In life there are always opportunities to learn and grow, becoming a better person with every new experience. For Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson, those times came when he was least expecting them, but because of his book MY FAITH KEPT ME GOING others can realize what is possible for them, regardless of where they come from.
Written in a way that is part reflection and inspirational, Johnson takes us into the personal journey of his world, whether it was dealing with the relationship of his parents or fighting to stay afloat in the world of vices that surrounded him.
Without a doubt one of the events that changed him completely was the death of his father. "After my dad passed," he writes "I went from no worries in the world to wondering how I was going to eat or even pay bills. There were times I didn’t see a way out. I didn’t know what my future held. Crime, drugs, and violence surrounded me, but I knew that my dad wanted more for me."
The thing that had always been a constant in his life was basketball, but the way life unfolded for him caused even that to be called into question. Because he had the knowledge of what his father would want for him, Johnson was able to realize when individuals came into his life that were there to push him into his own personal greatness. "When I lost my dad," he says, "I also lost sight of basketball and why I even played. My mom did what she could, but for a while, I was a different person. My dad was gone, my brother was going to college, and I felt like I didn’t have a father figure around.
"I was more into girls and cars. Since my brother and I got my dad’s insurance settlement, I thought I was rich. I went out and bought a new car with the most expensive rims. My little league coach, Rob Tillman, stepped in and was a major part in my transition. I remember that he would have college scouts and coaches come visit me. I’d never show up because I thought that cars were more important. He once told me, 'These girls ain’t nothing compared to basketball and your future. You’ll have more girls than you can imagine in college.' Suddenly a light went on in my head. I started to look at him as more of a father figure.
"Having Coach Rob be there for me meant the world to me. He showed me that there was something bigger than just New Orleans, bigger than cars, and bigger than me."
At the end of each chapter Johnson allows us to take his story and make it our own, asking ourselves what we have learned and what we will share. This is a book that is bigger than basketball. It is a story of finding your way and staying on the path.
MY FAITH KEPT ME GOING releases on Tues. June 24th and is available for pre-order now.