How many times have we consciously or unconsciously swept our thoughts or remarks into dustbins of impossibilities? These tend to happen when we need help wrapping our small minds around what seems too big for comprehension. How many times have we propelled doubt to pass the baton of opportunity to someone else? Especially when we settle in a desert of self-doubt? On such occasions, we end up wallowing and regretting the torture of hesitancy. It is what it is. What about those times we abandon the cloak of faith for the rag of fear and shiver from the brutal chills of reality? I can continue citing instances but what do we gain from crying over avoidable mistakes?
Our human minds can be stretched to accommodate colossal dreams and visions or can keep shrinking from the monotony of the mundane. The choice is ours to make. Many of us settle for the familiar and get claustrophobic when uncharted territories are possibilities. We lack the courage to embrace change powered by trust. Instead, we remain shackled in the prison of unbelief. Lord have mercy!
I have been meaning to write about an encounter I had some years ago – an overdue writing debt. It was during a holiday trip to Tangier, Morocco. As a result of this trip, my mind was exposed to the reality of believing the unbelievable and learning never to say, never.
I was on a tour of the city with other tourists when our tour guide ushered us into an exquisite Moroccan rug and interior décor shop. It was a stand-alone building with very beautiful but expensive items with prices that could easily burn a hole in one’s wallet. I cut my coat according to my size and focused primarily on window shopping. All I bought was a fridge magnet souvenir for one Euro and then sat down in a corner watching the usual tourist sales pitches fall on deaf and eager ears.
My encounter with the Shop owner
It was at this time a middle-aged man walked to where I was and politely introduced himself as the owner of the store. I cannot remember his name. He asked me where I came from and I told him “Dallas, Texas.” To my surprise, he said “I have a good customer and friend that lives in Dallas. Do you know my friend Thomas?” I was taken aback. I wondered who Thomas was and why he expected me to know every Thomas in Dallas, Texas. He asked me again and mentioned that his famous friend Thomas actually visited his shop with his wife and son some weeks back to buy some decor. He pointed to a wall upstairs saying, he had a picture he took with Thomas on the wall. Frankly speaking, I was disinterested and couldn’t be bothered going to look at any picture of someone I was sure I didn’t know. Like Doubting Thomas in the Bible, I doubted he was free from an ulterior motive. As a matter of fact, I wondered if this wasn’t a sales gimmick to get me to part with my cash. I was so ready to get out of the shop to continue touring the city.
For some weird reason, the shop owner didn’t back down. He asked me one more time about his good friend in Dallas called Thomas and added the name Jakes to it. The identity of the Thomas he was describing finally hit home after I strung the words: Thomas, Jakes, and Dallas in a sentence. Wait a minute! Did I just come up with the name of Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes as the person he was talking about in faraway Morocco?
I replied to him asking “Are you talking of Bishop Thomas Jakes?” He nodded his head in agreement. I let him know I knew who he was talking about and apologized to him for not connecting the dots sooner. Then he said to me, “Say hello to Thomas from me, whenever you run across him in Dallas.” Inwardly, I wondered if he was for real. Did he think it was that easy to see Bishop Jakes in Dallas and deliver his message? Seriously? I was certain he had no idea how unrealistic his message sounded.
What do you think I did with his message upon leaving his shop? I mentally crumbled and discarded it into oblivion. It was crystal clear to me the shop owner didn’t realize the weight of his request. We left his shop and continued sightseeing. Four days later, I arrived back home in Dallas, Texas.
The impossible became possible in Dallas
About two months later, I received an email from a publicist, inviting MannaXPRESS to cover a red-carpet event for the Black Nativity movie, in Dallas. It was scheduled to begin at 7 pm that evening in a downtown Dallas hotel. I was interested and called the photographer that worked with me at the time, Kevin Dukes, to see if he was available. He was and we planned to meet there by 6:30 pm.
By 6:45 pm, we were already inside the building, secured a good spot by the entrance, positioned our equipment, checked the cameras, and tested the microphones. Since we had a 15-minute window before the arrival of guests, I seized the opportunity to quickly tidy up any loose detail in my appearance.
I was on one knee adjusting the strap of my shoe when I heard the main door open and some people walked in at about 6:50 pm. I hurriedly finished what I was doing and got up to assume my position to speak to the invited guests. To my uttermost amazement, standing before me was Bishop T.D. Jakes and his wife First Lady Serita Jakes of The Potters House, Dallas. What? That same “Thomas Jakes” the Moroccan shop owner kept quipping in my ears was before me in person? How could this be?
I composed myself as professionally as I could and commenced my retinue of interview questions. In the midst of so much euphoria, I completely forgot to mention my encounter with the shop owner in Morrocco. It was not until I came down from my Cloud 9 of glee that the shop owner’s words began resounding in my ears. Oh my! For real? How could I have forgotten? I became like them that dream dreams. What seemed so far-fetched to me materialized as reality two months later!
This experience taught me to stop leaning on my own understanding and start trusting God at all times. If anyone told Joseph he would wake up a prisoner and go to bed on the same day as the Prime minister of Eygpt, he might have laughed at the biggest joke of the century. Fortunately, it came to pass. All things are possible with God when we abandon ourselves in His tender, loving arms. We must learn to let go, let God, and continue exercising faith no matter how it seems.
Once again, it is possible! Never say never!
May Oyairo is the Founder and Publisher of MannaXPRESS.