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So, What if...We don’t get to live long

By Swandy Banta
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It was a beautiful Saturday morning. I woke up with the very strong urge to visit with one of my mentors. It had been a while since my last visit. I picked up my phone, made an appointment for noon and headed to see her later that day. It was one of those times when I would visit for two hours and leave her house feeling so energized because of the many life lessons that had been transferred to me. By 9pm in the evening that day while I took notes in my diary on the happenings of the day, which I did not want to forget, I received an unusual text message which said my mentor whom I had spent hours with earlier in the day had suddenly passed away that evening. I was shocked. I am still shocked.

I also know a young Lawyer who had just begun his life. It was going to be beautiful. He was going to work hard, win many cases and become a senior advocate of Nigeria some day. We were all going to celebrate him. That was the story until the fateful day a few months ago when he went to the ATM with a friend and slumped while waiting on the queue for his turn to use the machine. That was the beginning of a three month hospital stay that eventually culminated in his death. As soon as I got off the phone with my mum who told me about the incident, I asked myself, “Why then do we bother to go through all the rigours of life?”

Then I remembered the story of a very brilliant medical doctor. Let’s call him Ike. His mother sold bread, corn and anything she could lay her hands on just to train him through medical school. In return, Ike was an extremely smart kid who never flunked any of his exams and graduated with honours in medicine. Mama was so happy to be called the mother of the brilliant medical doctor, until that fateful day when her joy was cut short. Dr. Ike got killed in a ghastly motor accident. And I asked again, “What then is the point?”

If at the end of the day we may not live long and then we will also experience pain and undergo torturous times such as this, why bother in the first place. Why don’t we just live complacent lives and watch TV while we wait for death to claim us as is the expected norm. Why waste five years reading Law, another one year in Law school only to end up dying mysteriously. Why spend those sleepless nights preparing to serve humanity as a Doctor when a ghastly motor accident awaits you before you can even contribute to medical practice?

Sigh!!! After venting about the mysteries of life, I began to reason issues out. Firstly, if these young men had not lived well enough up until the moment they suddenly left, the world would not have felt the pain of their loss. Also, loosing these ones has a way of reminding us to be grateful for the little milestones we achieve here on earth, knowing that we may not get to the final destination we anticipate.

Listen up..... Never wait till you get to your destination before you release your potentials. Remember to maximize the journey. As you travel the road to your final destination of achievements, be deliberate about continuously contributing your own quota to life, having the understanding that getting to destination will not be determined by you. You may never get to the destination, but even if you don’t, you will surely be remembered for your contributions to life while on the journey. The truth of the matter actually is that where you stop on the journey of life is actually your destination. It may not be the one you humanly planned, but in fact is your destination.

If you are a parent with young kids, stop believing that your kids need to grow up before they begin to live a purposeful life. Teach them to live on purpose early enough. If you’re a young adult, learn to make good use of your time. You may never get old. So instead of spending endless hours watching TV and playing games; get up and get busy fulfilling your purpose. You are never too young or too old to be purposeful.

I remember when we were kids and used to watch the young “Tosin Jegede” singing for Nigeria. It was magical to us that a little girl like us was affecting her generation and even older generations. While we watched at home another kid just like us was making a mark. Make no mistake; our time is passing by swiftly. We need to number our days and make wise use of time because it may soon be exhausted. I don’t think it is wrong to pursue a career, but I also think pursuing purpose is a better idea.

As surely as the rain falls on both the good and the bad so do misfortunes happen to both the good and the bad. I often wondered why bad things happen to good people. Why innocent people suffer pain. It seems so unfair to see good people caught up in really bad situations. I have realized that in situations like that there is more to it than meets the eye. There is a hidden blessing in the pain. It may take a while or may be revealed in no distant time, but there is always a hidden blessing.

Trust me, it is not how long you live that matters but how well you live. It is also not about what happens to you but much more how you handle what life throws at you. The sad thing about life is that the mundane things usually take up all our time while the things that really matter are being thrown to the back seat of life. I have heard people speak of books they want to write, businesses they want to start, charity or community work they want to volunteer for. Sadly most of these dreams always end up as mere wishes. No wonder the popular writer, Miles Munroe wrote in one of his books that the richest place on earth is the graveyard. He explained that many people died with their unwritten books, songs they never sang, inventions they never made and so on and so forth.

What is that thing you are supposed to do that you have tossed to the back seat of your life? Maybe you should get wise and get going. Stop waiting for every condition to be right before you set out to fulfil your purpose. Time waits for no one. It certainly won’t wait for me or you because not everyone lives long but everyone can live well and leave a mark.

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]