I’ve missed saying that. I’ve missed coming here. Certainly a lot has happened since the last time I was here. I have grown, boy have I grown. There is so much I want to talk about but the challenge is where to begin. I initially didn’t want to make this a standard 2013 review, but knowing myself and how I operate if I don’t do this like this I won’t do a review again. So, here goes nothing.
2013 – RETROSPECT
Too many things have made me smile this year. The first of them was the trip to South Africa. Having travelled outside Nigeria for the first time last year with the Grange primary section trip to Ghana, being put on the year 10 leadership training trip to SA was just God working His awesome magic. Britts, J’Burg, Cape Town are all places I know I want to return to without a retinue of teenagers.
Then there was buying my first car, Yoruichi. *sigh* I still love that babe. She served me well. Had her for barely five months, but they were five glorious months. Learning to drive with her without a learner sign on Lagos roads was phenomenal. Went from novice to nigga in less than two weeks; in hindsight, only God’s mercies kept me from getting killed, because driving in Las Gidi is just madness. My experience with her was so amazing I know without a doubt my next car will be a manual transmission as well, and probably also Japanese.
Next stop, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There were so many times I gave up on going to grad school this year. And then my ex gave me hope. And I pushed and God had mercy on me and the teacher once again became a student; five years after leaving school. I have met some of the most amazing minds in the last four months. I have read more papers and written more essays in one semester than I did in my entire four years of undergraduate education. My mind has expanded; my understanding of several issues deepened; my outlook on life transformed, all in a single semester in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. In Harvest Mission Community Church I have found yet another spiritual home (like RCCG King’s Court, and Sovereign Army, and WOFCC), where the Word is mixed with awesome worship and real people with sincere love for God and for one another; a spiritual family that seeks to build lives and impart them to fulfil their destinies in Christ while populating God’s kingdom and tearing down the Devil’s. My small group IMPACT has been a blessing to me, because I see graduate students like me who in spite of their daily struggles with life and school, still have a yearning for God. How can I forget Michigan football? Going to my first American Football game was simply mind blowing. Being in the Big House with over one hundred and twelve thousand people is an experience that is hard to describe. My first winter; seeing snow for the first time…*sigh*. All in all, the Ann Arbor experience has been one that I am eternally grateful to God for, even with the difficulties and challenges that exist.
The morning of July 24th, the day after my last post here, on my way to the US embassy for my visa appointment, my car got rammed into by a tipper full of granite. It was raining, it was unexpected, I was shocked. The impact of the collision was so much, my car (which was at rest) propelled forward and hit the one in front. As the driver got out of his car, I recovered from my shock and got out as well, only to see the tipper driving away. In my pissed off state, I entered my car, started, and chased after it while calling my dad to inform him. By the time I caught up with it and gave my father its details, taking his advice I continued to the embassy with my wrecked rear end. I got the visa; I paid heavily for Yoruichi’s phenomenal repair. It was an experience, one that has taught me that vehicle insurance isn’t overrated on Nigerian roads.
Getting turned down by scholarship after scholarship isn’t something that I would wish upon my enemies. When these scholarships are what stand between you and your dream, it feels even worse. But all I’ll say is, God in His infinite wisdom knows why these things happened, I refuse to question Him.
December 1st. I was preparing for a group meeting with my project team from one of my courses when I got a phone call from my mum that something was seriously wrong with my dad and that I should pray for him urgently. I was confused but started praying. Even during the meeting my attention was split but still not getting a reply to the message I sent my brother, I didn’t have any choice but to continue sitting there. When his reply came and I called him…let’s just say the moment he started to ask where I was and what I was doing I knew my father was gone. Death isn’t something I’m stranger to, but this year…hmmmn. Nobody wants to lose one of their pillars two weeks to exams. Nobody wants to know that the person who pushed them to chase the grad school dream in the States won’t be there to see it finished. I was first shocked, then upset, then angry; because I thought it was his stubbornness that had taken him from us. I accepted that he was gone, but I didn’t accept that he should be gone. But when the autopsy came out and it was what we suspected, and my brother explained the implication of the results, my anger was replaced by peace and reverence for the man that sired me. This post isn’t his tribute, that will come eventually, but his memory pushed me through my finals. His lessons and teachings live on in me. I am part of his legacy, and so I choose to celebrate his life, rather than mourn him. Chief Major (rtd.) Tunde Kunama Sawyerr was a man, flawed but spectacular and larger than life itself. Losing him was my darkest moment this year; knowing that he was saved in Christ and that he left because it was his curtain call on life’s stage was my brightest joy. I salute his memory.
There were moments of intermittent darkness. I lost love twice this year; one to my indecision, the other to logic. The former is one I would regret if I wasn’t happy that she is with someone who makes her happy and that I still have a place in her life. The latter I do not regret for I know the momentary joy would have been overshadowed by pain down the road.
I struggled with many demons this year. Some I have overcome, some are still staring me down. My walk with God suffered greatly although my faith in Him grew; as contrary as that may sound it is the truth. My personal discipline in most regards was in tatters, yet in some it is more solid than ever. I pray that these clouds will dissipate rather than gather and increase in strength, but only time will tell.
2014 looms on the horizon. It holds immense promise on so many fronts. I have gone through the fire and come out purified; stronger, wiser, more humble. I have done things in 2013 that I had never done before. I have been on a road trip on the North Eastern coast of the US. I have explored New York City. I have seen awesome sights and met amazing people. In fact, in the waning days of the year it would seem that the lock on my emotional availability has been released and my heart is open. Although I am still technically unattached, the possibility of a relationship lies before me. A relationship I am actually looking forward to not because I’m sure of where it shall lead or anything for that matter, but because there seems to be a chance for mutual happiness; a chance I am willing to take.
In 2013, I have learnt answers to questions I didn’t know I had; I have had beliefs shaken and weather the storm. I have had even more questions develop. I am not the man I was on the first day of the year. I am grateful for all I have been through; grateful for all the lives that touched me, and allowed me to touch them; grateful for new relationships, and for old ones; grateful for family, near and far; grateful for the turn up moments, and the turn down ones; most importantly, I’m grateful for life.
Here’s to 2013, the year of learning. And to 2014 may it be amazing in all regards.