What shall I say unto the Lord? All I have to say is thank you Lord… To God be the glory, adoration, and praise! Who is like unto Thee? There is none. Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Raffa, I praise you Elohim!
(Hymn writer, Charles Wesley)
And are we yet alive,
And see each other’s face?
Glory, and praise to Jesus give
For His redeeming grace.
What troubles have we seen,
What conflicts have we passed,
Fightings without and fears within,
Since we assembled last.
Thank you, God, for witnessing another year and the beginning of another decade of my life. Embracing my new age is acknowledging that growing old is a privilege denied to many including my very own son Jeggan, my beloved sister Olabisi, my cherished niece Jorjoh, as well as countless others. So, as I celebrate of my new age, I do so with so much gratitude, and love. I feel immensely blessed for every day that I get to wake up.
“Through all the changing scenes of life in trouble and in joy, the praises of my God shall still, my heart and tongue employ.” Despite the changing scenes of my life, particularly in the last decade; the struggles and pain endured, I am still alive, unbowed, determined to run the race that is set before me because the One who has called me is faithful. I am an embodiment of God’s grace and mercy.
Clearly, the last decade of my life was challenging but I am still grateful for my journey – the trials and the blessings. Life for me at the beginning of the last decade was relatively normal. Career wise, I was doing well and traveling the world. Also, my son, Jeggan was completing his post graduate program and about landing his dream job. Adding to that, I had personally completed a major project as well as a number smaller ones. By all measure, I had many of life’s boxes checked; the ostensive “dream” that I spent many years of my life chasing was about to become a reality and well within my grasp. So, I thought, right? Then came the moment of truth when Fate struck, stopped me right in my tracks, pried open my clenched fist releasing the very people and things I foolishly and selfishly laid claim to. Almost instantly, I lost control of those very same things I thought I had control over – my child, my job, my finances, my lifestyle as well as my general security. In one fell swoop, everything was gone; relinquished or surrendered. All I could do was watch helplessly as my life spiraled out of control while being faced with life and death decisions. From that moment on the dynamics as well as the trajectory of my life was completely altered.Pondering as to how everything went down so quickly, I could only recall that it all started the Christmas week of 2012 while I was preparing in earnest for the up-coming festive season. First, came the distressing mid-night call informing me of my gravely ill my son. I literally dropped everything and sprang into action. Within days of receiving the news I made my way out of the country to be with my son whom I nursed for nearly two years. Providentially, right in the nick of time, God directed the Lipsy family to become part of our journey. From the moment we met at the hospital, Dr Lipsy and his family were gracious and supportive. Their selfless acts of love, kindness, and compassion continue even to this day. I will forever be grateful to my newfound family whose unconditional love reinforced my faith in humanity. Truly, there are still good people in the worldThe next domino to fall was my job, this was a job I idolized and selflessly slaved over for many years, but it had to go too. My job was no longer of much significance and didn’t matter anymore. One by one the dominos of my life fell over creating a domino effect that permeated every facet of my life. I literally became a spectator in my own world as everything I was attached to basically vanished. All around me was chaos, and instability. Nothing made sense anymore. The hurricane that blew through my life left a trail of destruction. Exhausted and feeling stuck and doleful, I was forced to confront my situation and deal with the nagging question as to how to move forward with whatever was left of my life at that point. Instead, what followed was a prolong period of intense grief, loneliness, emptiness, and despair. Nonetheless, with the abundance of support coming from people around me and sometimes total strangers, slowly but surely, I began to pull myself out the doldrums. Despite everything, I never let go of my faith and completely placed my hope and trust in God.
The beauty of my journey is the fact that blessings have always been part of the mix even though I failed to recognize them at the time: I was so self- absorbed to the extent that my challenges became my object of focus instead of the blessings. It was a blessing to be constantly surrounded and supported by a host of people particularly Jeggan’s incredible and amazing friends. They always showed up and stayed present. Jeggan was blessed to have had such caring, loving, and compassionate friends in his life. To this day, I am intrigued by their kindness and abounding love still get calls from them checking on my well-being. I lost a child but, in the process, gained so many more children and grandchildren. What a blessing to still be addressed as mom. They will never be forgotten and how they made me feel especially at a time when I was down and out. I owe it to every one of them a debt of gratitude and hope to one day pay the kindness forward. God bless you all.
Having been in a state of inertia for what seemed like eternity, moving forward, I challenged myself to make my journey count by adding value and purpose to it. The process of getting back on my feet has been gradual, but also illuminating and empowering. This is being done through new learning experiences, practices, and skills. Practicing self-care through meditation and mindfulness keeps me focused and grounded in my journey. Hindsight is 20/20 so the practice of non- attachment to people and things has been a huge learning curve. Another practice is learning to be present in the now. EcKhart Tolle in his book, The Power of Now emphasizes the present moment which is all we have and how to make NOW the primary focus. Another new found love of mine is my treasure trove of life changing books which is important and beneficial to living my life purposefully: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, The Power of Now, The Untethered Soul, Minimalism and Ikigai are just a few of the books I keep by my bedside
So, as I begin to make my way through another year and possibly another decade or more, I do so with utmost grace, humility, and greater awareness of the brevity of life. Much as I am unaware of what tomorrow holds for me, one thing is certain though and that is I know who holds tomorrow. All the same, I stand on the threshold of another year ready to step out in faith confident that the God who has been with me in the last decade and every step of my journey will continue to direct my path and order my steps for as long as I have breadth. Much as I am excited about this next phase of my journey and see where it takes me, sadly, it will be another year without my son. Nonetheless I can still hear him say to me, ‘It’s all good, Mom’. More than ever before, living life purposefully is of the essence.
“If life be long, I will be glad, if short why should I complain, For Christ has no darker room than He has been before.”
So, happy birthday to my twin sister Taiwo and my very self! At the end of it all, I feel immensely blessed to be alive.
I end my reflections in the words of the hymn writer Joseph Barnby
I know not what may befall me.
God tenderly shades my eyes:
So, each step in my onward path
He makes new scenes arise;
And every joy He sends me comes
As a sweet and strange surprise.
I see not a step before me,
But I journey without fear:
The past is still in God’s keeping;
The future His mercy will clear;
And what looks dark in the distance
Will brighten as I draw near.
For perhaps the dreaded future
Has less bitter than I think:
The Lord may sweeten the waters
Before I stoop to drink;
Or, if Marah must still be Marah,
He will stand beside the brink.
Then maybe, He has waiting,
For the coming of my feet
Some gifts of such rare blessedness,
Some joy so passing sweet,
That my lips shall only tremble
With the thanks they cannot repeat.
I journey on not knowing;
I would not if I might:
I would rather walk in the dark with God
Than walk alone in the light:
I would rather walk with Him by faith
Than walk alone by sight. Amen
Happy birthday Kehinde! I dedicate my birthday to all of Jeggan’s wonderful friends.
Note To Self:
Embrace your journey and follow the path to wherever it takes you,
Everything is going to be alright – Be patient with yourself
I wish I had read my new collection of books much earlier on in my life
You have caused men to ride over our heads ; We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
Happy 60th birthday! Teary eyes after reading but highly inspired. I am further assured of trusting and having faith in God.
Happy birthday my beautiful strong sister. What a strong moving piece. God can do anything.