On Friday 21st October 1994, in a white room with people in white coats and a lot of yelling (I presume), a chubby 3.4 kilogram girl was born. They named her Ivy, and her mother spoke over her life and said that her name Ivy, will mean a beautiful flower whose fragrance will draw people to Christ. Amen to that.
And on this Friday, just like that Friday, I will be turning 22. Yeeeeiiii (fireworks, bazookas, crisps and ice-cream)
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the office going about my usual work. I am doing an internship as mentioned here , and my fellow intern whom I always referred to as deskie (desk mate) because he sits next to me, wasn’t around. He had taken the day off to follow up on his certificate of good conduct. I remember joking to him and asking him to make sure he brings it to me so that I ascertain I’m not spending 40 hours every week with a felon.
He was supposed to have come in the morning and leave later to follow up on it. So I was of course perplexed when noon reached and he hadn’t shown up or called to give any information.
I made a metal note to call him once I left work and find out why he didn’t show up. At the end of the day, as I prepared to pick my bag and leave, my supervisor called me to her desk. When I went, she told me something that froze my entire body. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Juma is no longer with us”
My first reaction was a asking million questions? How? How is that even possible? How does one leave so quickly? A day hadn’t passed since last saw him. He had just graduated and was planning to start out his life. Why didn’t I call earlier? After shedding all the tears in my system, I later learnt that he was involved in a hit and run in the morning and lost his life before reaching the hospital.
That was heartbreaking and the hardest part is walking into the office daily, sitting on my desk, looking at the empty chair next to me and feeling his absence all day long.
Juma’s sudden death rocked me and at the same time, it has made me reflect on a lot. It’s made me change so many of the priorities I had set. Especially, the ones that revolved around money, wealth, beauty and anything with an expiration date on it.
It has made me realize that at the end of the day, we are living on borrowed time. We are just walking through this world. We are not here forever. And it us up to us to make the best of it. To erase and throw out anyone and anything that doesn’t add meaning to it.
To be happy, and to exude the same happiness to others. To walk with God daily, asking him for a deeper intimacy and being good stewards of everything He’s placed in our hands.
To take time and ask ourselves an important question that we ignore a lot. That being, “If my time to leave comes, where will I go?” Will I hear the words, “Welcome, good and faithful servant” or the ones I fear the most, “Depart from me for I do not know you”.
Will I miss a joyous eternity with God because I was too stubborn to accept him into my life?
It has been a mind bogging time for me, more so as I turn a year older.
Juma taught me a lot when he was alive. He was the kind of person who treated everyone with respect; whether you wiped the floor he walked on or ran the floor he worked in. He was always full of joy whether things were great or not, and one of the last things I told him before his demise was the many times he had lifted up my sprits when I was in a somber mood. He was a beautiful soul and up to now I’m still drawing lessons from his life.
So on Friday, as I turn 22, what I really want is joy. I’ve been having a pretty rough time adjusting to my 20s, to working, to growing up, to falling down and picking myself up and most of the times the motions have been keeping me low. And when I remember the joy Juma had, my prayer and the gift I want as I turn a year older is that. Joy in the face of lack, heartaches, tribulations and anything uncomfortable. I want God to teach me how to see the positive in every negative situation.
How to fix my focus on Him knowing He’ll get me through my fears of being a grown up, through the expectations I set for myself and hardly accomplish, through the heartaches I experience and anything else that basically makes life the bitter pill it is at times.
I don’t want to miss out on life because I’m busy sobbing over things I have no control on.