Doing Big Things
“For in Him, we live and move and have our being…” Acts 17:28
An accomplished athlete at fifteen years old, Dashawn knows who he is and what he is capable of and feels little need to prove himself by listing his accomplishments. Reserved, but confident, he actually downplays his success, neglecting to mention his undefeated track record, the college scholarship he was recently offered as a result of that record, or the fact he has enough medals and trophies to fill an old-fashioned treasure chest. Fortunately, a passing OBHC employee is more than willing to fill in the conversational gaps, designating Dashawn as “the one to beat.”
When asked to elaborate on this new information, Dashawn smiles and shrugs. “Basically, I’ve been running and winning and running and winning since the seventh grade.” Sports have always come easily to Dashawn. In early elementary school, he spent most of every recess running. Although he enjoyed it, he didn’t really understand the magnitude of his God-given talent until he was old enough to participate in organized sports.
“I am good at every sport I attempt or try,” says Dashawn, no hint of pride in his tone. “That’s just how it has always been, but when I won my first conference in track when I was thirteen, well, that was mind-blowing. I didn’t realize I could be that good.”
So far, Dashawn has won conference twice and state twice in the one-mile relay, the two-mile relay, and the high jump. Looking every bit the part of a natural athlete, having just come from track practice, he admits, “I don’t want to lose.” With a smile, he adds, “Ever.”
Although Dashawn enjoys athletic competition and plans to take advantage of every opportunity success like his offers, he doesn’t plan to make a career out of sports. “I’m into fashion,” says Dashawn with conviction. “I want to have a shop in Edmond and sell big clothing names.”
When asked what sparked his interest in the fashion industry, Dashawn responds, “When I was in seventh grade, I didn’t know how to dress. Some people influenced me to dress better, and I stepped it up. I liked the way it made me feel. Still do.”
The annual back-to-school fashion show is, perhaps, Dashawn’s favorite OBHC event, one he looks forward to with great anticipation. “Last year, I wore zebra slim jeans,” Dashawn says, illustrating with his hands, “black dress shoes, a white dress shirt, a bow tie, and suspenders.” A broad smile communicates undeniable enthusiasm.
The fashion show is just one of the perks that Dashawn enjoys as a resident of OBHC. The relationships that he has formed as a resident bolster and encourage him as he begins to discover and pursue God’s plan for his life. “Living with seven other guys is hard sometimes,” Dashawn admits, “but it’s mostly a good thing. We’re all pretty chill. No one is really annoying or anything. I have some good friends in the cottage, Richard and Nate, and I have a special connection with another guy here on campus, Albert. Me and him are like brothers. We have each other’s back and school and stuff. We come from the same background. We both like sports and have the same taste in clothes. I don’t know what I’d do without him.”
Dashawn also appreciates the time and energy his houseparents have invested in him. “The Reynolds are pretty cool and really nice,” Dashawn nods at the truth of it, then laughs. “One time, Mr. Reynolds tried to play me in basketball. He tried to guard me. I went behind his back, and he twisted his knee.” Dashawn shakes his head, smiling at the memory. “Shoulda’ known better.”
Dashawn knows that living at OBHC has changed him for the better. “We go to church every Wednesday and Sunday,” he explains. “We also do devotions in the cottage at night. Sometimes I’m so tired from sports that it’s hard to stay awake, but it’s worth it when I do. I learned that we should all accept God as our personal Lord and Savior. Richard made that decision in cottage devotion one time, and I prayed, too. Before that, I didn’t care what I said or how I hurt people, but now I’m starting to care. I used to fight, but I don’t do that anymore.”
To those who support OBHC financially, Dashawn offers his heartfelt thanks. “I appreciate you. You’ve given me a place to be for now and to do big things.”