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By MARION MAINA
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I was having coffee with a friend the other day and out of the blue she mused,” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life had an “undo” button?”

“Like the one in a computer,” I asked, puzzled at where she was going with this.

“Yes. I would hit it and undo January. Start 2019 all over again, you know. Like a retake or a rewind.”

We sat in silence as her words stewed in my mind. Of course her musings were absurd, laughable even but I let myself think about it for a while.

This month has been rough. We have lost loved ones to diseases, accidents and cowardly acts of terrorism. Our hearts are engulfed with grief, inconsolable young families left to fend for themselves. Some of us have had our finances stretched out so thin it is a wonder we have made it this far. Even the weather doesn’t seem to be keen on giving us a break with the scorching sun adding to our misery.

“But that is not an option. Life has no ‘undo’ button. The sun sets and when it rises it’s another day to go through life. There are no takebacks,” I said breaking the palpable silence between us.
“Sure, there are no takebacks. Just hope. Hope that the new day will bring with it some good tidings. Hope that the pain of yesterday will sting a tad less today, you know. Hope is good. Not as great as an ‘undo’ button but good all the same,” she replied.

My friend was right to say that hope is good, but like most good things, it doesn’t come easy. It takes deliberate effort, resilience and at times outright defiance to hope.

A jobless youth who is struggling to make rent and pay student loans sends out applications and knocks on several doors defying the urge to despair, hoping that from the heap of rejected applications, one will go through.

A terminally ill patient defies years of medical research and doctors’ reports believing that the treatment will work and they will live longer. A country rises from attack, digs it heels deep to defy terror and remains resilient. Unbowed.

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A lot can be said of how the now concluding January, most of it is nothing to smile about. Yet, if we look close enough and train our eyes hard on the elusive strain of silver lining, we can actually find something to be thankful for. Gratitude will nourish our hope to go forth and expect great things in 2019.

When we are deeply afflicted, then we must search even more deeply for that one thing that will keep us going. Is it a clean bill of health? A roof over our head and clothes on our back?

Is it the gift of family and a place to call home? Is it the peace of mind despite the turmoil and upheavals of our day to day life? Is it the blessing of children, whose toothless smiles meet you at the door each evening making you to momentarily forget that you are drowning in debt?

Oprah Winfrey once said: “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Sure, despair comes to us almost instinctively. Frustration and grief need no compelling; they sweep over our unsuspecting hearts like a massive suffocating tide. Its’s this gratitude and hope business that takes a toll on us; that is where the real work is.

After we have taken the time we need to process the cruel curveballs that life throws our way, there is need to find strength and move on. Because life is not static, the day breaks and life goes on.

There are no takebacks and certainly no ‘undo’ buttons.

I have found gratitude a good place to start from when looking for strength to move one. To be honest, some life blows hit me so hard that I find it almost impossible to find something to be thankful for.

While it doesn’t necessarily take away the pain or reduce the impact of my suffering, it has certainly given me a reason to keep going and to hope for better. As this month comes to a close, what are you most thankful for?



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