When preparations began for the coronation of King Charles III, it was difficult not to get caught up in the excitement of an historic event. Although the pomp and ceremony of state occasions rarely turns my head, the sight of St. Edward’s Crown with its purple velvet cap, solid gold frame and plethora of precious jewels fired my imagination. As coronations are such a rarity, it was fascinating to catch a glimpse of the actual crown which will be used during the royal ceremony.
Sometime later, I was having a conversation with my sister about the myriad benefits of faith and expressing my disappointment that audacity rarely featured as an upside. We’re so often reminded of hope, comfort, strength etc. as the natural components of faith, but little attention is paid to the audacity which accompanies faith. I had seen it have a remarkable impact on my life and longed to encourage others to use it. As I shared these thoughts with my sister, an image of St. Edward’s Crown flashed across my mind, and I realised it was a metaphor for faith. After all, faith is a crown we wear, encrusted with precious jewels that helps steer our lives, and audacity can transform an ordinary life into something exceptional.
When I was a child I had one ambition; to become a lawyer. Sadly, I was not academically blessed and achieved such poor grades that my teachers tried to dissuade me. But what I lacked in scholarly brilliance, I compensated for with confidence and self-belief. I was convinced law was the path for me and when educational establishments rejected me, I refused to give up until an unnotable college offered an eleventh-hour reprieve. After graduation, I secured a place at law school where I failed my exams! Undeterred, I slipped through on an appeal and began preparations for the final hurdle to qualification – pupillage. But once again, doors slammed in my face and I was left agonising over my future.
It was around this time I attended a law conference where John Roberts QC (the first black QC in England) was one of the speakers. His rhetoric and messages of encouragement to young lawyers so inspired me, that I promptly made an appointment to see him. Even now I remember my impassioned plea which made such an impression on him that he offered me a pupillage at his chambers, provided I financed myself. Undaunted, I applied for a professional studies loan, but hit a stumbling block when the bank demanded collateral and a guarantee. In desperation, I pleaded with my parents to ride to the rescue, who after much persuasion reluctantly agreed to act as guarantors, using their home as collateral to fulfil my pipe dream.
Although these events took place over thirty years ago, I remember them as if it were yesterday. After qualifying, I had a successful career which took me from practising criminal law in London’s Dickensian courts to leadership roles in the corporate world. I achieved far more than I ever dreamed, but what was it that drove me like a juggernaut? Faith. I believed with every fibre of my being that I was meant to be a lawyer and God would help me. That conviction provided the audacity to pole vault obstacles because I knew God was with me. For all the marvels of faith, audacity is the unsung hero; the jewel in the crown. Don’t let life pass you by – step forward and start knocking on doors. God will do the rest.