Today. 7 years ago. Thursday the 11th day of August. The year is 2011.
A normal mundane day. Two children are taking breakfast as their mother prepares to go to work. Papa is dressing up as well so that they leave together.
‘Chwaa! Chwaa!’ the comb runs through their mother’s luscious hair. The youngest one, a boy this one, is calling out to his mother to help him take a piss. Suddenly, the comb slips and falls on the floor. She tries to pick it, then it slips yet again. Her daughter is watching all this unfold like a dream. The mother gropes for the couch and settles slowly in it. She stares at her two youngest children and tries to talk to them. No sound comes out. Her voice is gone. Her mobility is gone. The rest of the day whirls like a nightmare. A rushed hospital visit. Scans. The frantic need for money. Ambulance rides. A million and one calls. Fear. Uncertainty. This day will remain forever etched in their minds. The rug is suddenly pulled from under their feet.
The second daughter, a bony 16 year old figure is away at school. Blissfully oblivious of the rug no longer beneath her feet. Preparations for the upcoming KCSE take up all her energies. The previous day she was on the phone with her mother who assured her she is praying for her. This motivates her to sync her energies into this. Little does she know her mother’s prayers will not be forthcoming for a very long time to come.
Days slide over each other. Slower than usual. Longer even.
Mama shows signs of improvement. She smiles feebly when she is visited by the people she particularly likes. This encourages them to keep believing for a miracle. Only that God has something else in mind. He is preparing to teach them what healing is. Miracles are instant. Healing is a journey. You notice the transformation little by little. Healing of the body. Souls. And minds. Friends and family hold their hands. They pray for them and with them. Immense financial support comes through. People make sacrifices. A month and some days or so, the daughter slaving away in school calls her father. The physics teacher has noticed that lately she is aloof. He keeps on calling her out in class and asks what is with the absent mindedness. She rattles about her mother being in hospital and the teacher offers his phone. Hoping and praying for some miracle. Papa tells her that mama can now speak. She requests that he puts her on the phone. Calling out ‘mum!’ timidly, she awaits her response. Her mother’s voice crackles through. Groggy. Heavy. Mumbling incomprehensible words. Yet this is the best sound for her up to date. The voice of her mother back. It will always beat any music she has heard and will ever hear. Heck! It sounds better than the sound of laughter. It is the sound of hope. The sound of resilience. The sound of life. The sound that grounds her.
Adjustments have to be made. The children, in between forced laughter, tears and swollen eyes, ask each other since it is said that everything happens for good, what good is this happening for. Whose good. What reason. They fail to wrap their minds around this. Their father becomes their greatest pillar of human strength. How he tenderly takes care of his wife with quiet determination.
The good that happens in this, is that now everyone has to find a balance. With the rug no longer underneath their feet, it is now getting cold. It feels naked. Exposed. The children have to anchor to something, someone, anyone. This draws them closer to each other than ever before. No one has the time and energy and the time to squabble over who eats the topmost slice of bread anymore. Or why the youngest seems to be highly favoured. No more logging heads with their mother about teenage boys. Their hearts are united on one thing and one thing only. They realize they only have each other now. They have to be strong.
Tragedy has a way of drawing people closer to God. Now, they have to hang on every word of encouragement from the Bible, the Word. Lyrics of songs that they used to sing hurriedly through before this, now hold such a depth. They sing slowly, savouring every word. Talking earnestly to God becomes a norm. They now have to talk to God about their mama. A stark difference from when their mama talked to God about them. Another lesson is also in who their closest family and friends are. Times of inconvenience serve to show us who is really in it deep with us, for the long haul. Some friends are lost, and others gained.
7 years later. A profound journey of healing. Thanksgiving. A family whose bonds are still intact. A journey of learning, albeit painfully, to trust fully in God. To lean on Him for comfort and strength. Trusting in His divine providence. 7 years of old strong friendships, and new ones to make up for the lost ones.
Dear Resplendants, as we reflect on this one, let us draw a few lessons from it;
- Everyone has a story. None is richer or trivial compared to the other. Life is not about comparison. It is about sharing our stories. And listening to stories even more. Everything is beautiful in its own way.
- Seek God all the time. Do not wait for tragedy or really difficult circumstances to force you to seek solace in Him. He is God in all seasons. Life is like a fleeting glance. Today we are here, the next minute, day or second we are lying motionless and cold. Better to make things right while you can.
- Love everyone. It is difficult to do that on our own. However, when God comes in our hearts, He fills us with so much love that we only want to share it. People might walk away when it is no longer convenient for them to stick around. Friends. Family. However, do not hold it against anyone. Do nothing but love. Wait not for tragedy to force you to look into the sad eyes your wife, your sister, your children.
- Trust the journey. We are an impatient generation who have a liking for instant things. Instant fame. Instant coffee. Instant weight loss. Instant wealth. You will miss out on the beauty in the small things that make a journey as you chase instants.
- Be present today. Do not just drift by or watch life drift by waiting to die. Be present in your own life and in other people’s lives. Be there. Solid. Reliable.
- Live a day at a time and believe that there is a reason for everything. Do not let events in life cripple you. You lost your dad? Somehow you have got to find your footing again. Your brother is resting in glory? Take heart and trust God to take you through each day.
- God is all you will ever need. God is enough.
AN AVID READER OF THIS SPACE IS CELEBRATING HIS WEDDING TODAY. WELL, HAPPY NUPTIALS MUSAKHULU. WELL APPRECIATED. WISHING YOU, AND YOUR LOVELY BRIDE A LIFETIME OF LOVE AND LAUGHTER.