Day 10: 30-Day Gratitude Challenge
For the Heroes Who Won't Wear Capes - Forever Thankful!
Today's article was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I couldn't write thanks to a couple of commitments. I could write in advance, and schedule posts, such that there is a new post come rain or sunshine, but that would defeat the purpose since I'm reflecting daily online. However, I still managed to jot a few points in my gratitude notebook.
I'm grateful that you could catch up with my progress so far and sincerely hope you're being encouraged to practise gratitude daily, even if it's a few items on your list. I understand that not everyone is into writing, but listing a few points is still a worthwhile activity. Often, we wait for conditions to become perfect before we can experience joy and then maybe express thankfulness. However, this 30-Day Gratitude Challenge is making me see that there is so much wonder in our everyday existence. It's just that we turn a blind eye, choosing to draw the curtains even when we could benefit from a bit of light and sunshine. We think we're forming perfect escape routes, when instead, we're imprisoning our souls by complaining, comparing, and criticising others.
Also grateful that I had a restful Sunday and managed to reconnect with some beautiful souls I know. Yesterday was notable for two reasons. First, it was my little brother’s wedding anniversary. Although I couldn’t attend their wedding, I felt like I was part of the whole event from the word go; what lovely testimonies they had! I am grateful for the power of love and what can be achieved when two hearts form a union to face the future together, fearlessly. I am thankful that I’ve had the privilege to witness the transformation of a heart in love and a soul that knows it’s deeply loved. Real love sets people free! Genuinely grateful for the life lessons learnt through my little brother and his wife. Let’s quickly move on before I get too sentimental.
It was also someone’s birthday, someone I sincerely respect. There was a time when I prayed for grandparent figures in my children’s lives, for my parents and children are separated by thousands and thousands of miles. It’s incredible how you pray for things and forget about it until the answer appears when you least expect it. Can’t even remember how long it took before my prayers were answered. Still, the man who celebrated his birthday yesterday comfortably stepped into the role of dad and granddad, although we’re not related.
As old as I am, I could be described as daddy's girl, for I am my father's daughter. My real dad is not perfect, but he could do no wrong in my eyes. Growing up, I never wanted to disappoint him, although he rarely reprimanded me as a child. To this day, I'd like to believe that I 'get him' when others don't, and when we talk, I always find inspiration in our little conversations. My dad was a man who could go very quiet and find comfort in his gardening or hard labour. He was a man who was so proud of my achievements and would take my report card to show off to his workmates at the end of the school term. He would sit down with all his children around a fire and talk about life, from the meaning of songs on the radio to occasional dancing when he'd had a drink. My mum deeply cared in her own way, but my father expressed his love outwardly. My mum was vocal and never hesitated to punish us in any way she saw fit. Dad was the one who would give you a place to escape. I grew up being told by my father that I was loved…and I believed it. A lot has happened since, and I sometimes go for a long time without talking to him, but each time we do, it's always like we never said bye.
But I know that I'm one of the lucky few, for I would come across someone who reminded me so much of my father. I've never mentioned this to him, but the first time we shook hands and greeted each other, it felt as if I'd always known him all my life. It was a strange yet reassuringly comfortable feeling. Ever met people like that? They're rare, I can tell you that, but they do exist! Today, I remember the times we've talked about politics, religion, and so many other subjects. He's deep and analytical and shows his funny side from time to time. He reminds me of my real dad, who used to crack jokes and before we knew it, we'd be laughing along, even when we thought his jokes weren't funny. He had that kind of laugh and only showed that side when he'd had a drink or two. My UK dad doesn't drink at all, but I've heard him laugh so many times, and that's one of the traits I love about him.
He's got a gentle and teaching spirit and doesn't say a lot of unnecessary stuff, but you're bound to have such enlightening conversations when you connect. Like my real dad, I don't want to disappoint him. I've written this before elsewhere, that in life, there are two kinds of people. There's one who points out your mistakes, chastises you, not because they're bad people, but because they want to bring out the best in you, yet, the more they correct you, the more they bring out the worst in you. Then there's one who doesn't say much, but you truly respect them, even when they're not watching. That's my real dad, and that's my UK dad as well.
I'm so grateful for his expertise in other areas such as accounting and how he's helped me significantly in financial and regulatory issues when forming a company. Because of my dad and his friend, I'm slowly awakening that I need to operate from a business perspective, which most creative people struggle with. Also grateful for the times he's driven me places with my brood. Everyone around him thrives because he's a nurturer and always willing to take a back seat so that others can get to the fore.
You're reading this today because he is one of the people who didn't laugh at me when I said I wanted to try writing as a career. I have Business Studies, Tourism and Hospitality Management qualifications under my belt, and MSc International Management. I was on the verge of going down the PhD route because it felt like a safe option. I will never forget when my friend and I visited UK mum and dad's house for the first time, and they both asked me about what I wanted. "What are you good at?" they quizzed me. "I like writing," replied sheepishly. Like most people, there was a time when I lived according to what I had to do, not who I was created to be. I'd never published anything; all I'd ever written were essays that my teachers and lecturers used to rave about. Most of my friends rolled out their eyes when they saw my texts and long Facebook posts! Of course, there have been a few active encouragers, and I'm grateful for the cheerleading. That I could write for a living did seem far-fetched, especially when you're talking to African parents.
However, they didn't make me feel like a loser. When I also told them a bit about my life story, they embraced me with love and told me about the true meaning of grace. I am thankful that I've come across such people who choose to see the best in me, besides what the 'reasoning mind' might say. Three men I'm grateful for today; my real father, my little brother, and the other dad, who celebrated a huge milestone yesterday! Happy Birthday!
It's not about what these people say. It's about who they are as people that encourage me to be a better version of myself. I can spread my wings and fly, go places, yet, I'll always be drawn to them, for they are unfeignedly grounded individuals.
Are there people in your life who treat you like their own or believe in you, even when you mess up or doubt yourself? Some people aren't lucky enough to know or have good relationships with their fathers, especially women. I am grateful that I'm one of those who truly experienced a father's love and built other relationships worth cherishing because of the confidence instilled in me from a very young age.
As you go on your gratitude journey, I hope you can take a moment to be thankful for the people in your life who take on parental or grandparent duties, regardless of creed, race, country of origin or social standing. Be thankful for the cheerleaders who don’t say much, but when they do, they uphold you in every way possible. These are the people you won’t see in the limelight, they are the heroes who never wear capes nor draw attention to themselves. All they want is to see you shine brighter, even if they’re reflecting their own light on you. Without these kinds of people in our lives, the world would be such a hollow place, for they stand in the gap, and take on their positions with pride.
May they always be blessed, so that they may continue to strengthen others!
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