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Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Life Well Lived

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Ashford with his guitar


So reads the newspaper headline of a report in the Trinidad Express of my brother-in-law's passing a couple weeks ago. Ashford Joseph lost his battle with prostate cancer at the age of 67. He left to mourn his wife, three daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters and thousands of students and fans. Ashford was regarded as a musical icon in his country. In addition to teaching music in several schools, Ashford was founder and principal of Joseph School of the Arts, which spawned many musicians. Ashford trained church choirs, wrote songs (calypsos) for many prominent calypsonians, wrote  books and films and performed the duties of husband, father, and grandfather.

But the amazing thing about Ashford is that he accomplished all this while being blind. He began losing his sight at the tender age of eight, but he did not allow this to stand in the way of his love for the arts. In an interview a few years ago, Ashford stated, "Blindness is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. I have come to terms with the loss of my sight. It does not bother me to the extent of feeling sorry for myself." To achieve his goals, Ashford took classes in Braille, psychology and journalism. From my interactions with him, I know he also had a strong faith in God. 

Ashford's legacy is a rich one. He fulfilled his calling to the best of his ability, and did not allow adversity to stand in his way. There are so many lessons we can learn from his life - his faith, his perseverance, his resilience.

As I think of him, several pieces of scripture come to mind: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4: 7

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4: 13

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3 : 14.

Read more about Ashford here:

I have come to terms with my loss of sight. It does not bother me to the extent of feeling sorry for myself. - See more at:
Blindness is not the end but the beginning of a new life; - See more at:
Blindness is not the end but the beginning of a new life; - See more at:


Evelyn said...

Oh, Angela! What a wonderful inspiration this has been to read about your brother. I'm so sorry for your loss. He truly sounds like someone who let his light shine for the Lord in the midst of adversity and with such a positive spirit. I'm praying for you and all those others who loved your brother that God will comfort you and give you peace.

quietspirit said...

I am sorry for your loss. You will see him again.

Angela Joseph said...

Thanks, Evelyn, for your kind comments. He was an inspiration to us all.

Angela Joseph said...

Thanks, Cecelia! That's the blessed hope we have in Christ, that we will see our loved ones again.