me to do so. In Jesus name, Amen.”