I spent January grieving mostly, and no, I didn’t lose anyone. At least not to death, and I thank God for that.
But why don’t we talk enough about the pain that comes with a friendship coming to an end? It’s almost like a dream that has been cut short. It’s like Ishaya Bello, the aspiring artist hear Essien, the one he looked up to, tell him that he wasn’t good enough for him to “change his schedule”. Ishaya knew he had the potential, after all, he had been selected by Essien himself to come to London. In the same manner, you think about the potential you know that friendship had, and then you begin to mourn over what could have been.
Just like you would ask questions after losing a person to death, you start to ask questions. Is all this my fault? What could I have done better? What if I didn’t react that way? What if I had been more patient? What if I had been more understanding? Why did I ignore all the signs? Do they feel as bad as I feel?
And then you stop yourself. Because you realize you did everything you could — your best. You remind yourself that friendship, like any other thing that involves two people, is a two-way thing. One party will not always be strong for both parties. You realize that sometimes it’s okay if one party brings 60 to the table, while the other brings 40. Life is crazy, and sometimes one party can only afford to bring 30. And that’s fine, but it can’t be constant. It’s like a conceptual metaphor; friendship is a plant. Lack of effort, intentionality, and consistency in taking care of it will eventually lead to its death.
And so you reach the final stage of grief: acceptance. You accept that they were not just able to reciprocate the care extended to them. You accept that maybe they didn’t hold you in the same regard in which you had held them— with utmost importance, respect and value. You accept that sometimes, things run their course and end no matter how good it was while it lasted. So you take whatever is left of your dignity and self-respect, and you start to move on.
Flying is interesting, but planes are more interesting.
One minute, it’s a car just driving on the road, then it starts to move a lot faster, and the next thing, you’re in the air. And it remains in the air. You feel light-headed. Your stomach starts to feel funny. And you only realize that you had been partially deaf until you swallow.
As I am seated in the plane, I start to think about the technology behind it. The intentionality of it — like the wings or the oxygen masks that will only automatically drop in front of passengers if there is a need for it. A lot of thought must have gone into the invention of the plane. But I also can’t get rid of a thought that came to mind as well. The thought that there has to be something else keeping the plane in the air.
I start to think about God, but then it is overshadowed by the thought of the pilot flying the plane.
How can it be that the lives of almost a hundred people are in his hands? Or even crazier, how can it be that almost a hundred people trust one man to get them to their destination? I am seated at the back of the plane and I can hear the air host and hostesses talk and laugh about their daily life and what they get up to when they are not in the air. The guy seated beside me is playing a game on his phone. I sleep off two times because I didn’t think the flight from Vilnius to Barcelona would be that long.
No one seems to actually realize that we are in the air. There are seas, buildings, cars, and people underneath us. I relax and remind myself that it is because the pilot is in control.
But that’s a wild trust to have in someone who is just as human as me. My mind goes back to God. What if I trusted Him more with my life in the same way?
The pilot is human, after all, and I remember telling someone once to imagine if a pilot is tired of life and decides to take the passengers with him into the ocean. So, what if I trusted God a lot more? He wouldn’t play with my life, anyway. He will never be confused and He certainly does not hold emergency meetings in Heaven when things happen because He’s never caught by surprise.
He is the one in control.
Once upon a time, I could only imagine what travelling felt like.
I remember listening to a teaching by Apostle Joshua Selman two weeks ago where he taught about the law of process. He talked about how the way we can identify growth is by the ease with which we can do certain things. He also said that “when there is unnecessary anxiety, suffering, and difficulty, it is because we are forcing life to deliver a result we haven’t grown to achieve yet”.
I am surrounded by older people, and while that has been good for me in terms of developing a sharpened mind and a more mature outlook on life (or, so I’ve been told), it has also led me to believe that somehow, I’m behind; that I’m older than I am.
Somehow, I have forgotten all about growth and what it meant to enjoy its process. My cousin once told me to “take joy in taking things slow”. She told me to relish in making mistakes now and learning from them because this is the time to make mistakes and not beat myself up for it. Of course, this wasn’t to encourage reckless behaviour but to help me see the beauty in growth. The beauty in being properly cooked as opposed to yielding to pressure and jumping out of the pot prematurely without getting out with the knowledge you should have gotten out with.
Humans are in versions, and there is a version we can grow to in which the things we seek are already making their way to us, simply because we’ve grown. But it will take patience. Patience with myself and patience with God.
This month, I said to myself a lot of times: I am not stuck. I am not behind. I am exactly where a 21-year-old should be.
In January, I found myself saying things I did not mean, and I realized this is something we do. We say things that are in contrast to what we really think or feel. Why? Why the heck do we do that?