The Makwala story.
Our own blue, black and white boy.
His London story.
Of course we would have preferred for the story to end with a gold medal.
We would have preferred the story to end with a standing ovation after what he had to endure.
Yes that too would have been a good story about the reward at the end of a fight.
It would have spoken to us about silencing the things that shame us, standing when all else wants to pull us down, flying without the wind in our wings; it would have spoken volumes about how we have the power to silence all the bad ‘noises’.
And these would have been great lessons.
But his story didn’t end with a gold medal.
For me it ended with respect.
Isaac earned my respect, all of it.
If you ask me what courage is, I would say Isaac Makwala.
This man will be my reference point for courage, my reference point for showing up while carrying deep emotional pains.
My reference point to the meaning of giving your best even on days where you have to go at it alone.
And there is nothing small about this.
And that’s because Isaac Makwala has met me at the place where at times I have had to live my life.
It might not have been with the whole world witnessing my pain but still there are similarities, there is a meeting point to the places we all have been to. I know this is true for me as much as it is for you.
Isaac Makwala has spoken to us, you and me, without uttering a word.
He has asked us to stand the way he stood.
He has asked us to hold our heads high when we watch by the sidelines races that we believe could have been ours being run and won by others, to cry when we feel the pain, but to refuse for the pain to keep us from fighting.
I want to fight the way he fought, I want to transform my pain into push-ups right in the presence of my mockers, I want to show my vulnerability, I want to be confused and to cry tears of pains, because it hurts to be left out but I won’t lose who I really am in the midst of the pain, I won’t allow the pain to stop me from showing up. I want to pursue my callings as if the whole nation depends on it.