A Review Of Olanrewaju Olumide’s ‘Left Field’
“I believe so much in the effect of God’s grace, the result it yields, the confidence it instills, the quality decisions it inspires, and most importantly, the things it brings our way.”
Olanrewaju Olumide’s story is an atypical example of how God’s grace abounds still in the face of life’s challenges.
His story is one that inspires, teaches, and encourages deep reflection. Life as we know it is a boatload of challenges that are inevitable. How we handle the challenges that come our way shows the strength and substance in our character.
Olanrewaju begins his story from his early twenties but uses flashbacks to provide us insights to his childhood and his impressionistic years.
Childhood, how sweet the ignorant bliss of it; how blessedly innocent those days are. With little or nothing to worry about, a child skips through life. But then, almost suddenly, some children are forced to grow up and awaken to life’s harsh realities.
I presume this was how Olanrewaju felt when he was yanked from the loving bosom of his dear grandmother and placed his birth mother’s family. His conception and birth were not a story his mother loved to tell and that is why she shielded him from the truth until his youth.
Olanrewaju, being an observant child with a curious mind knew that something was amiss. He bore it well and not so well at some instances because he was sometimes given to fits of misdemeanors. After many altercations with his mother and stepfather, he decided to approach his situation differently so he could get a different results.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
The driving force of Olanrewaju’s story is the father figure. The father figure is so important that it takes only the heavenly father to fill the void in someone’s life.
I like to believe that this is how it is for Olanrewaju – God filling up the hole his father left behind. I know that the role God plays is entirely different, but who else to fill the vacancy so readily than the one who made him?
“That day I learnt that the urge to fill a void is more compelling when the void is visualized or experienced.”
He passed through primary and secondary school filling the void with other people’s experiences of their fathers. He hungered for his friends’ tales of their father and boy, did they feed him? But did all that suffice for the void? All that never erased the fact that he was confused as the first child of the Fabs yet he went by the name ‘Olumide’.
I think this is a lot to bear. I assume this dilemma would have weighed heavily on his shoulders and caused him to stumble at some point. And yes he did stumble.
Imagine being the son of this influential man and that man comes within your close circle only to deny you outrightly. But you say it is no fault of his because you should not have laid claim to his name. As a reader, it might be convenient to lay blame at the feet of some people in the author’s life.
However, the big lessons in this book outweigh the human frailties disappeared. They are subtle reminders to do better and model a life worthy of emulation for the generation unborn.
Also, I like to think that some of the factors that helped Olanrewaju chart the course of his life to the point where it is are his education, his life partner, his faith, and his mentors.
While the age-old axiom that education is the best legacy no longer reigns supreme in this current world, it still has its own advantage.
Education gives you leverage; lends you wings to soar and attain the impossible. In fact, in Olanrewaju’s case, education also gave him his life and business partner.
Double rewards for a troubled childhood. Marrying right cannot be overemphasized. Olanrewaju also had mentors to look up to and guide him. More importantly, his faith in God helped him navigate through tough times. I believe this is where God’s grace comes in. In Left Field, you would learn that providence is Olanrewaju’s panacea.
Left Field read like the plot of a fictitious work. It is an easy read that won’t fail to leave an impression. It is filled with profound insights, layers of depth that would heighten and trigger different emotions.
A favourite quote in the book is “some intangible things are more meaningful than tangible things.” When all else fails and you are looking for a light dose of inspiration, leadership insights in realistic forms, Left Field will serve you right.