Unexpected Gifts from Grief

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2016. When they told me S’s dad had been diagnosed with abdominal cancer, I wept. He was even younger than my dad, but the same thing will take them away from their loved ones this year. 2016.

Then in November, H’s 6yr old and my step-grandmother passed (My dad’s mother passed in June, 3 weeks after him) In December, T’s mother, phew. And we all profess belief in a God that created the universe and the tiny little bacteria, so what do we do with all this pain, this hurt, this grief?.

This was what I wrestled with from May to August before the storm broke. I could finally see sun rays and all the gifts around me.

God

It is really hard to express, but there are several moments that made me grateful for a God who cares, a God who gives.

December 2015 was the last Christmas I had with my dad (2013 the previous), I had felt a huge pull to go to Nigeria when I could have been in Morocco with a guy and you know how much I love travel. Then early 2016, My friend TA compelled me to go to a RZIM event on Suffering, I reluctantly went, buying my ticket 2 days before, but it was so good I tweeted about it. Lastly, when my dad got sick and was back in Nigeria after diagnosis and a battery of tests, I got into the country hours before he would go into a coma and never return.

God takes care of the befores and afters. While in the dark moments, as I’ve documented, God came through in that valley, God always does.

Friendships

Grief affects relationships, all for good, you get to know true friends, you learn to voice expectations and drop entitlement. One friendship in particular grew strong, we first met face to face the day my dad passed and it keeps growing. Friendship with my mum and siblings has also bloomed.

I couldn’t work for 3 months because my head was restless, so imagine the joy when the storm started to break, I got an amazing job opportunity from someone I became friends with early 2016. And now, I feel super grateful to be part of building a technology team of friends!

One close friend got married in december, of course I was there to end the year with such celebrations, amazing!

Gratitude

In August, as I began to contemplate on the past decades of my life, the life changing year, this broke through all my thoughts. I said to myself then, how could I be feeling grateful when we are all in mourning. But nothingelse made any sense, I began to see so much to be grateful for, uncountable.

I’ve been gifted with life and love. I’m grateful for my dad “The most honest man in Nigeria” and the lives he touched, for knowing him. Grateful of the little pockets of joy whether its waking up to see my nieces standing by my bed or eating jollof rice…So this began my journey in observing the world with eyes of appreciation. I bought thank-you cards and gave them out to people who had touched my life.

Music

Forerunner Music. Ah what a blessing! I stumbled on them in May shortly before learning my dad was sick, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to their songs.

My favorite to play is the Live Worship session

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLb6rc7MzpEmErQcqgov-mWm9kT8es09DE

Go on have a listen, lots of artists with different styles, just amazing.

This has blessed me unquantifiably!

Clarity

As someone with myopia, it’s like putting on a fresh pair of glasses. I have no doubt about my priorities and purpose in life, how it’s executed is the fun bit to figure out. In September I had to choose between two job opportunities, one paid 10 times higher than the other, but the conversations with the rude recruiter didn’t ignite my heart with peace and then as clear as glass I knew what to do.

Learning/Leaning more on God and Love has been a life-changer.

“Trust in the LORD and Do good”

All of life’s purpose summed up in a verse that has been persistent this entire period (Psalm 37:3) Glory be!

— — -

So I walk into 2017 confidently, bearing both the scars and the gifts, knowing that all things work together for the good of them that trust God.

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