“You know about a person who deeply interests you more than you can be told. A look, a gesture, an act, which to everybody else is insignificant tells you more about that one than words can” – Henry D. Thoreau
Wednesdays are my favourite days – I was born premie on a Wednesday, it marks the middle of the week (an opportunity to improve and turn around from antecedents), it deviates slightly in nomenclature and it describes me perfectly and I wanna share this one.
“Whenever you are not living on the edge, it simply means that you are taking up too much space” these are the words Morgan Freeman has striven to adhere to since his encounter with Clint Eastwood and those same words resonated a chord within me when I heard them on Sunday because I have learnt that everything about life is a balance, and that balance is clearly evident in the beauty of the life and creation that surrounds us. And for me, living on the edge is a delicate balance that we all should strive to either by choice or by compulsion. I am greatly moved by the number of feedback that I have received from this simple but thoroughly enjoyable self assigned task of writing, and to the number of unique individuals all over the world who I have been privileged to come in contact with….I doff my hat and applaud them. Being different, even in little gestures by following this blog, liking a link or actually posting a comment, is such a monumental task especially in a world that consistently wants you to just be part of the crowd.
Yesterday was the service of songs of an old schoolmate of mine from High School, a sad loss because he was still in his prime and I recall my conversation with my old classmate about how much a living hell he almost made my life back then but what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. So thank you, Tabana (Tagbo Chuba Agbim) – may your soul truly find bliss! Going through Facebook, I was awed at the size of the crowd that were able to make out the time to make their presence felt (unfortunately I missed that of my friend, Debbie). In the words of my old classmate – Andy, someone who has also tried to be there for me, belonging to such an awesome group like the alumni of your High School is such a profound experience and at my last count, there are over 2,000 FGCW facebook members and this is no mean feat because I have also met some truly wonderful individuals there. Dee, you are always in my thoughts and HCM, thanks for the love.
I recently came across an article that stated the top 5 greatest regrets of the dying – Wishing you had the courage to truly express your feelings, Wishing you had stayed in touch with your friends (now it is pertinent to correctly define a friend as one who is neither scared to correct you when you are wrong nor scared to stand with you even when you are all alone) and Wishing you had let yourself be happier. Now how scary are these wishes because they epitomise the very fears that plague many of us today and still a countless number are too lily livered to confront their fears. Need I remind us of the inevitability of death? “Maybe the fact that when we do admit that death is inevitable, some of us may be bold enough to lead meaningful lives” – the sands of time will always be there if we acknowledge that making our lives sublime will ensure we do leave footprints behind when we are gone. And as I marvelled at the size of the crowd at Tabana’s funeral, I asked myself ‘why do we always wait till people are departed before we are bold enough to show those little gestures that go a long way than mere words or being just an attendee at a funeral?’
Each day arising in its splendour provides us with ample opportunities to be more resourceful in the lives we have been privileged to encounter, with special attention to those who we know are going through a tough patch at that point in time. Regardless of how irrelevant we choose to be, considering that your pocket list or to-do list begins and ends with you, one thing stands sure – you will either be remembered for what you did or what you did not do? John Ruskin says ‘A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package‘ and all around us, extremely tiny packages are bustling about, trapped in their fears of being unable to liberate themselves from self-centredness. How expensive is a kind word offered to someone in pain? How close to bankruptcy will sending a bouquet of flowers or a get well card or a gift to someone who is ailing bring you to? How fulfilled do you feel when you don your well pressed garments and sit in attendance at the funeral of someone who you were blessed to know, knowing that there were so many little gestures you could have chosen from to say ‘I care about you’ whilst the deceased was still alive? When do we actually bestir ourselves to actually begin to live a life as opposed to just existing?
I have the profound privilege of experiencing one of the countless blessings from God after staying many years with one of the lowliest individuals that can ever be found (and you really have to search for this category of individuals – they are committed to a life of misery, woe and an inevitable end), one who contracted the deadly HIV from her clandestine amorous affairs and sought to desperately pass it across by attempting to conceal it from me. I stand unscathed and stronger, and I can say without an iota of pride that when you truly give, you can never ever be disconcerted or discomfited. What is it about this 6-letter word (GIVING) that causes the pride of creation to suddenly choose to become a blithering being – a far position from your real position? And how much consolation will the sudden effusion after the life is gone really bring to you? WAKE UP! Look around you, the Tabanas, the Debbies don’t give a hoot anymore – you had the chance but you chose not to. Making that persistent choice to just be a face in the crowd and maybe if you aspire hard enough, an image in a group picture is definitely not the way to live a life sublime, least of all leaving footprints in the sands of time.
It is such an honour that I am living on the edge, and encountering unique individuals who are also doing so, even with the botox shots and the bouquet of medication whose side effects are often scarier than the effects of the drugs themselves. Individuals who despite their cramped fingers, painfully distorted muscles and limbs and tremor-giving ‘moves like Jagger’ can still find time to show those little gestures that tell you that they are still willing to give even when they ought not to. Being un-scared to talk about their fears and still be bold enough to see hope in the hopelessness that seems to assail them on all sides. I recall my last conversations with my attorney and solicitor and friend, and with regards to their question about how I was coping with the bills and related issues – I can say honestly thank you to all those who chose to say no and do nothing because like Albert Einstein, I also can say I did it by myself – strengthened all the way by Him who delights in me. We are all presented with opportunities daily to do something right, give of ourselves without fear because in truly giving, we experience not just happiness but joy (and I assure you the latter is definitely better and longer lasting).
I choose not to focus on the nay sayers or the dead seas that surround me, but instead reach within me and still give irrespective of how little these gestures may be because I am wholly convinced that my little will be transformed to much in the life of just at least one individual who desperately needs it. And so I say, to you, feel free to call on me and you will have a listening ear in the first instance because I know what a lonely road it is, being different and living on the edge, and how priceless true companionship is and together we can each proclaim “I AM STILL STANDING, bring it on!!!”
Remember, to live a life or simply exist is a choice that must be made, nonetheless the fact is we were created for purpose.
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