Tag Archives: fear

Leap of faith

Faith is a gift; that much I’ve emphasized on previous posts. I was telling my small sister the other day, that to believe in God is like to stand on the steepest cliff, stretch arms out wide and take that deep plunge, believing He will catch you.

leap of faith
That is what faith is; putting one’s life in God’s hands. And you know what the best part is? Once you take that plunge, life gets better. Not because there won’t be problems, but because there’s that comforting thought at the back of one’s head that there’s someone greater than us looking out for you.

It’s like sleeping soundly at night because one is assured the security guards manning the compound will keep all danger at bay. That’s how it feels to believe in God. One doesn’t sleep soundly because there is no danger, but because they know there’s someone protecting them.

About two years ago I was watching this series, MIOBI (make it or break it), where Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbs) wasn’t performing as good as expected. She was a talented gymnast, but each time she had to do some stunt, she just couldn’t deliver.

Her family, unlike her team mates’ was struggling financially. Their situation made it particularly difficult for her to become an elite gymnast. The problems she and her family had gone through made her so guarded, so much so that her coach, Sasha Belov (Neil Jackson) had difficulties getting through to her because she had trust issues.

One night while she was in the gym practising, her coach walked in and asked her to trust him. He understood her inability to trust him wasn’t a deliberate act of defiance, but a rampart she had erected over time to protect herself from getting hurt; because when one has been disappointed too many times before, they get to a point where they find it necessary to shield themselves from more pain.

Sasha asked Emily to let herself fall from the beam because he would catch her. He promised to catch her. As I watched her battling with her inner demons-to let go or not-I felt one required to have so much trust in someone to actually let themselves fall. She was supposed to move from not trusting him to believing he was going to catch her.

Sasha knew Emily had difficulties trusting him, but he knew if they were to continue working together successfully, she needed to trust him. He needed her to take a leap of faith. Personally, I have some trust issues too… no, not some; I have major trust issues. I have been hurt and deceived by people I really trusted and eventually, that left me too sceptical.

I understood Emily; the conflicting emotions she was going through, because I knew one has to have so much faith in someone to be able to get to a point where they just let themselves fall believing that person will catch them.

What if he wasn’t careful enough and she slipped off his hands and hit the ground hard, back first? I wondered; or what if the instant he had her in his arms, he felt she was heavier than he had anticipated and reflexively dropped her? It wouldn’t be like he dropped her willingly; it would be because of unforeseen incidents.

It was Emily trying to fight past her fear, yet there I was, questioning Sasha’s ability too. Eventually, she let go, letting herself fall from the beam and into his arms. He caught her. Following that mighty leap of faith, their relationship became stronger and she did what he asked her to, even when she wasn’t sure she wanted to do it.

She trusted him; and therefore believed he wouldn’t ask her to do anything that would hurt her, even when what he asked to do felt like a herculean task. She understood he only had her best interests at heart.

Emily’s leap of faith is a vital step someone has to take to be able to have a personal relationship with God. Sometimes what He requires us to do feels so challenging, but we need to trust He only wishes us well. He wouldn’t want us to suffer for naught.

God might require us to undertake a very challenging thing, but it is all for our good. He wants each and every one of us to have a close relation with Him; and just like Sasha, He would love it if we could take that mighty leap of faith, without any fear; believing He will catch us.

It takes so much strength to let go, but once we do it, we enjoy unlimited benefits. Even when we find ourselves going through difficult challenges, the comforting thought that He is with us makes those burdens feel lighter.

Love you beer… The confrontation: Part 3

my father is an alcoholic

“I promise you dad, if you address this drinking issue, I will not text you again,” I shouted angrily, “but if you don’t, feel free to block me because I won’t stop.”

“See how she talks to me?” He looked at mom and my sister, who were already standing between me and him, so he wouldn’t hit me.

“If I were you, I’d check into rehab.”

“You think you’re clever?”

“I am clever,” I told him, “That’s why I’m telling you, you have a drinking problem. How can you drink this much, and you’re not even eating?”

“Are you the one who buys me that beer? Just go find a man and get married. And if you keep up with this, your husband will be beating you seriously.”

“Honestly, if this is what you call marriage, and if men are like you, then I would rather stay single.”

Remember that essay I told you I wrote? ‘Why I think you have a drinking problem?’ It’s because I had foreseen that fight, and I didn’t want to be involved in that verbal altercation with him. If only I had given it to him earlier.

I almost complained that a fight mom had provoked was now directed towards me, but then I figured, dad is an alcoholic and he is in denial, and I pointed that out. He definitely had every reason to hate/hit me; speaking from a drunken point of view.

Most of the time, when I’m not in the mood to fight, I leave dad and go to the bedroom even though he interprets it as cowardice and follows me, threatening to hurt me and stuff. On Sunday however, I wanted him to fully understand that I meant everything I was telling him; I decided not to run. If he wanted to take all his rage out on me, then I was going to stand there and let him do it.

See the thing with my father, is when he starts talking, he gets so vulgar, one forgets they are talking to a parent; still, I tried hard not to lose my temper, because I didn’t want to have issues that would take me to the confession booth when the waters had calmed. There’s so much I wanted to say to him, but I restrained myself.

“You’re going to be a truck driver,” he seethed.

“God forbid!”

“I’m not going to pay your fees for law school.”

“This far I’ve come dad, God has brought me. And if it’s His plan that I become a lawyer someday, it won’t be because of you. Besides, I already knew you drank my fees.”

A parent wishes only the best for their children; that’s what people say, right? Well, not my old man. He’s wished very many things upon me, none of them good. I remember this one time he was in my big sister’s bedroom, fighting, and by mistake, as he waved his hands carelessly in the air, he hit a low hanging light bulb and it fell on the floor, shattering into pieces.

That day I hadn’t argued with him, but when he saw me picking the pieces up with a dustpan, he just scoffed, “All you do is clean up. You’re going to be a maid.”

I was hurt, obviously, but slowly I’ve come to understand that’s who he is. So when he said I would be a truck driver, I deduced it was because of the fact I had taken the car without his permission and normally he never lets me drive it unless he really wants me to; when he’s in a good mood, and it has nothing to do with him being protective of his car. I hate to admit it, but he’s just mean.

It’s not the first time I’ve felt this, or said it, but dad is just mean. Now that I’m much older, I understand how he was able to spend long hours in bars, leaving three defenceless kids hungry. It’s not my place to judge him, but everytime I see him binge-drinking, I pity him. Soon, my sisters and I will be moving out, and every little thing he does bespeaks anything but love/care.

One might be tempted to think I’m just a crazy girl, desperate to be loved by her father, but honestly, I couldn’t care less if he hates me. When I decided I was going to confront him for his alcoholism, I knew he would hate me for it; but I did it anyway; because I hate the way he treats mom when he is drunk; I hate the man he is when he is intoxicated, and the things he does would make me wish for a better dad if I were still a baby.

No child or woman deserves the drunken treatment he so enthusiastically dishes out. And even he were a woman, no man would deserve such.

I understand alcohol could overpower someone, especially when one becomes addicted to it, but I also imagine, if one truly loved someone, they would give it all up for them. In the text I sent dad, I told him to consider giving it up for mom. He always says he loves her, and when my sisters and I move out, it will be just the two of them left.

What worries me is the thought that I don’t trust him enough to leave mom in his care when we move out. I’m scared he will hurt her, like he did when we were young. He has done it so many times before, and now he drinks more than he did then and he is more violent than he was then. How I’m I supposed to trust he won’t do something stupid?

Love you beer… The confrontation: Part 2

alcoholism

If something unsettles you, it’s better to address it and just get done with it, because waiting for it to happen is much worse… That’s what I was thinking the entire time I was watching dad. He’s really not the forgiving/forgetting type. Even if he doesn’t confront someone for something they did, he will eventually. I was waiting for the façade to come down; for him to finally confront me, problem is, I didn’t know how long it would take before he got tired of pretending everything was hunky-dory.

Two and a half hours later, he came back, visibly drunk. Mom had already gone to bed. He went straight to the bedroom. He didn’t ask for food, and no one asked if he was hungry. When he is drunk we prefer to let him be because talking to him would be opening sluice-gates to incessant carping. The night was too serene to ruin it with drunken ramblings.

Relieved that he was safely home, my sisters and I sat down to watch the fifth season of the vampire diaries. At eleven forty five, almost an hour later, dad walked into the living room and without a word he left the house.

At around two in the morning, my sisters went to bed and shortly after, mom woke up. She was stressed dad was out that late. Seeming distraught, she asked what time he had left. Seeing her so troubled reminded me what had led me to text dad on Tuesday morning; when he starts drinking, he can’t seem to stop, until he runs out of money.

By the time I went to bed at four, my old man was nowhere in sight. After saying my night prayers, I went to check on mom and found she had already gone to bed. Empathizing with her, I switched the lights off and went to bed.

Sunday morning, my alarm went off at seven forty five, and though I was sleepy, I knew I had to wake up to prep for church; however, sleep overpowered me and I drifted back into slumber, until my small sister came to wake me up at eight thirty. I didn’t have much time to prepare so I got up, prayed and got out of bed.

I didn’t know what time dad had come but my big sister told me he’d come in the morning. I wasn’t surprised; that seems to be something he is doing a lot lately. Mom had already left for the mid-morning mass, my big sister wanted to sleep in after a gruelling week interning and attending classes, and dad didn’t pick up when I tried calling him; he was in a deep sleep.

I took the car keys and asked my big sister to tell him I took the car. I knew he wouldn’t be too pleased but seeing as he couldn’t drive, I knew it was a necessary risk as my small sister and I were already getting late for church.

When we got back home later in the afternoon, dad had just woken up. He didn’t complain I had taken the car; instead he just greeted us, and left, again. He came back at around seven in the evening, took some more money and left again. He showed up two hours later, looking pretty much at ease.

Mom and I left to go sign in at the gate. It’s a security measure taken to keep tabs on all residents/non-residents, who come into the estate. When I drove in earlier, I hadn’t signed in because I had thought dad would, but then he didn’t. After signing in, we walked back to the house, and found loud music playing.

Other than the fact that it’s against estate policy, it was just too loud. I gestured to my dad, to turn the volume down.

“It’s too loud?” He shouted.

I nodded, and he acquiescently turned it down. A while later, he rose and left for the bedroom. Minutes later, he walked back to the living room, headed for the main door. Mom couldn’t take it anymore. She walked to him and asked him, evidently shocked, “You’re leaving again, at this time?”

“I’m not talking to you, unless you want us to fight,” he barked.

“Just tell us if there’s someone you can’t stand in this house. You’ve been drinking since you came. You spent the whole night out, and now you want to leave again.”

“I was listening to music and you said it was too loud, so now I’m leaving.” He threatened to hit her, but then mom told him if he dared she would call the cops on him. It wouldn’t be his first time to spend the night behind bars; eight year ago, he was at it, disrupting peace in the house when mom called the police and they took him away.

When the police came in that night I was at the verge of hitting him on the head with a soda bottle, in defence. I shudder at the thought of what could have happened had the police not showed up in time. It’s a dreadful night I try to forget.

Just like that, everything turned chaotic, everyone talking at the top of their voices, and finally dad managed to get whatever had been troubling him off his chest.

“You started this,” he yelled at me. “You are your mother’s accomplice. Don’t send me those silly texts again.”

“You need to get help dad,” I shouted. “You have a drinking problem.”

“I’ve had it with you,” he snarled.

Love you beer… The confrontation: Part 1

alcoholism 2

After texting dad, asking him to reconsider his love for beer, we didn’t get to talk and he never texted back. In preparation for his arrival, I wrote down a short essay, ‘Why I think you might have a drinking problem’, listing all the things he does that have led me to the conclusion he is an alcoholic, and furthermore attaching some receipt he’d drunkenly left lying around to support my findings.

It might sound extreme that I went to such an extent but I figured if he started accusing me of ‘calling him an alcoholic’, even though I hadn’t said it like that, he wouldn’t give me a chance to explain. On the other hand I also figured, if he didn’t rip the papers in anger, curiosity would get him to read them.

He had already asked mom to tell me to stop sending him silly texts, so I sought of had an inkling what mood he was in. I hoped to convince him my complaints weren’t just based on hearsay or things I had just concocted.

He was supposed to come home Friday evening but instead, he texted mom around eight at night, telling her he was in bed; he wasn’t coming. I know he gets lonely out there because he goes for a whole week without seeing us but somehow, as much as I empathized with him, I felt relieved he wasn’t coming.

It’s been a while since he failed to come home on weekend. The only time he doesn’t come is when he has so much work he needs to finish up in the office, especially after being on leave. So when mom told me he wasn’t coming, I imagined it had something to do with the text.

Based on previous incidents, I assumed it had gone two ways: either he had felt so ashamed that I had candidly pointed out he had a drinking problem and would try to make up for his shortcomings, or he had gotten so furious and would spend each minute of his time home threatening to snap my neck.

Well, I’m not sure he is capable of actually causing me such physical harm but nowadays there’s no telling what he can/can’t do when he’s under the influence. When the beer goes to his head he does crazy things. I hadn’t seen him since I texted him that Tuesday morning, but I knew things wouldn’t be all rainbows and unicorns when he came.

alcoholism 3

Saturday afternoon, my small sister told my big sister and me dad had called mom; he was on his way, coming home. I had imagined he would be coming the following weekend. Somehow I felt disappointed. The uncertainty made me tense up for a while, but then I reminded myself why I had sent him that text in the first place; he’s drinking a lot, and someone had to tell him.

While we were waiting for him, my big sister got a call from a friend; a lecturer she had grown to like had been MIA for a while. Reason being that he had been involved in an accident and no one knew of his whereabouts. Distressed, she called him up but his phone was off. That only had her more worried.

It was while I was comforting her, telling her not to worry and all, that dad came. When I opened the door, I didn’t know whether to smile or remain poker faced, but when I extended my hand, he pulled me and hugged me.

That, I had seen coming.

Surprised, I hugged him back. He had beer on his breath, so I assumed he had been drinking before he got home. But I didn’t care; he already knew what I felt about him binge-drinking, and that’s all that really mattered. My big sister was still feeling down and he tried finding out what was wrong with her, though she remained mum. He went straight to the bedroom and came out a few minutes later, before leaving again.

He came back almost two hours later with mom and left again right after. I couldn’t quite figure if he was happy or mad, though he seemed unperturbed; however, I knew there was a storm brewing underneath his cool exterior. It wouldn’t be long before he eventually flipped his lid…

Love you beer, till death…

i love my beer

If we had the power to turn lifeless things like beer into fully functional living things, I bet for so many people it would be a case of ‘till death do us part’.

There’s this day I was listening to the radio and the presenter was light-heartedly making the comparisons between a woman and a beer: it won’t complain when you touch another beer;

It won’t ask where you’ve been or who you’ve been with when you come home late.

You can take it anytime because it won’t give you excuses like, “It’s that time of the month.”

It won’t complain about you leaving the toilet seat up.

Beer doesn’t ask for commitment and won’t assume you’re in a relationship just because you had your way with it once.

You’re always assured you were the first one to have it.

When you go to a bar you know you can always pick up another beer and the one at home won’t complain if you go back with beer on your breath.

Beer doesn’t throw tantrums atleast once every month

It won’t replace you with dildos/vibrators and stuff…

The list was quite long but basically in a man’s perspective, a beer is way better than a woman. In a way, given all the things women are ‘accused’ of, beer would indeed seem better than a woman. However, nothing good comes easy.

love my beer

These same men who are 100% pro-beer forget the simple facts:

That a beer doesn’t prepare warm meals for the man, neither does it bestow him with the priceless gift of fatherhood. It doesn’t clean the house, do laundry or handle uncontrollable kids and that is why it will never get a headache.

In any case, it destroys what one has struggled so hard to build; relationships, a home and it indirectly demands for commitment by getting one into a defenceless addict, turning one into a pathological liar.

At the end of the day, if a man overindulges in the vice, not even the women he thinks so lowly of will want anything to do with him. There are many women who complain their husbands can’t ‘rise to the occasion’ because long-term love for the bottle tampered with their libido.

Ask my old man what kind of trouble he’s been getting into since he became best buddies with the bottle. I never thought he could ever tell a lie, but nowadays he breathes lies, spends nights out in bars, even on weekdays, drinks whatever little money he gets his hands on, picks fights with just about anyone and I have a feeling he has lost all respect among his peers.

The life he is leading now, if you ask me, is that downward spiral to self-destruction. He doesn’t want to admit that he is an addict and needs to get help. The last time I pointed the issue out, about three years ago, he got so pissed and threatened to snap my neck. After months of dread I finally overcame the fear and now I don’t really feel like I need to run for cover whenever I find myself in the same room with him.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to care about the thin ice he’s treading on. This past Monday he told mom he was on his way home (he works in a different town and only comes every weekend). By 1am Tuesday morning he still hadn’t arrived. Mom obviously started freaking out, imagining the worst. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I just took my phone and sent him an 11 pages text. It was long, but given that there’s so much I wanted to tell him, the characters didn’t even feel enough. He came home almost thirty minutes later but we didn’t talk. There was nothing infuriating in the text as I had tried to make it as sweet as possible but I knew he would get mad regardless .The ‘alcohol’ topic is one we don’t discuss freely for fear of getting him all disconcerted.

He went back to work Tuesday morning, and we still didn’t talk. Last night he called mom and after the usual ‘howdy’, he started complaining about the ‘silly’ text I sent him. Mom wasn’t in the mood to argue, so she just disconnected…

Dad’s coming home tomorrow God willing, and I’m only imagining what kind of hell he’ll raise because I ‘insulted’ him. When mom told me what dad was saying, I just told her, “I want to be in his good books, but if it means I’ll have to lie or keep the truth from him to get his love, then I don’t want it. If he doesn’t want me telling him things he doesn’t want to hear, then he should change his behaviour because I only tell him what I see.”

She didn’t say much, she just nodded in agreement.

Women might not be everything men want them to be, but then neither is beer. Everything, no matter how good it is, if taken in large amounts could be harmful. I have watched dad become an entirely different person because of the bottle.

Personally I love wine, but everytime I think of indulging, I remember what alcohol has done to my family and I get the ‘skull danger sign’ in my head… ‘Drink at your own risk’.

An encounter with my younger self

If you met up with your younger self, say in another dimension, what would you tell him/her? Like in the Disney movie: The Kid, starring Bruce Willis, where his persona-Russ Duritz, a highly sought after image consultant, meets his younger self, Rusty Duritz, played by Spencer Breslin.

In the movie, Russ is impolite and has a very strained relationship with his father. Then he meets Rusty, who asks him if he is already become a pilot, if he has a dog named Chester and if he’s already married, to which he replies no. He tells young Rusty that he can’t be able to handle dogs because of his constant travelling, and he is not a pilot but an image consultant and he doesn’t have a wife yet. Rusty tells him he dislikes his future.

When Russ’ assistant, Amy, meets the young boy she sees so many similarities with the two so she assumes Rusty is Russ’ son but later they tell her the truth. Russ mocks Rusty because of his weight and he finds him a bother, ever afraid that the boy will embarrass him. However, Amy likes Rusty and tells Russ he should try to learn more from him.

Russ finally decides to make time for Rusty, deciding it was time he learned why the young boy is there and if there’s something he needs to fix from his past. He recalls a fight he had on his birthday and that takes them back in time. Rusty has a fight in school where he was being bullied but because Russ had taught him how to ward off bullies, Rusty wins the fight.

Afterwards they go back home, where Russ meets his embittered dad, who admonishes Rusty, manhandling him and the boy starts crying. Russ comforts him, telling him that his dad was only scared because his mom was dying and he was afraid of raising a young boy alone.

They then go to a diner, where they talk about the fight earlier; how Rusty beat the bullies and they congratulate each other. While they are still talking a dog walks up to Rusty and they hear an older Russ call the dog Chester. They both run out and find he has a red plane. Rusty and Russ learn that in late middle age they will become a pilot, have a dog and marry Amy, who will be the mother of their children. Excited, they realize they both changed the future, after which old Russ and Rusty return to their own time.

That’s just a fictional story, but today when I woke up, right before I said my morning prayers, I wondered what I would tell my younger self, teenage Aly, to be precise. Because the things I did/didn’t do as a child somehow shaped my life into what it is today. That’s how I remembered the movie.

As a child I was just introverted, never divulging much. Everyone who knew me branded me ‘the quiet one’. When I wasn’t being ‘quiet’ I had very violent outbursts. Even teachers and fellow students in school knew I was a walking time bomb. As I got into teenage hood, I started experiencing panic attacks and since then, they have always been with me and honestly, there’s nothing pleasant about it.

For the better part of my teenage years, I spent most of my life in and out of hospitals, getting treated for anxiety-related illnesses. If I knew what I know now, chances are I would have sailed happily through teenage hood.

From how I decipher it, all those times I spent in solitude gave me so much time to analyse everything, the good and the bad in depth. I wasn’t talking much, so whenever I had anything troubling me, I internalized it and from that stemmed a deep sitted fear, which eventually morphed into an anxiety disorder.

Most of my thoughts and my perspective of things in general leaned towards pessimism. Because of that, I found myself battling constantly with a racing heart and frantic thoughts…it was chaotic inside; I was always feeling restless. Sometimes I wished my body wasn’t mine, just so I could enjoy some peace of mind, some tranquillity, even if for just a short while.

When I was away in boarding school I would always wonder how mom was doing; if dad was hurting her, and when I went back home during the holidays the situation at home didn’t help either. Mom and dad would be caught up in regular fights. For someone struggling with anxiety issues, that only aggravated my disorder.

If I met my younger self, I would tell her not to worry too much. Parents fight sometimes but it doesn’t always mean they hate each other or they will kill each other. Sometimes I look at my parents and I get the impression they love each other a lot, it’s only that sometimes they seem to have so many conflicting interests.

I would also ask my younger self to go out more and interact with people. This is because I feel I spent too much time alone, mulling over things and that’s how I always managed to get so anxious. It is indeed true that a problem shared is a problem halved.

Most importantly, I would remind her she is not alone. I would tell her that God is always watching over her and even though she may feel things are not going the way she expects, He only wishes the best for her. I would ask her to trust Him more, and to live in the moment, taking one day at a time, without worrying about the future.

Tenth station: Jesus is stripped of His garments

Tenth station-Jesus is stripped of His garments

Reflection

It seems that every step to Calvary brought You fresh humiliation, my Jesus. How Your sensitive nature recoiled at being stripped before a crowd of people. You desired to leave this life as You entered it-completely detached from all of the comforts of this world. You want me to know without a doubt that You loved me with an unselfish love. Your love for me caused You nothing but pain and sorrow.

You gave everything and received nothing in return. Why do I find it so hard to be detached? In Your loving mind dear Jesus, did You look up to The Father as You stood there on that windy hill, shivering from cold and shame and trembling from fear, and ask Him to have mercy on those who would violate their purity and make love a mockery?

Did You ask forgiveness for those whose greed would make them lie, cheat and steal for a few pieces of cold silver?

Prayer

Forgive us all, dear Jesus. Look upon the world with pity, for mankind has lost its way and the principles of this world make lust a fun game and luxury a necessity. Detachment has become merely another hardship of the poor and obedience the fault of the weak.

Have mercy on us and grant the people of this day the courage to see and know themselves and the light to change.

Amen.

No one can be a slave of two masters

Why do we get anxious? Why do we worry? If you’re like me, chances are you worry because you anticipate things that haven’t happened yet. I realized I feel anxious about the future when the present is so good, I couldn’t ask for it to be better. That got me wondering, what if I just enjoyed the present and let the future take care of its own stresses? You know, take one day at a time?

When I walked into church this past Sunday, I prayed that I would learn something important; something that would guide me throughout the week. Coincidentally, the readings addressed matters anxiety:

“No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. This is why I tell you; do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life more worth than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds; they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even king Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. It is God who clothes the wild grass-grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t He be all the more sure to clothe you?

What little faith you have!

So do not start worrying: “Where will my food come from? Or my drink? (These are all the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned about everything else with the kingdom of God. And with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things.

So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” (Matthew 6: 24-34).

I have read this verses so many times before, but hearing the words again reminded me why worrying is really useless. Worrying won’t help alleviate whatever problems one is going through; it just weakens a person and takes their joy away. It magnifies small matters, making them seem unsolvable. So what’s the point of worrying? I have said this in previous posts, but I reiterate; one can only choose to believe in God or let fear and worry consume them. It’s impossible to serve two masters.

And the thing with anxiety is that once someone starts worrying about something, it becomes a vicious cycle; a cycle that paves way for darkness; a path that leads one into depression. When one gets used to worrying, they will always have something to worry about everyday; because that’s what fear does. It brings to focus things that on a normal day would just pass unnoticed. And it’s those small things that steal our joy away.

dark path

Do you choose to believe that tomorrow will take care of its worries? Or will you be anxious about tomorrow and let happiness seep right through your fingers today? It’s a choice one has to make. What master will I serve? That’s the question.

Sometimes it’s ok to hurt people

In relationships, there’s that person who will take on the martyr role. Apologizing for their partner’s mistakes, being the one who’s more understanding because they’re afraid if they tell their partner the truth their partner will ditch them or get majorly offended. But now, from my own experience I’ve learned, sometimes it’s ok to hurt people. Not in a malicious way, but to offend because one knows it’s only by hurting the other person that they’ll be able to move on. Sometimes it’s necessary.

There’s a time I’d approach relationships with the ‘I’d rather be the one who gets hurt than the one who hurts’ mentality, but what did that teach me? That sometimes there comes a person who doesn’t have your best interests at heart and they’ll kick you down so hard that it will take all of your strength to pick yourself up.

There’s this guy I was seeing. Every now and then he would mention how he felt inadequate because he wasn’t making much money. He always gave me the impression he thought I was high maintenance. Funny thing is I never even asked for anything from him. My extended family has always made money seem like a very big issue and that made my sisters and I grow feeling disadvantaged. From that I learned to never put anyone in that awful situation. He was no exception. I fathomed it was his own insecurities that made him feel inadequate.

He would often ask what someone like me saw in someone like him and I’d have to repeat the ‘it’s the heart that matters’ conversation, telling him what I found attractive about him…and that would quell his doubts…until the next time. It was getting old. At some point I started reflecting on where I expected that relationship to head. To my dismay, I realized I didn’t really love him. I was always happy telling my girlfriends about him, but I wasn’t in love with him. I was only in love with the idea of being in love.

I wanted to break up with him on so many occasions, but I’d pity him, afraid I would break his heart; I was afraid he would think I was breaking up with him because he wasn’t loaded. Whenever he did something wrong and I pointed it out he would deflect it, blaming it on me. He would play the needy, spoiled brat, taking me on unnecessary guilt trips. It was exhausting. But whenever I thought of breaking it off, the nagging thought would surface, hindering me from freeing myself from the strenuous relationship.

I was certain I didn’t want to be in that relationship, but the fear of hurting him would keep me going. Six months down the line, a part of me wanted it to work because I was getting attached to him. You know, the ‘can’t-live-without-him when apart and can’t-live-with him when together’ phase.

There were things about him I genuinely liked that gave me hope that maybe it could work, even though I knew at the time I wasn’t particularly in love with him. I didn’t envision a future with him but somehow the fear of hurting him made me stay.

One day, he just went MIA. Couldn’t reach him on phone and since it was a long distance relationship there wasn’t much I could do to track him down at the time. I knew I didn’t love him but it hurt an awful lot. I had thought it would be easier if he was the one who broke up with me first so that way I wouldn’t be the one dishing the pain, but I realized I was wrong. He didn’t even have the guts to break up with me appropriately. He just switched his phone off and assumed I would get the drift.

That made me question my resolve; did I really want to be the one left hurting because I was afraid of hurting someone else? Had I left when I contemplated it, I would have saved myself so much anguish. Chances are I would have hurt him, but since my instincts had forewarned me it wasn’t going to work, I figured I should just have left. I was afraid I would hurt him, but when he decided to leave he just did it like a coward; creeping out, paying little attention to how I’d feel.

I learned, sometimes we may have other people’s interests at heart, but it turns out not everyone is kind. For that reason, if one is in a relationship or a situation where they feel they’ll hurt someone if they followed their hearts; it may sound selfish but sometimes it’s better to hurt that person and get out of the mess when it’s still early because if prolonged, the situation could mutate into something so painful that will leave one grappling with sanity; because sometimes the sacrifice isn’t worth it.

Feeling abandoned?

But the people of Jerusalem said, “The Lord has abandoned us! He has forgotten us.”

So the Lord answers, “Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you. Jerusalem, I can never forget you! I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:14-16).

How many times do we think, “The Lord has abandoned me,” when we feel everything in our lives is going downhill? How many times do we find ourselves questioning God’s presence in our lives when we are burdened? I used to think like that too, until I found out that whenever we feel like we’re walking alone, thinking God left us, He’s always there with us, waiting for the right time to come so He can act.

In a previous post I wrote about there being a time for everything. God acts in time. Sometimes we may feel we’re in desperate need of something, and when we pray for it and don’t get it straight away, we feel our heavenly Father has abandoned us. The verse above is a reminder, straight from God’s mouth, “I will never forget you.”

Even in that time of great need we should keep our faith in him, believe that He will come through for us when the time’s right. He gives an example of a woman. In reality there are many women who abandon their children, so in a way someone who has been abandoned by their mother might not be able to relate to this, but a great percentage of women will die for their children.

That’s why majority of us sing in praise of our mothers. They would go through anything, do just about anything, to protect their children. So God asks, “Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore?” He knows we’re only human and are bound to make mistakes at times; but even so, He promises, “Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.”

A mother’s love is said to be the greatest. But God’s surpasses that. Such is His love. He loves us unconditionally; He loves us at our best, and even when we’re at our worst, afraid He would abandon us because we wronged; He loves us even more at that time. And when one finds themselves going through unmitigated pain, they would ask, “If He loves us that much, why would He allow such agony?”

Imagine if we were always happy, if things always turned out the way we wanted? The way I see it, from my own experiences, I appreciate food when I see it because I’ve been hungry. I empathize with a hungry person on the streets because I know how it feels to be hungry. When I feel happy, I try all I can to hold on to the beautiful feeling because I’ve been trapped in the dark depths of depression. When I wake up without any aches/pain tormenting me, I realize it’s a blessing because I know how it feels to be sick. In short, the bad moments help us appreciate the good moments.

God allows us to go through painful moments because He knows from it we draw our strengths. Before Jesus died on the cross, He asked God, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” He felt alone and abandoned. But God, in His infinite wisdom knew by dying His Son would achieve so much more. If God knew the pain would be for naught, He wouldn’t let Him go through it.

In the same case, when we suffer, it’s because He knows we will gain something better. If we embrace our pain, and look at it with faith, we will reap so much from it. God is assuring us, “I will never forget you.” We make promises and break them, but when He promises something, He fulfils it. He is a faithful God. When things are not going the way we expect; when our prayers don’t get answered immediately, we should remember those words. “I can never forget you. I have written your name on the palms of my hands. ”