As I sat at my departure gate awaiting my boarding, I envisioned my plane was Lagos- rather than London-bound. Oh, just how exciting that would have be! Having terribly missed the hustle and bustle of that city, I did want to go back, if only for a day.
Lagos is just so alive. A city that literally never sleeps. Living there was supremely enthralling. It was fascinating on numerous levels. Every day simply had to be dramatic; society would make sure of that. Not a single day would go by without putting its very own and exceedingly unique stamp on it. There was no getting used to Lagos for me, not really anyway. There was only the norm of abnormality, the subtle voice in the wilderness beckoning me to “Brace yourself! Buckle up! Get/Be ready at all times!” for something was sure to happen; if not right now, then surely in a moment.
There were no normal days. There was just Lagos and the love/hate-relationship almost everyone who had ever lived there could testify to. Lagos was simply, well, Lagos! And I missed it.. terribly.
At least I did so that very moment.
The beauty of memories.
I knew I wasn’t really ready to leave the comforts of Vienna again- not yet, anyway.
I was happy, content, at ease. I was comfortable, safe, secure. I was enjoying myself. I was in university again, job-hunting. I was making friends and meeting new people. I was going shopping and exercising a lot. I was in a good place- physically, mentally and spiritually. I loved it here.
For the most part anyway. Having just come back from Lagos, I was once again made aware about the difficulties I was forced to face as a black Austrian, or as “real Austrians” would put it, a “German-speaking African”.
Sometimes it was all too disappointing, stressful, frustrating.. painful.
However, I still loved the liberty that came with living in a place like this, and so I accepted its struggles.
The beauty of challenges.
And as I kept reflecting, I smiled at the realization that I would pretty much be fine anywhere in the world.
A realization that came from nothing other than the fact that regardless of where I was, I was complete.
Beyond complete, I was lead and accompanied; and as such, capable of both facing and overcoming just about anything.
Having taken a dive in cold waters more than just once, I’ve grown into a more intelligent (and hopefully better) person; have discovered treasures and embraced experiences. I was fine because I wasn’t scared of the unknown, not threatened by change; for I was never alone. I was loved and cared for. I was watched over and protected. I was directed. All this was me.
The state I was in was no bad one at all. I realized that my ability to feel free -and, depending on your perception, radical/revolutionary/conservative/or even idealistic- were all aspects of myself that could be beautifully combined in a non-threatening manner; that my nuances -as contradictory as they may seem- had all been beautifully woven into a complete picture of one patiently-crafted human being. And so I smiled, for whatever may be, I’ll always be me.
A transitioning and growing and learning and developing me; but me non-the-less.
This thought alone felt overwhelmingly refreshing.
However, it is much easier to remain oneself, to remember who one is, when circumstances outside one’s self change, rather than within. You see, all too often we get so lost in situations and circumstances, we fall, make mistakes, step on toes, betray our morals, bend our rules, and eventually fall into the trap of forgetting our intrinsic nature. We wonder and wander..
It follows that, in forgetting who we truly are, we get lost. Having now given in to shame and regret, we become perverted and distorted reflections of who we were truly created to be. We abandon our perfectly-created selves and consequently feel abandoned by Him too.
We no longer see tomorrow; hope turning into a distant memory. We are trapped in our own frailties and short-comings, distracted by our own hurt and disappointments. We become blind and paralyzed men, incapable of leading a productive life.
During Chapel of Life’s watch-night service, Pastor O said something rather remarkable, “This year, hold no pity-parties. Do not fall and whine and cry and feel sorry for yourself. When you fall, just get back up!”
I guess this is the quintessence of today’s message: discover and embrace you! This journey of discovery, however, starts and ends with Him. So, when you do finally look into that perfectly pure and true mirror, do not be like the man who forgets what he looks like. If you do it right, the more you discover, the more you realize just how much more there is to uncover.
Therein only lies true refreshing..