My God delivered!

My God delivered!

Lawrence says God his wingman on flight from poverty to Europe's glitzy stage

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sport Editor

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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If one would venture to think that Kemar “Taxi” Lawrence was born to play football, it would be a reasonable deduction in the broad scheme of things.

For apart from starting out in the game as a young boy, he has football blood coursing through his veins as he is the son of former outstanding Jamaica goalkeeper Orville Edwards.

And though he does not bear his father's surname, Lawrence has come to terms with his paternal connection, even as he is reluctant to dwell on that episode of his past.

Lawrence, who recently signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht, said he pins down his rise in the professional ranks to divine direction.

Though he does not adhere to the strictures of Christianity in a manner in which he desires, the former New York Red Bulls left back says his unwavering trust and belief in God is the source of light that illuminates his path.

“First and foremost I want to thank God because without Him none of this would have been possible. I have to thank Him because it's not like this [transfer to Belgium] was something I knew about months, or even weeks before it happened, as this was a last-minute deadline transfer,” he told the Jamaica Observer from his home near the Belgian capital of Brussels.

Lawrence, 27, said there were times when he had to make a special effort to keep his focus as it would appear that his break into the lucrative European market would never come.

But as frustration mounted, he kept faith in his most valuable teammate — Almighty God.

“Sometimes when you as an individual think you should get that break, sometimes it doesn't happen on your timing, so for that I had to train my mind to be patient and not get overwhelmed and discouraged, not lose faith that this move would come, because God's timing is second to none and that is something that I have always believed, even though at times the wait can be frustrating.

“It's frustrating because you know you are doing all the right things and you can't see the move happening in the area that you want to go, so when this opportunity came through, the first thing I did was go down on my knees and pray because I had to really thank God,” said the former Harbour View FC man.

Lawrence, a Reggae Boyz veteran who started his competitive football life at Holy Family Primary and Infant School in the tough inner-city community of Southside, said growing up there was God's plan as the horrific experiences served to spawn and fortify his will to reach up and get out.

He was witness to personal tragedy where he lost relatives to crime and violence, plus he twice had family homes burnt to the ground.

A young Kemar Lawrence's eyes have seen the demons of life, and he knew then, as he knows now, that there must be another way out of the poverty and sense of hopelessness that suffocates the social underclass.

“Let me tell you what saved me most of all, it was God because He had a great impact on my life, and although I am not the most disciplined person in worshipping and being the person that I want to be spiritually, I feel like I am still growing and learning in that regard.

“Also, watching my family growing up and the things that they have been through, that really motivated me as I told myself that I was not going through what they had to go through. I didn't want to face the same struggles, I didn't want to face the problems we had growing up.

“I lost my home two times by fire. I had family members dying in front of me, and even after getting my first contract, I lost the love of my life, who was my grandmother [Norma Seymour], so I had more than one reason why I was motivated,” he recalled with an air of remorse in his trailing voice.

Lawrence, who attended Donald Quarrie High School, said football was the vehicle that transported him out of his reality, but his ugly past coupled with a fixity of purpose and soaring ambition was the fuel.

“Football is the reason I am where I am today, but I had the motivation long before I even kicked a ball. I had the reasons why I wanted to excel; I had the reasons why I wanted to leave the community before I started to play football, but the game is the reason why I am the person that I am and football showed me that I could be whoever I want to be,” he shared.

Married with four children, Lawrence believes that Jamaicans will continue, like the proverbial Phoenix, to rise from the ashes to the stages of greatness, because when all else fails, their undying love for God and that unique spirit that defines the nation's people, never do.

“Firstly, Jamaican people believe in God, plus the passion and the drive that we have…look at where three quarters of us come from, so we have to have that drive if we are going to make it out and be something.

“The perfect example is that some three quarters of the professional footballers who come out of Jamaica, check our background and where we come from — Arnett Gardens, Southside, Bull Bay, Tivoli, Waterhouse, Portmore; it's not Red Hills or Cherry Gardens, so you see why we have to have the drive and the passion as we want to make it out so we can make our families better,” Lawrence concluded.


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