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Monthly Archives: December 2020

A Shift in Perspective for 2020!

A Shift in Perspective for 2020!

Let me start by sincerely asking… ‘How are you doing? Are You Okay?

For many people, 2020 has proved a challenging and tedious year. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that resiliency always wins! For some, storms of illness, financial difficulty, social unrest and depression have overwhelmingly swept upon once-peaceful lives.

Quarantines and social distancing have prohibited many from joining with family and close friends for nearly a year, and as Year 2021 approaches that will likely still remain the case for many.

More than ever all the small things have become bigger.

We’ve gone to bed puzzled and perplexed at night, woken up with uncertainties of what could be… not knowing what the next day, week or month would bring.

From eating in a restaurant to seeing a movie, to physically being able to hug a friend, or embracing outrageous political differences with little space to vent, to just listening to each other’s heartbeat when anxiety sets in, unveiling heartaches when headlines deliver sour news, or proclaim happy-thoughts when sudden glimpse of hope comes with the morning dew! we no longer discount the small aspects of life that were once so accessible.

2020 has shifted us to recognize those small things, and the large impact they have: More time alone with our conscience!

What has more time spent alone taught you?

Are we still holding back on circumstantial boundaries? Do we see only difficulty in every trial we’ve encountered this year? or forge ahead like an optimist, see the opportunity in every difficulty?

How can we evaluate these things and come back to God with a grateful heart for such revelations or new ideas?

Hmmm… ‘This year has brought so many of us to our breaking and emerging points. Family bonds once trusted are now tested, trashed or tremendously treasured! friendship values once secured are re-evaluated for sincerity or lack of depth to fill the void and empitness we now face. Loss and pain have plagued every one of us in 2020, in moments both fraught and debilitating.

From sympathizing with friends, families and clients who’ve lost loved ones to giving mental health support and encouragement about the after effects and lifelong scars of losing a baby, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, grandparents, all alone… in a-cold isolated pandemic period.. that literally steals the comfort of a warm embrace… ‘an unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few but riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.

We have comforted each other over virtual platforms as though we were there in person! burial rites are performed in a swift due to gathering restrictions, saving the tears to swell up behind face marks or allowing some to run freely on our screens, behind the walls of isolation.

Some of us were bold enough to celebrate milestones, weddings, birthdays or graduations in very restrictive gathering! Some, grateful for an opportunity to start afresh, rebuild broken relationships or mingle again without knowing it would probably be their last in October… #RIPMrsPatriciaEwetuya-Daramola.

A shift in perspective can take us from complacency to content.

Uncertainty can be powerfully intimidating, yet we must make decisions.

Perspective is key in finding joy despite the circumstances this season.

So, like my 9-year-old daughter would explain after going through her scheduled social stories without wearing her prescription glasses, “My perspective on events is much like wearing a pair of glasses. Certain lens will help me see the blur of fear, unknown things approaching or confusion, where another lens can provide me with much needed clarity”

More quality time spent with my 3 kids and Husband of 23-years in 2020 has taught us all Calmness & Clarity.

The perspective that some of the difficulties we face now perhaps are growing us in new and exciting ways. As scary as they look now, we have no idea what kind of good God is spinning out of it.

So, as we approach Year 2021, ditching all the uproar of 2020 behind, it can be easy to feel hopeless, anxious, or even bitter, however we can choose to not fall prey to these feelings.

We can partner with God to give thanks, despite the circumstances… and continue to look up to Him!

This past holiday probably looked different around the dining room table, but connection can still occur. Video chats and phone calls will be a resource to utilize well, but real connection can still occur from such unlikely platforms.

Perhaps gratitude can be found in using these options, and we can have authentic communications of where we all are in heart and mind. This is something to be thankful for, to have exchanges beyond the weather or superficialities, but to dive deeper into outlooks, our state of mental health!

We are all struggling, but we are not struggling alone. Because there is Hope.

Again, whether you find yourself celebrating or grieving these days, feeling hopeful or hopeless, actively choose to trust God to set you free of past battles. For His ways will surely prevail in the end.

We should not discount the faith He is building in us during this time either, for through these hard times He is revealing more of the character being born in us. Birth is painful, but it results in new life.

Perhaps these hardships are birthing a new vibrancy of life for us as we approach 2021.

Happy New Year, Stay Safe as we move forward into 2021.

Yours in HOPE as I share Whitney Houston’s ‘I LOOK TO YOU’

OlaYinka

 

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May the coming months be merrier.

May the coming months be merrier.

It started with a single picture. Then collection of old blurry birthday pictures all taken in May of 1991, 1992 & 1993. Some had the lustrous backdrop of the beautiful SB Bakare’s Mansion on Queensdrive Ikoyi, others the bustling Maxi Class restaurant on Olu Obasanjo at D-Line in Port Harcourt and some, inside the glossy emerald green walled-dinning room of my Lagos Island residence. Boxes of pictures I came across during early spring Covid19 Lockdown while decluttering my garage.

Oh, I could tell it was a festive period and my yearly impromptu birthday celebrations, as it had several young adults mostly dressed in jeans and colorful t-shirts, either on break from various Universities or recovering from the Jamb rejection letter and had gathered at my place on the Island or in Port Harcourt, at a chosen venue to celebrate my birthday.

My face lit up with joy, as I remembered the faces, then immediately was replaced with pain and sorrow.. amidst the depressing pandemic going on, I’d realized that several of the happy faces radiating warmth and youthful outbursts from the pictures were either so far away or just…No More. 

They’d passed away.

Good, Young, Cordial, Vibrant, Dear Friends: Gone! at their prime!

Even as their memories live on in the pile of pictures I carry with me, or with their immediate family members that were almost impossible to reconnect with, a feeling of despair resonated deeply within me!

How do I want to be remembered when I become just a memory in someone’s pile of picture collection?

How do we create memories? Will I be defined by my character on a good day? or be shamed by my weakness?

While happiness can be temporary, and so easily stolen by the circumstances in which we live in now, joy cannot be stolen; it can only be handed away. It is our decision to either live in joy or walk in constant disappointment.

I’ve always picked joy, sometimes it finds its way in the crowd to nominate me, I guess, ‘while been hopeful. How about you?

To fully wrap our heads around this precept, we must first understand the difference between happiness and joy. 

Happiness depends on outside circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is an internal decision we make based on the conviction of things we believe will come about, but that our eyes have yet to behold.

Even as this rogue and ruthless virus has swiftly stolen so many pre-planned joy-filled events and people robbed us of very special occasions and memories we hoped to have. Disappointed doesn’t begin to describe what we were all feeling, but we shouldn’t give up.

But I’m sure you could relate your own story of loss which occurred within the first few months of this pandemic. Graduation ceremonies, weddings, birthdays and vacations were cancelled, sports championships were sidelined, jobs were lost, businesses failed, money vanished from retirement accounts. 

Relationships are rebranded! Sex life for married couples received an instant memo of resuscitations for detour! Marriages once on eggs shells are either cracked-up fried or nurtured by test of time!

Close to my heart, there’s an uproar and alarming rate of isolation for families with special needs children while healthcare disparity tightens hopes for families awaiting conception. I’ve had to counsel and give hope to those who’ve gone through miscarriages, a topic that has always been surrounded by silence and pain, while COVID-19 has made the experience feel even more isolating.

Aha, all these trials, those very ones which ruthlessly steal our joy, they can act as maturing agents in our lives, if we manage to hold onto our faith through them. 

So, even in the midst of it all, Is it still possible that one more brutality piled on, like so many before it was finally too much?

Is it possible that this is a turning point in understanding and addressing the ways in which racism eats away at an entire society while ravaging some far more than others?

Is it possible that the past week is the beginning of real change?

 That, this is a struggle with a long history, but a struggle that must succeed.

Is this our new NORMAL?

Adaptability and Hope.

No matter where you are. No matter what you are facing. Step out in faith! May your next month, and the month after, and the one after be full of cheerfulness, gaiety and laughter; to cause or raise happiness and unspeakable joy.

In Memory of All We Lost Along The Way. . .

Yours in HOPE

OlaYinka

 

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