I realize a couple of months have gone by since Easter, but there are a few important points I gathered that I found so helpful. See, there’s this prayer I bumped into (and I say bumped into because I didn’t go looking for it, I just found it): My Jesus, I have travelled your way of the cross. It seems so real and I feel so ashamed. I complain of my sufferings and find obedience to the Father’s Will difficult. My mind bogged down by the poverty, sickness, starvation, greed and hatred in the world. There are many innocent people who suffer so unjustly.
There are those born with physical and mental defects. Do we understand that You continue to carry Your cross in the minds and bodies of each human being? Help me to see the Father’s Will in every incident of my daily life. This is what You did-You saw the Father’s will in Your persecutors, Your enemies and Your pain. You saw a beauty in the cross and embraced it as a desired treasure.
My worldly mind is dulled by injustice and suffering and I lose sight of the glory that is to come. Help me to trust the Father and to realize that there is something great behind the most insignificant suffering. There is someone lifting my cross to fit my shoulders-there is Divine wisdom in all the petty annoyances that irk my soul every day. Teach me the lessons contained in my Cross, the wisdom in its necessity, the beauty of its variety and the fortitude that accompanies even the smallest cross…”
This particular prayer ‘found’ it’s way to me at a very convenient moment; God knew I would need it a few weeks down the line. Last year December I had a dream, and unlike other dreams I always get when I’m deep in slumber, this one didn’t just die. It became a tormenting thought.
Three years ago I made three friends, all from my estate; my skating buddies. They were all guys, who were so different from each other, but I liked them regardless, because I realized each one was unique in their own way. I found one so loquacious, and I appreciated it because if we were together I would never feel bored. He’s basically one of those guys who always have something interesting to say. His downside, I realized, was that he easily gets swayed by other people’s opinions.
The second one was a bit reserved. He’s an introvert but his sense of responsibility awed me. He’s the kinda guy who will stay sober in a party, just to keep an eye on his friends while they drink away, and every so often will remind them not to over indulge. Once, we had a tête-à-tête and as I listened to his long term plan, I felt if he didn’t get derailed he would be every kid’s ideal dad. I was impressed.
The third one was a laid-back guy, fun-loving, an exquisite dancer and a trend setter among his guy friends. Sometimes we would find ourselves alone, sitted somewhere just chatting and I felt he was more like me- quiet or chatty depending on whose company he was in. He was good at everything he did; if he was in his skates, he would give onlookers something amazing to talk about. If he was on the dance floor, he would put his soul in it and from a lady’s perspective, he was quite a charmer.
When I met them the first time, I couldn’t ignore the fact that they were all so breathtaking, but then I reminded myself of that principle I’ve always upheld for the past few years since I left high school; not to have any romantic relationships with my co-workers or neighbours. It’s a decision I made after realizing I wouldn’t always up and leave if a relationship I had at work or in my neighbourhood turned sour. I had no choice but to draw my own boundaries.
The three guys were best friends, and looking at their individual traits, I realized they complimented each other. I always repeated my mantra in my head; however irresistible they appeared, all we could be was friends. That served as my constant restraint. Another reason that made me stick to my mantra was the simple fact that if I bumped into any one of them in the estate, in the company of another lady, I wouldn’t feel a tad jealous. They were just friends.
Whoever said rules were meant to be broken was so right because sometimes I would find myself going against my own mantra and I would find myself flirting. It was a guilty-pleasure. Once we attended a house party, and as we danced to the dance hall tunes, pulling off some risqué moves, the inevitable happened; guy #1 and me got caught up in the party mood and before we knew it we were groping each other, our lips locked in a lustful passion.
It took a while before I came back to my senses. Later that night I hit the reset button and the next day we went back to being just friends. Complicated friendship.
Of the three guys, I felt more connected to guy #3, but even then, our relationship remained a semblance of Platonicism, marred by the occasional flirting. The way I see it, it is almost impossible to have a platonic relationship with someone you could be attracted to; it takes all the strength one can summon.
So last year December I had this dream, that guy #3 had moved. It felt like a nightmare. When I woke up, I couldn’t be happier that it had just been a dream, but then an inexplicable ominous feeling engulfed me; it was that of an imminent loss. Ever since, no matter how hard I tried to shake off that feeling it just refused to go away. Whenever we met up I had this thought drumming at the back of my mind that he wouldn’t be around for long.
Funny thing is, he had never mentioned anything about them moving, and two, the idea felt odd because all the houses in the estate are mortgaged so people don’t move often. In my head I pictured how it would happen; my small sister would be the one to notice the empty house, then she would come and tell me about it. It was like a premonition.
In April, that’s when my nightmare came true, exactly as I had pictured it in my head. One might wonder why it felt like a big deal; they’d only moved. Truth is I’m not a big believer in long distance relationships, so at the back of my mind I knew things would change. It wouldn’t be the same again. I wouldn’t see him as often as I used to; maybe I would never see him again.
Our dining room window overlooks their house, so as I stood there looking at the curtainless windows in the distance, petrified that my dream had come true and the fact that my friend had just moved, I remembered the prayer; to see God’s will in everything. I couldn’t understand how it happened; the guy I liked most was precisely the one who had gone, and it hadn’t happened out of the clear blues; I had known it would happen, and no one had told me about it in advance. It felt eerie. I didn’t know what to make of it.
That morning, as I stared outside in a trance, the past few weeks started replaying in my head. Somehow, whenever we planned to meet up, something would happen, making us cancel. Maybe I was being paranoid, but there was literally, a greater force than us keeping us apart.
The only way I could move on was if I looked at it through the eyes of faith; it was God’s will. It hurt; it felt surreal, but knowing that it was God working calmed me down; there was something great behind the most insignificant suffering.
I reasoned, with the turn things had been taking lately, we would have crossed some boundaries; maybe I would have done something I would have regretted for a long time to come. Possibly I would be ‘dying’ of a broken heart if he had stayed; I liked him more than I was willing to admit, even to myself. Then again, God’s ways are mysterious…