The way out is always there…
“By this time, what little savings we had had been depleted and the only property that he thought he could sell to start over isn’t interesting potential buyers. In what seemed like “overnight”…I went from being a housewife who learned dress-making to keep busy to hassling neighbours to patronise me. We needed to feed, but even the stipends that trickle in (sometimes once in two weeks) from my dressmaking made no difference. Light appeared at the end of the tunnel quite alright, but we went through hell.
“Throughout our travail, I would say that my saviours in human form were three women that I didn’t know from anywhere, except that life brought us together as neighbours. They are neither my church members nor from the same state with me.
But as we interacted deeper, I found myself opening up to them about our challenges. At different times, these women came through for me- from cash gifts to foodstuff. One even got things for my kids when schools resumed.
“Even the proprietress of my children’s school understood when I explained our situation. I also think that what counted in our favour was our antecedents…we never defaulted in payment of school fees when things were okay. Whoever said women are each other’s enemy?
“The only reason I would wake up in those days and panicked was if my husband is missing from the bed. It mattered more to me that he be safe and not harm himself. Not even his misbehaviour towards me in the past mattered anymore. My day is made when we pray together as a family and he laughed. I doubt if anything but love would have made me not nag that man out of the house every morning.
Honestly, when life happens…LOVE IS ENOUGH. Only love can cover a multitude of inadequacies.
“At that period, I learned very quickly the true meaning of this Igbo adage…ego bu nwoke (money makes the man). My husband aged overnight. Someone I had always admired his boyish mien suddenly began to walk with drooped shoulders. Yet, right before my very eyes, his gait straightened up as soon as our lot improved.
“If I tell you that I wasn’t tempted to reach out to ex-boyfriends or encouraged admirers…I would be lying. Let’s just say that I didn’t “sin” because life was merciful enough not to present certain options strongly in my path. I cringe at the countless times I scrolled through my phone book…looking for an ex to chat up. Honestly, vulnerability is the weakness of character.
“One morning, one of the women mentioned above called out to me and gave me 10K for our feeding. I went inside my room and knelt down-asking God to forgive my desperate thoughts because it just dawned on me that despite what we were going through, we never starved for one day. As a matter of fact, we ate chicken most weekends…because one of the women ate only locally bred chicken and would always send some to us.
“I was so blinded by our situation that I didn’t even see that all along…God provided but just in a different way. By the way, that 10K really felt like a million naira to me. Everyone should have occasions in which they run out of cash completely…to learn a new (appreciative) attitude towards money.
“If you want to get back on your feet, take the humble route. My husband had to convert his car to a taxi…the suggestion from someone that he approached for help. Now, my husband’s regret is why he didn’t think “Taxi” all the while he was wallowing in self-pity and despair. Do not always see the NO in people’s response to your situation. Instead, see the re-direction that life is pointing you to.
“The help that my husband asked from the fellow wasn’t granted but something better (a way out) came out of that rejection. We are not yet where we used to be but I am grateful nonetheless. The way-out is always there! These days, happiness is also when my pot of soup is not empty.
“The efforts we make towards others will always reflect on our lives…somehow. People who nurture friendships are not completely alone in trying times. Someone in their crowd will be there for him. My husband didn’t relate very much with friends. Let your efforts towards friends begin to reflect your expectations of them.”