Continues from part one:
Ben Carson’s Life-Changing Testimony.
Shared by: Romanus O. Obiekosi
Incase you missed the part one of this post, click here to read it.
“When my father walked away from our family, he left us destitute”
-Ben Carson, MD
Starting all over again, Mother fixed her mind and her eyes on a couple overriding goals (although some people would have considered them challenges or maybe even barriers).
Goal number one:
She determined to do whatever it took to keep a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs, and to provide a happy home the three of us.
Goal number two:
Mother proved more determined to find away to prepare her sons for achievement and success. She trusted and believed that the future would be better than her past or our present circumstances.
From the disheartening new beginning she faced, Mother worked hard to both provide for our basic physical needs and maintain an emotionally secure home and family life for her sons. Yet she could not always manage to be emotionally healthy or happy herself. The enormity of my father’s betrayal and the end of her marriage had been a devastating blow. Suddenly assuming sole responsibility for raising and providing for two young boys must have seemed a terribly daunting task.
Of course Curtis and I were too young at the time to realize the strain of our new, unsettled circumstances took its toll. So we had no idea why Mother occasionally had to leave us. She simply explained she had to go away for a while to “visit” or “take care” of some loved one. She ‘d entrust us to the care of relatives or sometimes a neighbourhood church lady. She ‘d usually be gone a few days, but a time or two, when we leaved in Boston with Aunt Jean and uncle William, she left for as long as three or four weeks. She told us when to expect her back, and she always returned when she said she would. So we didn’t worry.
We learned, years later, she suffered terrible depression in those days. And whenever she approached a breaking point, Mother would check herself into a hospital to regain her emotional balance and strength.
Looking back now, I realize what courage it must have taken for my mother to acknowledge and face her own limitations. Knowing what she went through, I have more respect for her than ever today.
Even at that time, I knew my mother’s greatest strength came from her faith and the spiritual journey that had begun for her around the time of my birth. During her stay in the hospital maternity ward with me, she met a woman named Mary Thomas, who read Scripture to her and talked with her about God. At first Mother ignored her. When the woman did not go away, Mother suggested that they talk about something other than God. “My husband is a preacher,” Mother told her. “What I about God is not very good!” “I do not know your husband,” Mary told her, “but I do know God. And He loves you and will never give up on you.”
Before Mother left the hospital to take me home, Mary Thomas gave her a Bible. Having only completed the third grade, mother wasn’t literate. Yet she realized if other people could learn to read, so could she. And she determined then and there that one day she would master that skill so she could read this gift from her new friend. That led to another thought, a realization that Changed her life:
If other people can do something, so can I. If someone else can do anything, I can too if I make up my mind to it. And so can my sons! After her conversation with Mary Thomas in the hospital, Mother began to attend church with her sister Jean (before she and uncle William moved to Boston). At Aunt Jean‘s church and another church in our neighbourhood, Mother heard, understood, and gradually came to believe more about God-until the day Mother finally dared to say to Him, “God, I don’t know if I properly. But I now believe you do love and care for me. And I know I need your help.” She came away after that prayer with certainty that God had heard and would indeed help her. Of course, that is exactly what happened years later when Curtis and I had fallen behind on school, after my fifth-grade classmates nicknamed me dummy, and Mother despaired over our grades and what to do about them. She prayed, and God and God gave her the wisdom to turn off the TV, make us read books, and require us to present our weekly book reports out loud to her.
One thing we knew for sure was that Mother believed she could turn to God with any and all problems and she could He would give her wisdom and strength to deal with them.
A year or so after she prayed about our grades, Curtis and I went through a phase of arguing with each other, and sometimes with her, about chores-specifically over whose turn it was to wash the dishes and who had to dry them. This time, after two days of praying for wisdom, Mother say is down at the kitchen table to say, “I do the best I can to set up rules around here, but we’re having a lot of disagreements lately about chores. Maybe the two of you could use your brains and come up with a plan that would work better than mine,”
Curtis and I promised we would think about it, and the two of us soon came to an agreement. We listed all the household chores Mother regularly asked us to do, a lot of other things she had never expected of us: sweeping or vacuuming the floors; having the dishes washed and the floors clean when she home from work each night; folding all the clothes; planning meals; cleaning out the refrigerator; and more. We went so far as to set the time and day of the week when we’d have each job done. I imagine our job descriptions surprised our mother sometimes even more than they pleased her. Because she looked at our list of chores, nodded, and offered a big smile as she assured us that, as long as we stuck to our plan, she would on longer tell us what to do. She didn’t have to. Yet she never stopped showing us what to do-by living out essential lessons in front of us every day. Except for that brief period of temporal insanity early in high school, when I fell under the influence of peers, Curtis and my love, appreciation, and respect for Mother continued to grow- even through our teenage years.
How could they not? Sonya Carson wasn’t merely our mother. Even more than our wisest teacher and mentor, she was our steadfast supporter, our loudest cheerleader, our most worthy example, our faithful guide, and our greatest hero.
I will never have time or space to recount all the invaluable I learned from her. Nor would in ever attempt to rank them in the order of importance. Mother never made or handed us a to-do list of great expectations; she simply taught us by sharing everyday insights and observations-and by living outan instructive, inspiring example right in front of us.
She knew that in order to provide for her family, she would need to use her brain to gather the necessary knowledge to think things through. So she fixed her eyes on teaching her sons the attitudes that would them to use their brains.
She had no doubts that education would provide our escape from the poor side of Detroit. When others questioned the reading and academic demands she placed on us, she told them, “Say what you want, but my boys are going to get an education and be something special one day. They’re going to be self-supporting and learn how to love other folks. No matter what they decide to do, they’ll be the best in the world at it!” Once I truly believe that my current circumstances (our family’s poverty) were indeed temporary, that learning could indeed provide a way out, that education wasn’t some pipie dream, but a life-changing, attainable goal for me, I no longer felt trapped.
Today’s frustrating circumstances didn’t bother me nearly as much because I had a realistic hope (and eventually confidence) that tomorrow would be not only different, but also immeasurably better.
Hope is indeed one of the most powerful forces in the universe. And that gave me a different perspective on life. The slow, steady, disciplined way she climbed out of her financial hole and the determined manner in which she pursued and achieved the goal of moving her family back into our own home became for me the most memorable demonstration of patience and the reward of delayed gratification. And if wasn’t enough of a lesson to us, Mother’s uncanny financial management skills-including her habit of squirreling away enough nickels and dimes to pay cash for a replacement vehicle whenever our current family transportation finally bit the dust-certainly drove home the same point (pun intended; I did grow up in, Detroit after all).
I want to believe you are blessed by this sharing. The last part of Ben Carson’s testimony will get to you as soon as it’s ready.
No unpleasant condition can be for a lifetime if you dare to try out your wings.
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