“Have you ever placed chess, Jessie?”

She eyed him. What did a board game have to do with her quitting the basketball team?

“Not really”.

“You and I should play sometime. I think you would like it”, he said. “It’s a game of strategy, mostly. The strong pieces are in the back row, while the weak pieces – the pawns – are all in the front, ready to take the brunt of the attack; and because of their limited movement and vulnerability, most people underestimate them and only use them to protect the more powerful pieces but when I play, I protect my pawns”.

“Why?’  she said, not entirely sure where this conversation was going. “If they’re weak, then what’s the point?”

“They may be weak when the game begins but their potential is remarkable. Most of the time, they’ll be taken by the other side and held captive until the end of the game. But if you’re careful, if you keep your eyes open and pay attention to what your opponent is doing, if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then?”

She shook her head, and he smiled.

“Your pawn becomes a queen”. He touched her cheek, his fingers as cold as ice

“Because they kept moving forward and triumphed against impossible odds, they become the most powerful piece in the game”. Never forget that, all right? Never forget the potential one solitary pawn has to change the entire game.


Without warning, adversity strikes. Hours before, your world exists as a placid of tranquility; now it resembles a raging sea. Twenty foot waves of emotional unrest brush through your mind, and hurricane-force winds tear at the protective barriers of your heart. Adversity hands out the job termination letter at the office, delivers the untimely news of a loved one’s death, and drives the reality of illness home to the weakening heart. The question becomes not when will the adversity strike, but how do we handle its gripping reality?

Adversity throws up a challenge; a slip, a careless action and laziness can mean disaster or death. One has to rise to the occasion, be on guard, put up the best of the fight with his back to the wall. This fight makes him stronger, bolder and wiser.

A great writer once said “God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them”.

It is in the very nature of adversity to bring out the best in man, develop his latent abilities and lead him on a path of prosperity and progress. A man is insensible of the relish of prosperity ‘til he has tasted adversity. Shakespeare was right when he said: “Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous…It wears a precious jewel in its head”.

Roman poet Horace once noted,

“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” Horace’s assertion examines the role that adversity plays in the development of a person’s character and understanding during turmoil and hardships. The qualities and characteristics of individuals are revealed during times of adversity that would never otherwise be seen as capable during good times. These talents that are usually locked up give the ability for an individual to break down the walls created by the adversity. In this sense, an individual’s true character and nature is revealed leading to a new understanding of the capability of the human nature and the ability to overcome adversities.

There is an erroneous belief amongst many that wealth is the solution to all problems. One may be able to buy the best of pens with one’s wealth, but can that improve a man’s handwriting? A wealthy, but ugly woman may purchase the best of cosmetics with her money but can she become really beautiful? A prosperous rich man, stricken with paralysis or cancer can buy health? Certainly not. The real qualities of head, hand and heart, can be attained only through the struggle in adversity. It is adversity that teaches you to play the game of life. Can a fighter enjoy a victory if the enemy is weak and broken?

Adversity not only brings a man to the pinnacles of glory in this world, it also brings a man nearer to god. It is mostly in pain, sufferings and misfortune that one remembers God. Prosperity most times is rather too dazzling to let a man see God.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. The darkest the night, the nearer the dawn. Times of great calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm. The world’s history is the story of the survival of the fittest, a story of those who fought against adverse circumstances and achieved great victories. There will always be times when one finds themselves buried beneath the chambers of adversity. It is only, the power of the right decision which can serve as the last glimmer of hope salvageable.

Bourne Princewill Xavier.







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