How are we doing today? I hope we’re all living strong, or at least trying to in the face of difficulties that seem like cannot be overcome.
5:30 am, about three months ago, I encountered what most people would call a panic attack. I couldn’t breathe, and it felt like a part of me was being ripped out of my chest. I had to be carried down from my bed by my roommates who were left in anxiety for about 15-20 minutes until I calmed down. When dawn broke, I called my parents to explain what had happened. I remember my mum saying “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine”. She didn’t tell me Omotola had left us then. I continued normal school life until a week after, a mutual friend of our families asked me about her. Naturally, I said she was fine because I had called the day before, and was told that she was doing okay, the doctors were still checking up on her, and that I should keep praying for her. You can imagine what a rude shock it was for me to hear that my elder sister, mentor and best friend had passed away, and that too, just few hours to my first ever examination as an undergraduate. To be honest, I have no idea of what I wrote in that paper, because it was done in tears. I was so heart broken, hurt and angry. Heart broken because I had lost my favourite person, hurt because everyone had to put on a facade for my sake, even after I knew the truth already, and I was angry at myself. Mama(Omotola) used to call me her guardian angel, and in our last conversation, she spoke casually about “killing pains”. At that point, I promised to pray for her, but it felt like I didn’t pray enough when I learnt of her passing. Coupled with some other happenings, I began to blame myself, and depression began to set in. I couldn’t relate well with friends, couldn’t eat or sleep, I couldn’t even pray. It felt like my life had taken a downward turn and spiralled down the drain.
In this imbalanced emotional mind frame, I lost touch with the Father. There was no communication, became a walking corpse – I was empty inside, and the devil had me at the snap of his fingers but for God’s love and His everlasting grace that spoke for me. All I wanted then was for her to come back, or to realize that it was all a bad dream. It was my only desire until I saw her dressed like a chorister in indescribable glory. It was then it dawned that she lived strong to the very end, and in her words, “Eternity is all that matters”. However, all of my hurt and frustration did not go away just like that or at once, I’ve had to have spiritual therapy and talk to people on days it feels like I’m at an all time low.
Warriors, reading again through one of the poems I read sometimes ago, was when I understood what living strong really entails. You can claim to live strong when life is rosy, when ” all things are going on without an hitch”. The true test of living strong is when it seems like it is all over, but you persevere not because it is a simple job, but because you have His backing. When life throws shades at you, you fall, but you fall on Jesus who gives you that push to get up, again and again until you overcome. To be brave, or in this case, Living strong is not to stand alone or handle it by yourself, its not a one person job, but rather a team effort. Life sure is full of difficulties and challenges, and it may seem too shitty to handle at some point, you may feel like ending all of the pain and unhappiness. Then again, living strong takes trust in the saviour, a conscious effort of accepting the fact that He’ll never let you drown, and that His everlasting love and grace is poured out on you at all times, if only you believe and tap into it.
There are days the devil will try to rear his ugly head, but please remember that it is not over until God says it is. OmoT has a good laugh now, in that place where “peace and happiness shines at all corners, and hangs at all borders”. She wants that for us too. Challenges are just a phase – it’s a bend, but not the end. Live life in view of that.
Till we all meet there,
Keep living strong.
Olagoke Favour Oluwatosin.