How do I put this? You blow my mind. You have millions of people to cater for, and yet you make time for little me. True, sometimes I get impatient (make that most times), but you keep your promises and deliver right when I need it. Although you have proven over and over that things will be beautifully done in YOUR time, I sometimes ask myself “why, when, and how long will this take?” And what do you do? You gently – or if necessary, sternly – remind me that you will never give me more than I can handle and what you have not yet delivered is to prevent me from harm or prepare me for something better. You have blessed me more than I could ever ask for.
Normally I would write a “At 24 I have learned that…” piece, but not this time. This time, I just want to say thank you. So in no particular order of importance…
1- Thank you for answered prayers. For delivering exactly what I asked for a year ago. I was confused, hurting, and doubtful. I asked for peace of mind and you delivered exactly that and more.
2-Thank you for the gift of expression, and particularly, the gift of writing. Your gift to me has done more than I ever would have dreamed. Before, it served as a medium to assuage my temper and calm my internal storms. Now, it enables me the opportunity to partake in other gifts you have bestowed on us: creativity, inspiration, and dialogue. Curiously enough, it took the movie “Letters to God” to show me another imbedded gift in your gift of writing: prayer. So thank you for the opportunity to use writing as a medium of communicating with you. I am humbled.
3 – Thank you for love. In all its forms, durations and intensities. You have given me so much love, my eyes tear just thinking about it. So, I won’t go all sappy on you. Instead I will say this: thank you for the opportunity to not only love others, but to love and know myself.
4- Thank you for angels. For the people you have brought my way for various seasons and reasons. You have been so good to me in this regard that I dare not try to list any names. I wouldn’t be able to fit everyone in this blog and nobody likes a long-ass blog post anyway. So instead: Thank you for family, for acquaintances, for colleagues, for friends (real and virtual), and even for enemies. Thank you for the good, the bad, the annoying, the funny, the toxic, the discouraging, the optimistic, the calming, the crazy, the wild, the quiet, the wise, the local, the international, the I’ll-call-you-back-in-a-few-but-never-actual-does, the Just-dropping-by-to-make-sure-you’re-okay, the Came-across-this-and-thought-you-might-find-it-useful, the You-won’t-be-able-to-achieve-this-and-that-so-don’t-even-try, the I’ll-pray-for-you, the C’mon-go-out-and-live-a-little, the You-think-you’re-all-that, the I‘m-here-for-you, the We-don’t-talk-too-often-or-we’re-miles-apart-but-we-never-miss-a-heartbeat-when-we’re-back-in-touch, the We’ve-only-met-on-facebook-but-we-have-such-a-strong-connection… Everyone. With each of these angels, you have shaped my path and shaped my person. You have molded me into who I am today, and you have shown me your wonders. I am thankful.
5- Thank you for health. For the fact that in my 24 years of living, the most serious illness I have had was a skin infection, which although irritating as hell, gave birth to an entirely new layer and skin, and also made me delve within.
6- Thank you for education and knowledge. For choosing the parents you chose for me: ones who believe so much in the value of education that they would go to great lengths to make sure that their kids and people around them share in one of the greatest gifts you have ever bestowed. I look forward to completing your charge of seeking knowledge and I appreciate where you have brought me thus far.
7 – Thank you for the spirit of forgiveness. For the fact that you have shown me many times how to forgive another, even if my mind was telling me I shouldn’t. For the ability to forgive myself, because God-knows I have screwed up and disappointed myself too many times than I care to count. But that’s in the past. Thanks for highlighting the fact that whatever the situation is, your plan is still unraveling and for that reason, I shouldn’t begrudge another or myself our misgivings.
8- And since we’re talking forgiveness, thank you for pain. And for the gift of feeling. Because of these two, you have drawn me back to you when I got too caught up in myself and in the increasingly fast-paced life. Now I know not to dread the pain, but to welcome it as I would joy, because under that cloak, you and I have real dialogues about things I really should come clean about, but instead, choose to pretend are non-existent. Through this pain, you remind me that whatever the case, I am still here and still alive. And after the internal spring-cleaning is done, you renew me and fill me up again with joy,love and hope.
9- You’ll probably have a good laugh at this one considering our history, but thank you for patience. And for hope and strength. For stopping me when I’m about to turn the doorknob to giving up, and for reminding me that it will be more than okay in the end. By showing me possibilities, you give me hope. You make me want to stick around and do what I can to explore those new territories. And yes, sometimes I want it all now, but as you’ve told me “You will learn patience, and when you get caught up in the swirl of things, you will learn it again.” And I do. Thank you.
10 – Finally – and eventhough there is a whole lot more I could list on here – I say thank you for life. For this crazy journey of ups and downs, ins and outs and what have you’s. For everything it encompasses and represents: YOU. I have a vague memory (or maybe it’s my mind playing tricks) of me telling you that I wanted to be part of this thing called life, and you told me to be patient (as always lol), my turn would come. And it did. I don’t know why you chose me, but I can only hope that I fulfill whatever mission you sent me on. Thank you for choosing me.
So there. This is by no way a conclusive list of all the things I am thankful for, but you know me more than I know myself. So I say thank you. Oh, and one last thing. Thank you for delivering this short piece by Paulo Coelho to me today. I’m not asking for anything on my birthday (who are we kidding, I already did lol), but if I had to, this is what I would ask for. For myself, my fellow July 20 borns, and everyone I have been blessed enough to encounter.
The prayer that I forgot (Paulo Coelho)
I was out walking one day in São Paulo, when a friend – Edinho – handed me a pamphlet entitled Sacred Moment. Printed in four colours, on excellent paper, with no mention of any particular church or religion, this pamphlet bore only a prayer on its reverse side. Imagine my surprise when I saw the name of the author of this prayer – ME! It had been published in the early eighties on the inside cover of a book of poetry. I did not think it would stand the test of time, nor that it would return to my hands in such a
mysterious way; but when I re-read it, I did not feel ashamed of what I had written. Because it appeared in that pamphlet and because I believe in signs, I felt it only right to reproduce it here. I hope it encourages every reader to write a prayer of their own, asking for themselves and for others the things that they judge to be most important. That way we place a positive vibration in our heart which touches
everything around us.
Here is the prayer:
Lord, protect our doubts, because Doubt is a way of praying. It is Doubt that
makes us grow because it forces us to look fearlessly at the many answers that exist to
one question. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect our decisions, because making Decisions is a way of praying.
Give us the courage, after our doubts, to be able to choose between one road and
another. May our YES always be a YES and our NO always be a NO. Once we have
chosen our road, may we never look back nor allow our soul to be eaten away by
remorse. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect our actions, because Action is a way of praying. May our daily
bread be the result of the very best that we carry within us. May we, through work
and Action, share a little of the love we receive. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect our dreams, because to Dream is a way of praying. Make sure
that, regardless of our age or our circumstances, we are capable of keeping alight in
our heart the sacred flame of hope and perseverance. And in order for this to be
Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm is a way of praying. It is what
binds us to the Heavens and to Earth, to grown-ups and to children, it is what tells us
that our desires are important and deserve our best efforts. It is Enthusiasm that
reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what
we are doing. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect us, because Life is the only way we have of making manifest
Your miracle. May the earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue
to transmute wheat into bread. And this is only possible if we have Love; therefore,
do not leave us in solitude. Always give us Your company, and the company of men
and women who have doubts, who act and dream and feel enthusiasm, and who live
each day as if it were totally dedicated to Your glory.
Photo Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.