Finding true peace, a sense of purpose and the reality of restoration, in spite of the several inevitable mistakes we are bound to make in life can be a rough process. It is possible to find such relief though, and one’s perspective and outlook on the causes and consequences of their mistakes…
You came like the summer rains
And although I knew the sun would shine again
I wanted naught but to be drenched in you to the bone
You felt like a kiss of respite
You weren’t a storm, you never blew me away
You weren’t so cold, to make me run for cover
You were like new weather
Like this season would change forever
And then you were gone like you were never
You came like the summer rains
Engulfing and soaking to the bone
© 2013 MotivateThink
mood: like nothing can describe
Finding true peace, a sense of purpose and the reality of restoration, in spite of the several inevitable mistakes we are bound to make in life can be a rough process. It is possible to find such relief though, and one’s perspective and outlook on the causes and consequences of their mistakes plays a major part in doing so. Not every day mere mistakes though, sometimes emotionally fatal and quite tragic events happen.
In times like that, it is very easy to take the stance of self-deprecating acceptance of some apparent punishment being meted out by some force beyond us. In doing this, we manage to achieve two unfortunate outcomes. The first being that, we relinquish responsibility for our own actions, and lay all blame at the feet of some unseen force. Secondly we land-lock ourselves beyond the reach of what we need the most; redeeming and restoring love.
By not owning our faults and mistakes, we empower our weaknesses. We leave room open for recurrence because, in thinking we are being punished, we are concurrently expecting the punisher to provide the solution to the “problem”. If nothing or no one was punishing us to begin with though, we are left without a self-awareness from which we would have found the strength to straighten out our own flaws.
It is self-abuse of the highest order to not recognise and accept responsibility for what we allowed to happen. Until we do this, we can never receive healing love from within and without. In our minds we are being punished by that external force we should have ordinarily looked to for love, comfort and embracement. And worse of all, we tell ourselves how much we deserve it.
What if at the point of our greatest downfall, we looked to and for love rather than for a source of punishment to validate our guilt?
What if an embrace awaits us on the other side of that mistake, rather than scorn and condemnation?
What if the worst consequence could turn out to be the greatest blessing, that is, if we allowed ourselves to look past our shame for long enough to notice?
What if this is in fact not the universe’s/God’s way of saying “that is what you get”, but is an opportunity to be struck alive by a lightning bolt of epiphany which makes you realise, there is a higher way and it has always been waiting for me.
Growing up in the city of Accra, there were hardly any parks or open green spaces to speak of, other than perhaps the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park. As far as open urban green spaces are concerned, this has always been the most prominent public space. Disappointingly, the lush greenness of park’s lawns have waned over the years, leaving dusty island patches in the midst of the lawns which have themselves progressively developed a brownish tinge resulting from lack of irrigation and sunburn. It is hard to envision the vibrancy that the park once had. The space also doubles as an amusement park; however, its rides have all but literally fallen apart due to years of neglect and lack of maintenance.
Indeed, one is hard pressed to pin-point a great out-door green space that has stood the test of time in the country. The Aburi Gardens come to mind, but has suffered from the same maintenance deficiency and is not what it used to be. Although still patronised by the public, one might argue that it is for a lack of options rather than any sort of fondness for the place.
Likewise, anyone who decides to take a trip to Kumasi in search of some fabled “Garden City” can expect anything but that – except perhaps “gardens” in the wild. Kumasi which is apparently known as “The Garden City” because of its many beautiful species of flowers and plants has no proper parks and gardens to speak of. Its version of a “Children’s Park” is in an even more deplorable state than Accra’s.
The development of our cities have been undertaken in a very conservative manner, favouring infrastructural development – which is slowly turning our cities into concrete jungles – over the sort of development which recognises the necessity of a balance with manicured natural settings. The benefits of having well placed, green spaces in an urban area cannot be over stated. The benefits of such a deliberate investment into the environment and the lives and well-being of the populace are worthy of interrogation.
According to research results from the UK based Environmental Science and Technology.Journal, living in an urban area with green spaces has a long-lasting positive impact on people’s mental well-being. The results, which were compiled by way of data from the British Household Panel Survey (now known as the Understanding Society survey), also indicated that, access to good quality urban parks was beneficial to public health. Co-author Mathew White, from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter, UK, explained that the findings of the study that showed people living in greener urban areas were displaying fewer signs of depression or anxiety.
In an increasingly fast-paced society, issues such as depression and anxiety are a very present reality in the lives of people caught up in the corporate rat race and just caught up in the pressures of life in general. The Epidemiol Community Health Journal throws more light on the necessity of green spaces to counter this trend by stating that, many people experience nature as an environment where they can rest and recover from daily stress. In any hectic society, there is a growing need for nature/green space as a source of relaxation and recreation.
However, urban areas across the world have experienced a decline in the quality and quantity of their green spaces. The United Nations Population Division notes that, although just under half of the world’s current population lives in urban areas, nearly two thirds of the world’s populations will live in urban areas within the next 30 years. It is therefore paramount that, issues of the well-being of urban dwellers and ultimately issues of economic productivity be taken into consideration when planning the development of our growing cities.
Other general benefits of having open green spaces in urban areas include, health benefits for children who will be able to have the space to move about freely and get needed exercise, an increase in community based activities and strengthening of communal bonds; which also has security benefits for the community.
Ghana is still a young country with evolving cities. Whereas Accra and Kumasi as well as other well established major cities may be too far gone in their metropolitan set up to allow for new open green spaces, there is certainly an incredible amount of potential for smaller towns to be sensitised towards embracing a culture of environmental friendliness that allows for open parks and gardens to add to their aesthetic. The existing parks and gardens in our big cities should also be given new life if we aspire towards being a part of the global green revolution.
Not much will change, except for the fact that most people will begin to call you Lambert. You will still be as passionate and caring as you are. You will still be as selfless as you are, and in fact, you will be given with opportunities to touch lives which you will take and will forever be grateful for. Most of the people who you think you are helping will rather turn out to be a help to you – a trend which will continue throughout your life, which is why you always need to keep your love on. You will do a lot for people, things which most of them will forget but they will not forget how you made them feel.
You are about to fail every major exam but you will progress steadily and onwards, try to not get nervous. You are not a fearful person, but you are anxious and insecure. You do not believe in the sincerity of people’s love for you always. This is because your love is expressed with and through great strain, effort and sacrifice which you will not always see replicated by those who say they love you. Try to be more trusting of them, and even if they hurt you remember that, no one can control your worldview but yourself. Where others would see hurt and react in bitterness, choose to see yourself in others and forgive your own weaknesses so you can forgive them equally.
You are about a year into High School. It will be a better experience than you think. You will live in London for five years and will meet amazing people. Love them. They will help you grow and you will leave a part of yourself in them and they will forever live through you.
You will return to Ghana and your life will seemingly fall apart in ways you may never be able to fully express. I wish I could tell you what to do to not reach this place but all that must happen will happen. Keep these words in your heart, for they will help you carry on. “God loves me”. “I did nothing wrong”. And continually ask yourself what you know for sure.
You will find love which will show you the true extent of the reach of your light. It will bring out things in you that you thought you did not inherit. It will be unusual but it will be true. For as long as it lasts, be grateful. If it ends, be graceful and let it go. If it lingers, let it grow and allow yourself to be embraced with the joy of being loved.
You may have noticed I do not know how all things, will end. Right now, ten years later as things stand, I do not even know how certain things will begin I reckon. But you will learn the meaning of your name and it will explain a lot and will guide you through all the many beginnings and endings.
My final words to you Obed are, be ambitious, pay attention to the dreams that come when you sleep and know that in all things and through all things, even if you lose everything, or gain many things, you are a gift that the universe can celebrate. Be proud to bear the joys and pains of being who you are.
I love you (I know you cannot say that yet, but I can)