A random Friday night, phone in hand but not really using it. My attention is on Terrence J’s latest movie. His tenacity more than his looks got me watching this. I am being honest.
A few minutes in and a message puts a halt on a funny part. A message from a friend asking if I had heard about our former classmate in university. I replied with anxiety that I had heard nothing.
“He passed away” he replied.
I knew his name; I knew his face because he was my friend. I wished that it was just a bad joke. He confirmed that it was indeed true and that our friend was no more. I needed a moment. How does someone so young, full of potential and energy pass on?
My mind went back to the days we passed by each other, saying a simple hello and sometimes sharing a few stories. You know. Campus. He was not my best friend; we were not the closest but at this moment every time we had spoken came vividly in my mind. We visited his home for a poignant service that left most of us wondering how much we had paid God that morning so we could see a new day.
His death shook me in ways I can’t describe. It brought me face to face with the old scoundrel that death is.
The thing with death, you never know how or when it strikes. Some people meet their fate on the road, others die when a plane disintegrates at 35,000 feet, and others simply slip away in their sleep. Whichever way death strikes; it still leaves a tragic feeling.
Even the bravest warriors fear death. They pull a courageous face on the outside, while on the inside, praying death takes a different path. In truth, since the days of our birth, we all begin the walk to our graves. Or, death walks towards us. If it wants to hurry it will, and if it wants to slow down, it still can. Ultimately, our paths will cross, sooner or later.
The question is; are you putting up a good fight? Are you keeping the faith? Are you well and truly in the race? Or will death whisk you away while you still haven’t started fulfilling your purpose?
The whole experience led me to have an epiphany, I realized life can be ruthlessly short and we need to live, actual living.
My friend was doing certain projects in his community and I know they will always remember him for that. I have thought of Martin Luther king, Florence Nightingale, mother Teresa and Wangari Maathai. These people died quite a long time ago but they are still remembered because of their selfless deeds. We are so self-obsessed; all we think is how to get to the next level. We forget we have a purpose in this life. Money is good but don’t let it define you. Be kind to people, go out of your way to not only pray for the homeless, the sick, the orphans and widows but also help them where you can. People remember you because of what your actions made them feel. Take a moment, count your blessings then ask what I am doing with my gifts, talents or that which you have been given.
Create time for loved ones.
We grow up and suddenly life becomes more than just a night out or a day lazing around. People become busy and gradually you forget who your best friend was. You even almost forget your way home because you are busy out there chasing money or trying to make ends meet. At the service, our friend’s friends spoke of how they had met, what they discussed: people in the society recognized him. I thought when is the last time I talked to my friends, when is the last time I went home and when did I last hang out with my friends. It’s been quite some time to be honest. I need to say “I love you” which I don’t. I need to show people how much I care and appreciate them.
None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, we only have today. As a statement of fact, we only have now. Quit letting a bad encounter ruin your day. Let go of toxic things and people. Let today be your happy day. When you wake up, give thanks to the Lord and ask Him what you want for the day. Choose happiness, put an x to all the things that bring you down. Make decisions, try outrageous things, quit procrastinating and go for what you feel will make you a better person. Let today be the day you love more, you smile more and more importantly the day you live more.
Cultivate a relationship with God.
Mark 8:36, for what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? We belong to a heavenly kingdom and in this earth we are just passing by, so each of us our time is coming. Get your heart right with God, stop living for the world and let your hope and faith be found in Him. We have lost ourselves to the world and created idols that we adore. We live each day oblivious of a higher power that watches over us, we go to church, we are aware of our religion but our relationship with God is what matters. I pray that we seek God and leave the ways of the world. I envy Paul, his relationship with God is incomparable. He says “what is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost everything.” Philippians 3:8
Rest in Peace, Arnold.
image source: tinybuddha