Losing my Dad was inarguably the most difficult time of my life. Words cannot express the pain and agony the season came with. Time stood still. I didn’t look forward to sunrise and sunset. But I learnt during that difficult period that there is always gain even in pain if only we look hard enough to see. I decided to save the pain and not waste it. One of the gains of my pain was that I authored my first book, “When it happens”. I would never have been inspired to write this book if I had not suffered the severe blow of loosing my Dad.
My friend, Rich, lost his dad unexpectedly when he was eight. When father and son functions happened through the years, men from church and his friends’ dads always included him. Perhaps that’s why my friend has such a heart for Little League baseball and is known throughout our community as a caring coach.
When our next door neighbour and her husband divorced, Rich stepped in and invited her son to be a part of his son’s team. He understood what it felt like to be a fatherless child. He drove him to practices and games, and provided snacks and equipment as needed.
One day, Rich got the shocking news that his assistant coach had died suddenly. Rich’s first thought was about Chris’s eight-year-old son. “I wonder how Jacob is,” he said. Then he called Jacob’s mom. Ironically, she told him the first person Jacob asked her to call about his dad’s death was “Coach Rich.”
Sometimes we go through what we go through, to help others go through what we went through. Rich, a fatherless child, reached out to spread hope to boys like him.
I have a friend who is living with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare eye condition also known as night blindness. It does not have a cure yet. The individual gradually looses their ability to see until they eventually go blind. My friend has only 10% of his left eye sight left and about 50% of his right eye sight. It has been a difficult journey.
He has had to abandon his postgraduate program and even stop driving his car. He barely reads these days. It’s amazing that he decided to birth something beautiful out of the situation so he started a blog, “Opto Focus” for the visually impaired and people who may want to have a peep into their world. The other day I asked him how it felt to gradually loose his sight; if he had preferred to have been born blind and he said he was grateful to have been able to see this far and even if he didn’t get to see again, he had memories of all he had seen in his over 40 years of life. My friend is surely not wasting his pain
Wasting our pain is when we choose to pursue revenge instead of forgiveness. It is also when we choose to continually see the bad in the painful situation we went through instead of looking harder to see the silver lining. I know a couple of people who have chosen to waste their pain.
Just yesterday, one of my favourite persons gifted me a book, “Beautiful Mess”, the story of the Diamond Rio band. The book is a depiction of the personal struggles of the band and its members. This is what the narrator of the story has to say,
“If your exposure to the Diamond Rio is the band’s flawlessly layered harmonious and tender lyrics, you only know a fraction of the story”
I agree with him. Most people around us only know a fraction of our story. The difference between some people and the Diamond Rio band is that while they were able painstakingly convert their mess to a ‘beautiful mess’, some have chosen to sit right in their murky mess and just do NOTHING.
Some complain, relay the story to everyone who cares to listen, plan revenge, throw pity parties and conclude that life is fair to others and most certainly unfair to them.
Because the Diamond Rio band didn’t waste their painful experiences, millions of people around the world have been graced with the warmth of their beautiful voices and soothing lyrics.
I know a lady, let’s call her Nkem. Like any other well brought up young lady she had fantasized and prepared and even looked forward to getting married and becoming an excellent wife and mother. And so when she did get married it, was with a lot of expectation of a happily ever after life.
Almost a decade later, Nkem found herself in the happily never after. Divorced!
Nkem was left with no husband, not even the beautiful kids she had so fantacized about mothering. She was devastated, lost, confused and hopeless. Thank God she didn’t give up. She braced up, faced her fears, faced her career, went back to school and adopted a beautiful baby girl.
Today she runs a ‘Ladies Club’ in one of the campuses Middle belt of Nigeria. If you ask why she runs the club, Nkem would always say (with a smile and shinny eyes), “I see these beautiful young ladies and they remind me of when I was like them. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I made. I would love to see them enjoy the future they hoped and worked for”.
I love the dedication of the book “Beautiful Mess”, it reads, “We would like to dedicate this book to all the people out there who are struggling through some situation with seemingly no way out. We hope in some way that our story will encourage you to realize that God has not forgotten you and has a purpose for you. Whatever it is, he can see you through it. Our prayer is that your mess may become beautiful”
I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there myself. And, above all, what you need to remember is that the next step is ultimately your choice…
Yes, it’s your choice.
You are choosing right now.
And if you’re choosing…
to be stuck in the past…
to act like a victim…
to feel insecure…
to feel anger…
to feel hate…
to be naïve…
to ignore your intuition…
to ignore good advice…
to give up…
…then it’s time to choose differently.
But, let me also remind you that you are not alone. Generations of human beings in your family tree have chosen. Human beings around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time or another.
And we stand behind you now whispering:
Choose to let go.
Choose to be present.
Choose to be positive.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to see the possibilities.
Choose to find meaning.
Choose to prove you’re not a victim.
Choose to find the motivation you need to take a step forward.
…that pain can be gain, and gains come with some pain—Be ready!
Swandy Banta is blue blooded, ask her what that means and she gladly tells you, she’s been through the tunnel of pain and she found illuminating light. She writes and coaches on the difficult subject of pain. Whether it’s national pain, community pain or the pain of loss and the hurts of life that makes us all ask why—she brings new perspectives. Swandy is can be reached on [email protected]
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Swandy Banta and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”