….Ubuntu!!!

Standard

image

There will never be the ideal time, that’s a myth in itself….we make out time for what counts to us (either by true perception or by sentiment, preferably the former) and the last few weeks have been a sad reminder of that. Just like Professor Dumbledore of Hogwarts in the fictional Harry Potter world, so many thoughts (like his memories so brilliantly captured in the movies) have been swirling round and round like a colourful kaleidoscope in this fascinating display I reserve in my mind. Special thanks to two outstanding individuals for being my muse this time around because I only needed to start with a word and they each in their own way nudged my hands. The Zeal behind Graeme Blaque and The Earl of Dunbroch (someday I’ll be honoured to be your guest).

Remarkably, I’ve been really occupied with stuff ranging from the inevitable daily unrelenting battles with myoclonus to the fervour of parenting combined with participating in putting together a reunion of my peers from College after 3 decades of that first encounter in the age long halls of our alma mater. And nothing so truly brings to life this truth that “Men and women are like wine, age bettering the good and souring the bad”. Needless to say that in every association, there will always be the good, the bad and the ugly (mind you, the latter actually comprises the first two and looks never really count). The task is aspiring to keep the balance tilted in the favourable position of the good or how else will change be wrought if we allow the seemingly natural dictate of today’s world, that so readily celebrates the bad and stultifies the emergence of good, to become the norm.

My buddy, The Earl so graciously shared this and with his tacit approval, I do same.

‘An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruits near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he gave them the signal to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran ran together, then sat in a circle enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they chose to run as a group when they could have had more fruit individually, one child spoke up and said “UBUNTU, how can one of us be be happy if all the others are sad?”…’

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa (Zulu) culture means: “I am because we are”

Now to many, this is just another of those many tales that gets hardly read before its so quickly shared on the scary and grossly misused world of social media but permit me to do what life has taught me, moreso since being diagnosed….it’s always in the details!

We have witnessed the birth of more than two generations now; the Generation X and the millennial so and so suffice to say that we have inadvertently been thrust into the world of imparting and mentoring but the question that begs answering is what can you give if you’ve got nothing. With the euphoria of reconnecting with so many distinguished individuals who inevitably played a role in making us who we’ve become, it’s very easy to get caught up in the rip tide of a river that’s been dammed for over 25 years and is now opened up. Nostalgic memories, childhood pranks, mischief and some choices that still haunt us today, like many of today’s kids, we had our own fill but now inexorably, roles are reversed and we have to give back…willingly or unwillingly, the choice is yours.

It is with a profound sense of pride that I can see representatives and peers strategically placed all over the world. From the glossy pages of the Forbes magazine to the pages of a cuisine book. From the oil wells in North America to the swampy but rich oil oilfields of the Niger Delta. From the sterile wards and surgical theatres of the best hospitals in developed countries to the derelict and abandoned communities in 3rd world countries where the almost forgotten are being taught community medicine. From the rapidly skimming boats and choppers conveying Safety Professionals and operatives from platform to platform to the Entrepreneurs slogging it out daily through chaotic traffic striving to grow their businesses. From the corporately dressed executives walking the halls of financial institutions in West Africa and Europe to the Stock Trader on the London trading grounds. From the literary uprisers to the parent who despite the looming recession, caters to the needs of their kids and home by whatsoever means possible. From the Metropolitan London Officer to the Investigator in West Africa. From the school administrators & teachers to the Optometrist working with kids in Europe, I can go on and on however just like a burst of pollen, we have all been dispersed by fate on the winds of life to wherever we find ourselves today.

Needless to say that we are who we are because we were inadvertently influenced by the lives that so sublimely surrounded us then and still surrounds us today. Now despite the frenetic and fragmented picture that today’s society shows us, we dare not stop fighting for positive change and development. It is so easy to believe that we are, simply because we did! Now that in itself sounds weird because no man is an island. We weather storms each day, and each day just like I do, I pick myself up regardless of how bruised I may be and I choose. I choose to reach out and grab just one more hand, grab that hand to pull someone else along towards the finish line because there is so much desolation out there and people just need to see that someone else cares. I have seen and experienced compassion from the strangest of places and the least expected however each tiny gesture aided me in making the choices by which I live today.

Now, life comprises season and every action proves a response or a reaction; equal or not. Now is the time for us to give back. Now is the time to reach across time and space, get someone else’s hands and pull each other towards fulfilment. Or how comfortable would you be with a stomach distended and engorged with the niceties of life while right across you, a homeless starving person is in your line of sight. Again, it’s a choice that has to be made but this thought I bring to you that notwithstanding where you are, what you are, the hue of your skin, the texture,tone or accent of your spoken words;  there’s but one common denominator to us all humans and that is, we all bleed red! No greater unifying factor than the blood that courses through our body signifying the presence of life exists, I dare opine.

As I mark this phase of life along with my compadres from every work and facet of life, battling each new day with its own unique challenges, I admonish everyone who has taken the time to accompany me on this journey that “I am because we are” and so let’s reach across every divide created by man, throw off the unnecessary weights of class, wealth, fame etc and link hands with each other and make our way together in the spirit of humanity and brotherhood to the celebration of life…..”BACK TO WAFFI 2017! Remember that the difference between ‘I’ and ‘WE’ is just one letter, let that one letter be at the very least someone else and no greater joy exists than one shared with others.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

Adios!

Reflections from the Mirror…..

Standard

Embrace who you are but be YOU!

“When I see you, I think “I wonder which face she sees when she looks into the mirror.” – C.JoyBell C.

I, undeniably, am of the school of proselytes that inexplicably concur to the notion that karma is a female dog. I truly love dogs and I am forever grateful to my parents for schooling me about responsibility when I received Scooby as my 3rd birthday present and since that day, I have never looked back. Sometimes I genuinely believe that dogs are not just man’s best friend but that one friend that stands way above the pack. I am still unsuccessful in building up my dream pack of dogs like I once had in the past but oh well, I have got tomorrow to look forward to. As is the case with everything known to man, there are the pros and cons, the good and the bad but fortunately we have that one unique feature that many of us are too petrified to use – choice.  I am looking forward to getting a new Labrador very soon, how long? I really do not know but what is the whole essence of life devoid of faith because we can only aspire for as long as we can dream. Dreams! a figment of our imagination or a myriad of events to be that the Almighty weaves into our fragile minds?

I was privileged to be at the theaters a couple of days watching “The Good Lie” and suffice to say that I was among the only three people seated in a room capable of holding over 250 people, a poor showing and attendance. I did look up the movie online and saw that it made slightly over $1m, however just like the movie, again we are faced with the dilemma of being gauged by what people think of us or accepting the reality of who we are and therefore commit to walking our own unique path. I have long come to accept that regardless of what people are faced with, the choice of what they see and go away with is theirs and theirs alone. At several times in the movie, I was faced with the startling reminder that whilst tears are an expression of our emotions, our actions thereafter are not in direct correlation with those emotions – they are a willful determined sequence of events laid out and orchestrated by us, whether it is in response to our insatiable greed or our conscience, we play them out as we deem it necessary. In my opinion, that is something that we should dare to determine and just maybe, the onslaught of decay and decadence that is overwhelming us can be slowed down and just a few more lives be saved.

Needlessly, I always remind you that I am a continuous survivor of an incurable neurological disorder known as myoclonus but it has only spurred me on to heights that I previously thought unattainable as against quenching the beautiful life and spirit God placed within me. I have read about, listened to and witnessed the tales of war child Emmanuel Jal amongst others and while his story provokes so much despondency as to the nature of man, I did spend 5 years with a mythomane and so the ground rules are almost alike. When life casts you adrift an ocean of wrecks and flotsam, an unshakable thirst is born (an incomprehensible desire for truth that is so fleeting); one is forced to pause and take bearings again because that brief pause may just save your life. Undeniably, in acquiescence to life’s abhorrence of vacuum, you will definitely have to concede some painful losses but without some form of bearing, where are you headed? because “even if a river flows with milk, a dog can take in only one lick at a time” – Tamil Proverb

Brazen faced, I remember the times just after the diagnosis was made and I was faced with the fact that this was going to be and still is one very expensive battle and as we are usually wont to so badly believe, there are some people out there who have the financial resources to make a difference in just one person’s ‘south-going’ circumstances; I sent out series of correspondences to as many as I felt would utilize their ears. The result? Complete humility and a deep birthed trust in The One who steps in when we are at the end of our rope, because what kept me going were the actions of just a few from the myriad of people I had come to know. On its own, it definitely was not an antidote to depression but I made the choice to look myself in the mirror and remind myself that I was created with just one face notwithstanding the hugely popularly misconstrued context of this quote “humans feel a need to prove they are the dominant race of a species and they inadvertently take kindness for weakness from another individual” – C.J Dorner.  I do myself this gargantuan favor each waking day, reminding myself that my actions are solely mine and so I school myself each day in the fact that I should never grow weary of well doing, because no matter how much I try to infer that the reaction will be good – it is not always the case.

Truth be told, that I have learned that we all have a certain amount of days apportioned to us and one day, with all certainty, the clock is gonna stop ticking and no matter how much regrets we feel, there is absolutely nothing we can do thereafter. What we must live with is what did we do when we had the chance? A new season has set in, and as I sat listening to the gentle words of wisdom by Pastor Ernest Zilch at his retirement service last night, I reassured myself that life is all that we choose to make of it – however the memories and consequences of our choices will always outlive us. The impact of those memories will either better a life or worsen it, for when we are done on this fragile earth, the harsh reality of how we lived our lives will stare us in our face for all eternity. As you behold yourself today, make a verbal note to that reflection – we were not created to be two faced. Let that which you behold be a source of dignity and pride to the One who made you, for in giving then we can truly receive, and choose not worthless edifices of numbered days, but choose that which you will forever be glad that you gained.

Remember “It’s great to reminisce about good memories of my past. It was enjoyable when it was today. so learning to enjoy today has two benefits: it gives me happiness right now, and it becomes a good memory later” – George Foreman

עד שנפגש שוב בזמן שלו, לא דגל לבן הוא אי פעם הולך לתלות מהמשקוף שלי

Adios!