It is often said that you never appreciate the value of something or someone until you have lost it or him/her. You miss your pet the most when it has gone missing or has died. The mind comes up with all the things that could have done with an item after it has been misplaced. Sometimes we let things slip through our fingers just so as to have something else we desire. And after we have whatever we wanted in our grasp, we realize what a mistake we have made.
For me, it wasn’t swapping a nice guy for a seemingly “nicer” dude. I gave up my youth and the perks of the single life for an early marriage-and not with the love of my life; but with who promised and looked capable of giving me a paradise-kind of life. At that point in time, I didn’t think of how much that decision would cost me- I thought the price was worth the gain. Until…
Well, this is my story.
I remember the day so well-the day I sold my freedom. I remember my friends being all excited for me as they went about dressing me up. All but Karen. As I smiled admiringly at my image in the mirror, I saw her absent-minded face. I turned and called her. She blinked as her eyes met mine.
“Are you okay, huh? Your mind seems far away.” She sighed as she sat next to me and looked at me.
“Are you really sure of what you’re getting yourself into? It is not too late to call it off, you know?”
But it was too late for a turnaround now. Is she kidding me? After all the bucks he had splashed on me and not forgetting the big show he did at the traditional wedding, how can I not go through with it? Of course it would call for a refund of his expenses at the customary ceremony and knowing my family; that money is far from recollection.
“Of course I know what I’m getting myself into. I’m getting married, Karen; why can’t you be happy for me?”
“You know I always have your best interests at heart. I just feel you’re rushing into this. You don’t even love the guy.”
“I think love is overrated. Yes I may not love him but who cares about that? I fell in love once and you know how that ended. This man respects me and is more than willing to spend every dime of his great fortune on me to keep me by his side. What else can I ask for?” I said.
“And he is fourteen years older than you, Em! You always leave that out.”
“I think age is overrated as well,” I countered with a shrug. “It is a number and judging from what I know about numbers, you can spin it any way you want as long as you work it out,” I said with a wink.
“I know you, Emily. I know how happy you were when you were in love and you may think you can survive without it but you can’t. Sooner or later…”
“I’ll cross the bridge when I get to it. At least Fitz can buy my love with good money. What did that moron do to deserve my love? As long as there is mutual respect and understanding, we are covered.”
Karen sighed when she realized she could not get through to me…in time. Before she could say anything else, my mother burst in with all smiles.
“Oh you look amazing, my dear. You’re going to be the envy of every woman in the church.” I smiled.
And I was. I could see it in the teary but smiling faces of the ladies as I walked up aisle. My father walked proudly beside me with my arm tucked safely under his. My anxiously beating heart calmed down when my dad put my hand in Fitz’s and kissed my cheek.
“You look beautiful,” he whispered. I giggled like a little girl as we turned to face the officiating minister.
Everyone applauded cheerfully after we were introduced to the congregation as Mr. and Mrs. Daniels. All but Karen. Her eyes looked like she was crying inside her. I have not sold myself to slavery for crying out loud, I thought to myself. How can my best friend be such a buzzkill on my wedding day? I’ll take her out and spoil her a bit and I’m sure she’ll be fine. Maybe a taste of my new found heaven will lighten her up a bit.
She is almost always right about certain life choices I make but she’s definitely wrong about this one, I convinced myself. This handsome mature dude has put the ring on it and I must say, I’m loving it. All other things can wait.
Little did I know…
Like the mother hen who watches over her eggs anxiously;
So does the mother’s heart follow her son wherever he goes;
In him she sees the fruit of her love, blossoming to be the finest young man ever seen;
Others may see her as overprotective,
But she sees it as a caring gesture; his wellbeing is all what matters to her.
So when and how does this sweet loving mother become the mean and cold person that everyone points at?
Does she turn selfish with the boy she has seen grown up well so as not to share him with anyone else?
Every spinster’s greatest fear is meeting that harsh, hard-to-please woman who holds the key to her future happiness.
The mother is the first rival of every wife and the strongest contender of them all.
She may be a little extreme but she just wants to be sure the one she is handing her mantle to, can handle her precious son the way she thinks best.
She can be every wife’s greatest nightmare but she can be her new best friend as well;
Who else knows the man as well as his sweet mama?
But just the earth is round and life is full of cycles;
The wife also becomes a mother to a bouncy baby boy and before she knows it, she becomes the figure she once feared: the mother-in-law.
It seems the mood you wake up in follows you throughout the day.
You wake up and you are hopeful that something good is coming your way. You see the bright side of things: instead of a setback, you see a setup for a comeback. Instead of an obstacle, you see an opportunity. You are so pumped up with optimism that the day has no choice but to offer what it can to your heart’s satisfaction.
On other days, you wake up troubled. Not so sure why, but you just feel restless. Just a little trigger and you send your mind on a wild chase to find out why something is not going the way it should. Even when there is no bad news, your heart is beating nervously; just waiting for it. The whole day passes you by and you find no joy no matter how well your day went because you were gearing yourself up for trouble. You were just thinking and waiting for something to go wrong.
And sometimes, you wake up blank. Neither cheerful, hopeful nor troubled. You are like an empty page just ready to take it all in; both the good and the bad. Nothing shakes you up; whatever happens, you shake it off and you move on. The good part is, you don’t allow the ups and downs of life to get to you; the bad thing is, you sometimes overlook the good things that come your way and you take things for granted.
Every day is different. You may wake up at the same time each morning but you wake up feeling different each day. Setbacks are bound to happen now and then but your reaction to them changes how the story ends. You may wake up feeling on top of the world, keep it up. That’s where you’re supposed to be. You were created to fill and subdue the earth and not the other way round. And if you wake up feeling your world is about to end, refuse to let it ruin your day. What’s the possible worst case scenario? Even that doesn’t have the right to steal the joy out of the day.
No matter which mood you wake up in, make it a point to go to bed in a grateful mood. Things will not always go the way you would wish them to but as long as you are still among the living, there is hope. Make the best out of every day even the worst days and be thankful for every experience. Everything is for a reason.
I never considered the sting that comes with the tag “The Other Woman” until I became one. I always stereotyped that kind of woman to be that selfish, wicked and home wrecking kind who felt no qualms of breaking another woman’s heart and bleeding it dry. The thing is, I didn’t even know I was one.
Why would that thought even cross my mind when there were no red flags? Or maybe there were but I was too blindly in love to notice them. He was always there for me- in every way. Never reached his voicemail or worst still the lady on the other side telling me the phone was off when I called. Never threw a tantrum when I demanded more of what he readily offered: his time, affection and yeah, sometimes his money.
We had our little quarrels, yes; but that’s humanly normal. He never gave me the sense that he was discontented with me or again maybe, I was too comfortable to care. He was happy with me or was it all in my head?
I was fairly content with my life with him until I saw beautifully dressed young woman with a ring at the supermarket. The way she carried herself and the way the ring gleamed with every little move of the hand, literally whet my appetite for something more than being merely involved with someone. And what even melted my heart was the charming smile of her little daughter when her eyes met mine and gave me a shy, innocent wave.
But the perfect picture of what could have been my future was shattered when her supposed husband who came up behind her and kissed her cheek turned out to be my one and only. I could feel my heart slowing down and my breathing becoming heavy. He lifted his head and saw me and shockingly, he didn’t flinch. He just looked away and attended to his wife and child.
I don’t know how to describe how I felt: whether heartbroken or dizzy like someone who just woke up out of an unbelievable nightmare. I decided not to call and just wait it out till my heartbeat could get back to normal. He never called. And when I called, for the first time, it went straight to voicemail. Then I knew my fairytale was over.
How could he do this to me? How long has he been playing both of us? I have been with him for five years and judging from the scenario at the supermarket, his marriage smelled relatively brand new. What was he looking for that he had to go behind me and seek for someone else? And if he had found the one, why not break it off with me and stay with her? Men, can’t be satisfied with just one, can they?
I never saw him again. Not that he vanished out of town but I decided to stay away. I would be lying if I said it was an easy decision. For weeks, all I could think of was how to destroy his perfect little paradise-how to tell his wife in a dramatic explosive way which would turn his life upside down. But what was the point?
I was the Other Woman; the fact that she is the Mrs. And I’m not earns me the title automatically. And knowing the ugly stigma that comes with it, I didn’t want to be seen that way. It is all behind me now. I’m back at square one-single and searching. But now, I’m wiser. The fact that an interested guy is not wearing a ring does not mean I’m the only one he’s got his eyes on. Next time, I won’t be so foolish. I won’t become the Other Woman again.
I recently watched a short silent video which really caught my attention. It was captioned “The Files.” In the video, there was this long stretch of cabinets like the ones we see in banks. A young guy approached and opened one labelled “Lies” and it was full of files. And then he opened another one labelled “Betrayal” and it was the same. Each account was recorded with precise detail. And it went on and on. He felt sad that his life record was full of wrongdoings. But his eyes lit up with hope when he saw a cabinet with the inscription, “People I have shared the gospel with.” But to his utmost dismay, the cabinet was empty. And when he tried to walk away from it all, he fell down, hard on the ground. Then he realized his feet were chained to the cabinet.
It got me thinking. If I were to see detailed records of my deeds since when I knew the difference between right and wrong, would I be pleased with myself? If I am to recall right from my childhood and recount the lies I have told about people, will I find the slander justifiable at the time, a totally wrong move? If I were to write down all the bad things I have done and can remember and do the same for the good things, which list would be longer?
Sometimes as we go about our lives day in and day out, we forget that our actions and inactions have consequences and sometimes ripple effects. Some things we might have said or done for just fun could have planted the poisonous seed of bitterness in someone’s heart which may still be haunting him or her till this day.
Don’t wait till the Judgment Day before you realize how much time you have wasted on earth hurting people and yourself in the process. The clock is ticking and no one knows when it will all end. It is not too long to make a turnaround. Check yourself and set yourself right. Everything you do is being recorded.
I lay awake in the night;
Staring hard at nothing;
All I can hear is the beating of my own heart and the ticking of the clock;
Because everything else has gone to sleep;
My mind is busy buzzing;
Thinking about what, I do not know;
But sleep continues to elude me;
And instead of feeling relaxed,
I feel more tired with each passing minute.
Then I become afraid;
Not of the darkness;
But of being left alone with my thoughts;
In the quietness of it all;
My mind begins to play all the suppressed thoughts;
The deepest fears relayed;
The worst scenarios painted so real;
That I feel I’m having a nightmare though wide awake;
So I close my eyes hoping they would all go away.
And when the morning sun’s rays hit my eyes;
And my brain reboots to start the day;
I forget it all; after all it’s a new day;
I am cheerful, without a care in the world;
Everything seems fine; every thought hopeful;
Until the night falls again;
And all I hear is the beating of my heart
Which was happy before but now anxiously;
And I’m left with my thoughts all over again.
People usually don’t mind spending their tight-budgeted money on food, clothes or even movie or concert tickets as long as they are enjoying the derived short-lived pleasure themselves. And it is equally easy for people to donate or contribute money for causes that concern them or which they sympathize with.
But when it comes to giving at church, it seems to be one of the most difficult things to do. Church leaders have to constantly warm their members up to the idea and keep on reminding them on why they should give. Some even resort to smart tactics so as to receive as much funds as possible. But if there is anything I have learnt, it is that it takes grace to give especially to things pertaining to God. If you don’t have that special grace, you will always struggle to give. Your mind will always bring up reasons why you shouldn’t give: you have other issues to sort out with the money.
It is true that you can serve God with other resources like your time and gifts but I dare say that if apart from these, if you cannot serve Him with your substance, then there’s a problem somewhere. Remember, where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be also.
We find it difficult to part with our money because it means a lot to us; we had to toil hard to earn it so we feel that whatever we are investing into with our money should reap us even greater benefits. But in case you didn’t know, it does pay to invest in God’s business; it is the by far the most lucrative venture ever. But we deny ourselves this great privilege by holding back our substances and spending them on far less important ventures which bring us short-lived returns.
Giving goes beyond a committed decision to fulfil. It is a grace that only comes from above. Ask God for that special grace to be able to give out of love and with a willing and cheerful heart. And the God who owns everything in this entire universe will repay you in ways you cannot even imagine.
Always remember: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again-Luke 6:38 (KJV).