Everyone you meet is fighting a secret battle. Let’s be kind.
The poems above are a series of contrasts and paradoxes which show the fragility of human existence and the assertion that we are all subject to eventual death, despite our best efforts to protect ourselves. And if we know that, shouldn’t that inform how we live? Shouldn’t we be kind to ourselves and others? Knowing that one day, we’ll move on from this part of heaven?
The second part of the stanza reveals themes of strength and resilience in the face of sorrow and adversity, and after destruction or decay, new growth and life will emerge. This poem played into the unfolding tragedy in Turkey and Syria, where over 17,000 people have sadly died. I know the raw emotions and despair of losing a loved one, but time heals all wounds, and I pray that anyone reading this will hold on to hope despite their adverse circumstances.
My love and prayers to the people of Turkey, Syria, Ukraine, and other parts of the world where there are suffering. Everyone is fighting a secret battle, let’s be kind.
Twenty-three years ago, I was a fresh graduate who was keen on saving the world from every form of evil and injustice. My armour was my pen, and I was operating within the laudable confines of free speech. I got a job with the local newspaper in my state and embarked on my journey.
I was unmarried then and as free as a bird. My salary was pitiable, but I was still living with my parents, and my bills were practically nonexistent. My dad was a firm believer in free speech with common sense, of course, so he taught me to write and report on issues affecting the ‘average person’ and that I should be upright and fearless. I took his advice and within a few months, I got promotion from roaming the fields looking for ‘breaking news’ to having a desk at the State House of Assembly (our House of Common here in the UK).
I was hungry for news and reported on mundane and boring things like the House Members sponsoring a Bill etc. One day, I was finishing my report when a member of the opposition party approached me, and dropped a paper on my desk.
‘See me at the Press Centre’, he said quietly.
Intrigued, I wanted to know more. As a respectable journalist, I believed in reporting the truth; I have to be impartial.
Later that evening, I met the gentleman, and he handed over some documents that were so hot, I turned bright red. The governor of the state had misappropriated over two hundred and forty-one million naira, (equivalent of almost a hundred million pounds), and although fear ripped through my body, I stuck by my principles and arranged an editorial meeting with my editor.
My parents were petrified. My mum voiced her concerns for my safety, but I was unperturbed. I was dabbling into the unknown world of mucky politics. My dad tried everything he could to dissuade me from publishing the story, but failed.
Although my editor was delighted for such a large ‘scoop,’ he was hesitant. However, I stuck to my guns. The public deserved to know the truth about the misappropriation of funds, and we published the story. The effect ripped through the state like a tsunami.
Luckily, I didn’t die through assassination attempts on my life like my dad had feared. After the ruckus died down, my dad was adamant that I should stick to writing articles and novels rather than investigating corrupt government officials. I took his advice, and I was glad I did.
What was I getting at? You may wonder. I believe in free speech but with the emergence of the internet and mobile technology, everyone has become a ‘source’ and misinformation and online bullying has reached a crescendo. People should be responsible online, words are powerful, it can build people up, or it may destroy them.
There are several ways we can change our world, and I think it starts with kindness, which is in short supply nowadays.
As a journalist, I believe in the power of free speech, but ‘keyboard’ warriors spurting hatred, racism and misogyny abound on social media, and that is disheartening.
The world is changing but if we think before we type anything online, we might be saving a life.
”Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning.’‘ – Samuel Butler. I agree because life and love is a journey. Find out more in this short documentary I wrote and directed with a friend.
Here’s a transcript of the film:
Life is a journey, and it starts with a cry… the cry of a new-born baby. It ends with moans, groans, or the contented sigh of an older man or woman who’s led a fruitful life.
Or it can end in running feet, a chase, a stab, searing pain, blood splattered on the sidewalk, the cold street receding away as a young life flitter away into nothingness…
A life cut short…
Humans are chasing humans and killing without thought or regard for the pains inflicted on unfamiliar people.
Life can end well, or, it may end in tragedy.
Twenty years ago, I got married to the man of my dreams, and two years later, I was in the hospital, in labour, and anticipating the birth of my son.
It was a complicated process. A short life, my son passed away two days after he was born.
My life stopped briefly.
I didn’t know how to process my grief. I cried every night, and I prayed every night.
Days passed. Time didn’t wait for my grief. And I healed with the love of my husband and family.
Three months later, there was a miracle.
I was pregnant again. This time, everything felt different, but I was hiding my fears. I smiled openly while I cried and cringed inside, wondering if the new life growing inside me would live, and survive.
Nine months later, I welcomed another son. He lives. He’s kind and makes me laugh. He’s energetic and loves life. I had two more children, a daughter and another son.
My family means everything to me.
But something is wrong.
I’ve lived in London for over fifteen years, and every time there’s a young life wasted on the streets, I remember the child I lost.
Although my son died as a new-born baby and in different circumstances, I relive the pain every time I read or watch the news of another senseless killing of young people on our streets.
My eldest son is now 17. He’s brilliant and hardworking. He had one of the best GCSE results in his school, and he’s currently studying Medicine at A levels. He wants to be a doctor. Samuel wants to help and make our society a better place for everyone.
But should I be afraid anytime he’s out of the house? Or because of the colour of his skin?
Can I have hope that things will improve, and that love may conquer hatred, racism, anger and the ugliness inherent in the human soul?
My son believes in a better society, a better world.
Rafael Benedetti wants the world to see goodness in him. Fay Beneddeti intends to champion the course of women and family. These people are keen to see positive changes in our society.
Maybe, there is hope Afterall.
I won’t be afraid anymore.
Hope, no matter how fleeting is still better than fear.
Loving humans can be a reality while chasing humans could become a myth.
Life could be a jumbled mess, even at Christmas but smile, be happy because great things are afoot. That is if you believe it.
Last year Christmas, I was in the hospital. It was like a prison because for the first time in my life; I wasn’t with my family at Christmas. Two months before my admission, I’d had surgery, and for whatever reasons, my body reacted badly to the anaesthesia, and my right knee, ankle and hips bore the full brunt of the invasion. My knee was angry, red, bloated and painful. It was as if it had a life of its own, so morphine, tramadol, and cocodamol became my best pal.
I’d been on the waiting list for over a year now to rectify the anomaly in my joints, but our dear old NHS is also going through a tangled mess of its own, so I have to wait it out, in pain. A few days ago, my joints seemed to have had enough, and I had to seek medical help. It’s especially angrier at winter, so it’s like a vicious circle. So why am I writing this? In spite of my health challenges, I love celebrating Christmas because it’s about Jesus Christ, not Santa or the frenzy buying of gifts. There’s nothing bad in gifts, I’ve bought mine and it’s all wrapped up but it’s more than that. I believe Jesus is the son of God, and Christmas is a time to continue to spread the love of Christ and joy in our world. Although I must confess that as a Christian, it saddens me to see Santa glorified to gargantuan proportion, but hey, that’s life.
Life’s a mess sometimes, and I am using this article to reach out to anyone who’s faced or is still facing disease, disappointments, breakdowns of relationships at Christmas and this holiday season. Live strong, and it would pass. People will always piss you off, your expectations may fall short, and the gaiety of this season may appear fake, but life is truly rich and beautiful. We should always have hope irrespective of our circumstances, that things will always get better. If you’re a Christian, that hope is in Jesus Christ, If you’re of another faith, have this hope that things will get better by channelling your energies to positive things, do good to others and believe great things will come your way.
Smile with confidence, like the boy in the picture because things will work out in ways you’d never imagined.
Merry Christmas my friends, wherever you are in the world and have a fantastic New Year!
I had the wonderful privilege of reading an inspiring article on Arrow Gate’s website. The post was about a nonfiction book written by a woman with a big heart. Mary Anne Willow. Her memoir titled, ‘The Grace Of A Nightingale’ would be published soon.
Mary Anne touched on many things, depression, divorce, suicide, hope in the midst of despair and vaginal Mesh, a procedure recently suspended due to the complications many women faced when they had it done. You can’t hide what’s in your heart, and Mary Anne’s got lots to share with the world. Why not click on the link below and read about this? And maybe when the book’s out, you would all read the story of this awesome woman.
I can’t wait to see this memoir in print. It depicted the resilience of the human’s spirit. We need books like this in the world.
Paragon Of Beauty. Can You See Beyond Those Deep Lines Of Experience?
( Photo credit: Flickr)
It’s sometimes funny the way we hold on to things, and I mean material things as if we are going to live forever. It’s an open secret that someday, we will call it a day on this part of heaven. We may try to change the subject or try to push it to the deep recess of our minds but our times here in this part of heaven is limited.
That’s just the basic truth.
The woman in the picture is beautiful, but she is aging, and afterward, she would become one with the earth. Studying her face, she seems to know who she is, and she also appears to be living a good life.
What about you? What do you stand for? What are your beliefs? Are you an ‘I’ person or a ‘We’ kind of person? (I want you to ponder on that and give me an answer in the comment section below).
I love taking good care of my body, and since finding out several of my physical limitations, it has not ceased to amaze me how fragile we are. I am now indulging myself in things that are really important and soul-satisfying.
I love smelling flowers, my house is littered with pots of flowers. I appreciate water, I watch mesmerised as it flows through my fingers. I love the sun, the ability to walk, run, and play is just beautiful. I appreciate that now.
Since our time is short, isn’t it foolhardy to fight or keep malice? War is a gory affair. Humanity has pillaged and wasted blood throughout the millennia. I watched the news with slight irritation as grown men are throwing insults at one another. They are actually playing with war, and it’s not pretty.
I urge you all to enjoy every minute of your time, even if we all live till hundred, one day, time will be up.
So let’s stand for all that is good, excellent, and kind.
”Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
I would be a year older tomorrow. I came home from work today and found myself trawling through some motivational articles to make sense of the impending days ahead, and then I stumbled on the short article below. I believe I should share it and I am keen to find out your thoughts on this though. Do you agree with the author’s point of view? Or maybe you don’t, why?
‘They say that, at some point, you learn to let go. I must disagree. If it just takes one moment to let go, then you never really held on tightly enough. To a dream. To a goal. To a place. To a person. To anything. I believe that you let go little by little. You let go a little, then hold back on, but with a little less force until you fully release yourself. And the tighter you old on, the more force you let go with. The deeper you dive, the higher you’ll fly. The closer you get, the further you’ll pull away. The weaker you feel, the stronger you’ll become. So do not be ashamed of your weaknesses. We all have them. You must learn to be kind to yourself. You must learn to understand yourself. You must believe in yourself. Never think that you are a bad person. Differentiate between your self-worth and your actions. To say that you are bad is different from saying that you made a mistake. You can’t fix yourself, but you can fix a mistake. And remember, not one person on this earth is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all fall. We all have flaws. We just need to look within ourselves and treat ourselves as humans who are worthy of respect and hope. Do not give up on yourself. Get back up. Be brave. Be happy.”
Najwa is a Lebanese Canadian author who self published her book, ‘Mind Platter’ in January, 2016 by Createspace. She is a deep thinker and writes from a wealth of experience. I don’t know her personally but I sincerely believe in her story.
On Friday, March 10th, 2017, it was precisely 7.25 in the morning as I walked up the steps of Westminster Station en-route my office. I walked briskly, mentally calculating ‘my-to-do-list’ for the day and then like an image out of a disaster movie, I saw two people, a man and a woman. The man was hovering over the woman, his lips quivering, his gait was like a man under the influence of alcohol, he tried to move away from the woman and almost fell. My gaze turned to the woman, her pale face had obviously borne the brunt of living on the street. Her face was lined with weariness, her eyes devoid of happiness.
I stopped in my tracks.
I didn’t know if I should offer money, or simply give a hug. People pushed past me, a man swore under his breath, but it was loud enough for me to hear the words. I fidget with my bag and moved out of the way, my heart broke into a thousand pieces as I watched them.
The man and the woman were oblivious of my presence, and sadly, I turned away.
Here in paradise, (at least that could be the thoughts of millions of people in other parts of the world) we shouldn’t have homeless people. Throughout the day, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. There was something about that couple, they may as well be working in one of the imposing offices in Whitehall, or maybe, as tourists keen to see where most decisions in the UK were made.
Centerpoint is a charity here in the UK helping homeless young people but what about middle age people, old men and women? I have a passion for the homeless, although I’ve read that some do make themselves ‘intentionally homeless,’ but still, I couldn’t expunge their image out of my mind.
I did some further research and realised that there are many homeless charities all around us. Below are some of the charities in London:
There’s also West London YMCA, they provide the same services as most of the organisations I’ve listed above. I think if we live in paradise, we should be able to do more for people less fortunate than we are (I know, we’re not all millionaires but we could always volunteer at a homeless shelter). I will volunteer at some of these wonderful charities doing such wonderful jobs, changing people’s lives.
If you’re living in other parts of the world, it wouldn’t hurt to give money to a beggar you see on the street or a homeless person. Some of you reading this may think, ‘well, she’s so naïve, most of these folks are drug addicts and rapists… maybe murderers.’
Maybe, some of them are, but some aren’t. Life’s just dealt them a hard hand.
Maybe Phil Collin’s song, ‘Another Day In Paradise’ would be a great way to finish this article.
This year had been full of surprises. From Brexit to the election of Trump to the continual gluttonous appetite of the world’s politicians. The world was gripped by the drama that was the US Presidential election, and as a feminist, I was really rooting for Hilary Clinton. But that was not her fate, she lost the race.
On a personal note, I’ve experienced nothing but blessings this year. I’ve also had my share of challenges, don’t we all? I’ve had dreams postponed but not denied, I’ve seen plans stalled but not destroyed. I’ve had manuscripts shelved but not forgotten. I’ve met new friends and learned some vital life lessons.
The great thing is, if you’re reading this, that means we’re still walking through time, our lights are not snuffed out yet, for that, we should be grateful. No matter what you may have gone through in 2016, as long as you’re still breathing, and walking, there is hope yet. Don’t give up!
On that note, I wish all my friends here in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world, may you have a wonderful and prosperous 2017!