There’s something my mother has been saying this year,
‘onye si ka o ka ya njo, o ka ya njo’
It translates as ‘anyone who says their problem is the worst, will experience the worst.
It’s all about perspective and mindset.
You see, let no man deceive you, we all have problems. This year has been particularly challenging for many individuals and on a global scale.
So many of us have experienced different forms of setbacks but when you hear some people’s problems, you must turn your complaint to thanksgiving.
You will notice how once there is a health challenge, every other problem is relegated to the back burner. Even with health challenges there are levels. You are complaining about your back ache and yet so many people these days are battling terminal diseases.
When my dad passed suddenly at Easter, I thought I was going to die. I felt emotions and depression like I had never felt before. I felt the circumstances made my grief unbearable. I was in denial for so long.
Then my denial changed to anger and then to disappointment as I felt deeply hurt by the actions and inactions of a number of people.
At the same time, the impact of the pandemic hit my business. Still battling with grief, I didn’t even have the mental capacity to manage myself let alone a business. I was a zombie on bad days and a robot on good days. To cope, I stopped doing any work that would impact negatively on my mental health and I cut off all relationships that served no positive purpose. Revenue nose-dived but my dear, I chose life for the sake of my family.
I was a hot mess, infact I am not sure I should be speaking in past as I am still work in progress.
One day, as I was still wallowing in self-pity, I stumbled on a Super Soul Sunday video interview by Oprah. The episode was about a woman, Madonna Badger who lost her father, mother and three children in a fire at her house, and of all days, on Christmas day.
My heart was wrenching as I watched it. She attempted suicide several times and so for about a year, she was treated as a mental case. No one, not even the doctors knew how to treat her. The level of mental trauma was too much to diagnose, let alone treat.
I kept asking myself, how and why should one human being be allowed to live through such tragedy. What type of gruesome life lesson is this? I kept thinking, how does she find the will to live? What makes her get up every morning? With my one loss, I felt a part of my life was cut short, so please how on earth can this woman survive this?
It was in her interview she explained, that we can’t think our way out of our problems, we must act, we must take action. On how she has coped so far, her response was ‘I never stopped loving.’ She said, ‘the love I have for my girls and for my parents is so strong. That love has kept me alive.’ She explained how she felt their strong presence whenever she felt good and how she couldn’t feel them anytime she was filled with negative emotions. She also returned to work a year after, and through more meaningful work, she has found purpose and more reason to stay alive.
If you had challenges this year, my dear, you are not alone, we are many in that boat. You worked double and got half pay? My dear, you are not alone, you could even work. You are mentally exhausted or depressed? My dear, many of us feel the same way. You lost your job or your salary was cut? Please remember those who are ill and the many who lost their lives.
If you are alive and your family is complete this year, thank God, be extra grateful, you are in a better position than many of us.
It was only yesterday, I was telling my husband who’s had an equally rough year that things can always be worse. I had to remind him that as bad as it seemed, it could be worse and many more people have it worse. I reminded him of all the other manifestations of God’s grace in our lives. The children are fine, infact healthier and happier than ever, despite the financial setbacks and losses, we didn’t go borrowing and we are still alive to take care of our children and still offer a helping hand to others. I realise now, that life in itself is a gift, a gift of hope, that things can turnaround in your favour tomorrow.
All year, when people have asked me how I am doing, I simply say, ‘we thank God’ because I have looked at all the losses of the year and remind myself that it could still be worse.
When we face challenges, what matters is how we see things and how we cope. What support system do you have and most importantly, what’s your mindset?
‘onye si ka o ka ya njo, o ka ya njo’
My prayer for you this Christmas is simple. That you and yours remain anointed and in good health.
That God’s grace restores all you have lost till your cup overflows.
That by God’s mercy, you will never experience problems bigger than you can cope, and when they appear so, you will cast your worries on Him who cares for us.
That the souls of the faithful departed, will rest in peace.
Let us also remember the people who were there for us in small and big ways. Some may seem strong and together, but trust me, everyone has problems. Reach out to them and say thank you and more importantly remember them in your prayers.
It’s Christmas, and yes it will be a more difficult one for so many this year. If this message has touched you in anyway, please think of someone whose situation is worse than yours and offer them help. Whether in cash, food or kind, or simply giving them those things that you really don’t need.
Everyone, whatever our problems, still has the capacity to give.
Remember, it is in giving that we indeed receive.
And the spirit of Christmas is a generous one.