Thoughts in the Breeze

A Five-Year Journey with UoPeople

© J. Francois Barnard - 14 August 2022

My morning walk in a late winter breeze is my time for thanksgiving, reminiscing, and contemplating: five years, two degrees, a regular job and a small business. And add to that what I loved most: liaising with my Class of '82 to have an absolute blast when we meet every five years for a reunion.

breezeMy thoughts took me back to the 1980s when I attempted to study, but I was swimming against strong currents of circumstances. These currents overwhelmed me and spat me out on rocky shores. I was battered and bruised and fought back. Fighting back was a battle for survival, and it excluded studies.

I started a mildly successful business in 1992 and enjoyed many victories along the way. I gained valuable experience, which came in handy in practical and academic environments. The company provided for my family, sometimes abundantly and sometimes sparsely. We were in it together and emerged primarily unscathed. The passing of my late father in 2006 threw a spanner in the works, and I had to sell the business. It was a dark and dry time, yet a time of refocusing and getting a new perspective.

When I arrived at Doxa Deo in 2013, some battles were still ongoing, but not so much for my time. I registered at the University of the People in 2017 for a Bachelor's in Science, Business Administration (BSBA). I gave it all I had and, to my surprise, got high grades. Higher grades meant I could fast-track my degree, graduating in three and a quarter years.

I had a two-term break and registered for my Master in Business Administration (MBA). The volume of work was more than I had experienced in my undergraduate studies, and I kept the pace as high as possible, doing two courses per term.

The last two weeks of the final term were intense. I had a forty-year reunion, my children and grandchildren emigrated, and I worked on a group assignment for Project Management and my final Capstone Project assignment and presentation. I wondered if anything would break under the tension, but thankfully, all worked out perfectly. Our children are safe in the UK, the reunion was a success, and I graduated with honours.

A massive wave of thankfulness swept over me as I realised how blessed I was. As I walked this morning and felt the cool breeze on my cheek, I remembered a dream I had decades ago.

I dreamed I was hiking up a high mountain, and as I reached the peak, I stood in a cool breeze overlooking the vast scenery. By then, I was half awake and wondered why the breeze felt so real because there was no draft in the room, and all the windows were closed. It was then that I felt a comforting Presence in the breeze. I knew I was in God's Presence and that He loved me.

That love has never changed and carried me through five years of studying. It was part of a journey of healing the turmoil of the past and giving hope for the future.