At the end of day and at the end of this life
When the last tear has been cried
and our last song sung
We just want to know
that we became someone
Numerous events throughout this year have made me continuously reflect on how fleeting life is. Attending a funeral service. Reading in the paper recently of a bride that died on her way to the church to get married. Walking to the station in West London and seeing the looming presence of Grenfell Tower under the night sky.
It can be scary mainly due to the unpredictability of it all. From apps that predict menstrual cycles to apps that display weather forecasts, bus times and TV schedules – access to information that predicts things happening before they actually do is usually right at our fingertips. Death, unfortunately, has never been one of those things and can pierce through our lives like lightning- violent, nosy, sudden and always unwelcome. Another unpredictable aspect is who it will happen to. In Macbeth Shakespeare likened life to a stage- with everyone in life having cues on when to enter but also on when to exit. But how do you know when the play is finally over and it’s your cue to exit?
It sounds quite depressing to ponder on but it should actually get us thinking and fill us with urgency. I’m always reminded of Beyonce’s song ‘I Was Here’ when it comes to legacy- the lyrics appeal to the fundamental part of everyone that wants to leave a positive imprint on Earth before they die. Not necessarily so that they’re remembered because of it but rather so that they can die with the peace of knowing that just one life was bettered through their existence.
Reflecting on it all, I’ve decided I want to be known for love. For loving people fiercely. That may take different forms- since God himself is love and reflects it in different forms. From defending the oppressed and campaigning against injustice to simply just being there and listening to people; letting them know I see you. I want to be the one that embodies all those things. It’s a tall task but one I feel I’m called to. And in the end, it may not get me named after a community centre or charity foundation but a big legacy is not always the most meaningful. Holding an intimate place in the heart and minds of a few loved ones is more than enough.
Have you decided what your legacy will be?
You’re enough. You’re blessed. You’re fabulous. In fact, you’re pretty darn amazing. You may not see it from time to time and sometimes the negative thoughts become like a dark haze, causing your amazing-ness obscure from view. But trust me, it remains a fact- so never forget that.
I write these words for anyone who is going through a rough patch and needs to hear it. But I also write these as a note to myself. Recently feelings of self-doubt and insecurity have been slowly flooding the walls of my mind and it has honestly felt quite tiring and unbearable at times. But insecurities are like that, they can end up silently leeching your energy and you won’t even know until you have none left. A good visual image to imagine how it feels is a cliche film scene where the female character enters the bathtub and submerges herself in the water. There’s a deafening pause as you wonder if she will arise again and choose life. And she always does. Gasping for air and slightly panicked, but she always does.
In the same way, when flooded with the thoughts we have to come back fighting. It’s definitely hard, but equally as possible. I believe that for every deafening feeling of self-doubt we have God is screaming even louder the words I started the blog with. Constantly. All the time. We just have to make the active choice to cut through the noise and listen. Over the voices of society or our peers. But most importantly, over the voices of ourselves.
Yesterday I had a moment of serenity as I walked down the path to choir rehearsal. I was on the back streets of Notting Hill, the sun shining (weakly, but shining nonetheless), cooling intervals of breeze and Shawn Mendes’ voice soothing my eardrums. Did I mention I was eating a beef patty? Well, I should have, and with every bite, I was more appreciative of the moment at hand. As I looked at the trees ahead fighting for the sun’s spotlight I thought about how everything had conspired for this moment to happen. If I had decided to go home or to a different part of London, or maybe if it had rained instead- that exact moment wouldn’t have happened. That kind of mathematics (i.e. possible worlds and alternative chains of events) I like to leave to God, but it’s amazing to think about every now and then; it gives a new meaning to the moment.
Here’s a poem a wrote to embody the feeling in such moments:
I’m stoppable, untoppable*
as I walk down the street
there is no obstacle
that can slow me down.
The wind is my fanfare and
the sun my spotlight.
My feet tread light but stride confidently.
And my worries are only echoes
My worries are only echoes.
(*technically not a word but hey ho.)