Praying is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are faced with one disappointment after another. But you see, life has a manipulative way of teaching us gratitude and humility regardless of how prepared we are.
I was listening to one of Empire’s incredible songs called “GOOD PEOPLE” ft Yazz and Jussie Smollett a few weeks back when I was suddenly overpowered by unexpected emotions. Every one of us has lost someone close to their hearts at some point and I am sure we can all agree that it hurts like shit. Such a loss can yield an individual to completely give up on life or even use this as an excuse to escape many things; it can suck dry the little faith and hope left in you, lead you into a dark atmosphere filled with negativity and hate.
A few years back a friend of mine was at that dark place. Her parents had passed away when she was only in matric (just before her preliminary exams). The pain of losing both parents was unbearable for her especially during that period in life when she needed their support the most. She woke up every morning feeling like she was carrying a lot of baggage on her shoulders and wondering why the world is such a cruel place.
The thought of popping one pill after another crossed her mind several times; end it all with a pack of pills, end it all and never have to deal with the hurt, misery, pain and disappointments. Tears fell down her red cheeks as she indulged in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd pill. But she couldn’t bring herself to actually committing suicide over something that she absolutely had no control over.
Instead, she started thinking about all the sacrifices her parents had made to ensure that she got the education she deserved. She couldn’t bear the thought of waking up one day to realize that all her parents’ efforts and sacrifices were done in vain. How could she dare be ungrateful for all the opportunities that will present themselves following the completion of her matric exams?
She couldn’t overlook the fact that she still had a promising life ahead, and that she still had a chance to make them proud (she owed them that much).
Listening to the song “GOOD PEOPLE” has made me realise how true it is that “often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” We focus more on our problems, flaws and all the other negative things happening around and to us that we fail to see what we have been blessed with. We forget that often we have to first undergo darkness and sadness in order for us to understand and appreciate light and happiness.
I know a lot of people who have made bad choices in life and then blamed it on their unfavourable situations. But this young lady refused to let her loss be the reason for her failure in life.
As hard as things were for her, she closed the pack of pills and chose to acknowledge that life is not easy, that we are bound to come across sufferings, discomfort, disappointments and plenty of challenges in this world; that we will get angry, bitter and cry now and then. We are likely to lose everything and everyone for nothing in this world lasts forever and life has no formula. We live each day as it comes. She finally made a decision to look beyond her pain, hurt, misery and focused on the brighter side of life.
She passed her matric excellently with impressive marks which at the end opened up many bursary opportunities for her. Something many people who are not even faced with such tragedy fail to do.
God didn’t favour her more than he does all of us. And no it wasn’t a miracle or luck. She didn’t have any special powers or gifts. She became successful even with such challenges and set-backs, without any support whatsoever because she had a purpose in life, a goal at which to aim, a plan of action. She was determined, hardworking, persistent, disciplined and most importantly, she prayed every day and “COUNTED HER BLESSINGS AND NOT HER LOSSES”.
There’s so much to be grateful for, we are still alive, still capable and able and no matter how fucked up our lives may seem right now, the sun will always shine the next day! Christopher Reeve once said “A HERO IS SOMEONE WHO FINDS THE STRENGTH TO PERSEVERE AND ENDURE IN SPITE OF OVERWHELMING OBSTACLES.”
So yes, life can be pain in the butt sometimes. but let’s always remember,
‘So much pain, it’s still a lesson
Sometimes it rains, it’s still a blessing
You never see the silver lining in the cloud, and so you doubt it
You never know how much you truly have until you go without it
One day it’s going to turn into another season
You’re going to see that all your tragedy you had was for another reason
It’s just a temporary goodbye
So you got to keep your head high
The rain is coming down and it’s pouring
But joy is going to come inside the morning”
~ Bryshere Y. Gray (Hakeem on Empire)