Have you ever moved and relocated to a new house? If your answer is yes, then you have quite an experience to share. You can start your story from the dilemma of clearing up your room, deciding what to leave and selecting what to pack. It is at such times that you discover old pictures hitherto lost in the last layer of your drawers, pictures from high school, when you were so small, so cute and looking so good (hope you’re looking better now). Or, you were so rough, so tough and so bad. You see bits and pieces of your life in cards, clothes, shoes and stuff that meant so much or so little to you. You remember those days were somewhat equivalent to your life – you just had to see them at least once in two days! The food you just had to eat for your day to be complete. The songs that made you soar and the dreams that made you hope.
It is however funny how we let the things that were once important in our lives recede to the level of abandonment. How the things that made us us soon travel out of our subconscious. Sometimes, after we have seen someone so much and had something in common for so long, it just does not seem important anymore mingling with them. We can no longer see how useful it is to associate with them or how irreplaceable they are… Until you want to relocate, you probably don’t realize how cozy your room is or how attached you have become to it. It is then you get ideas on how to decorate or how to rearrange – when it is too late! Now you are in your new street, you suddenly long for the birds that chime at the back of the window in your “former” house. Something just happened and another idea just crossed your mind and you already started making for the door when you suddenly realize Kunle is no more your next door neighbour and you wish you could call up and consult your “former” friend…
How many things do we neglect until they become “former”? How many associations have we “normalized”, without even realizing it? How many important spots, favourite activities and wonderful people have we let go “over the years”? Maybe your dad will never become former and your mom will always be your mom, but that may be all there is to it. You’ve known that girl since your first year, you’ve done assignments and read together, she’s helped you with cash a few times and when you were sick, she came by to see you and brought some food, but that is all there is to it, she is ‘just a classmate’ or, at most, ‘just a friend’. The boy has been a friend to you. He created time for you to take you tutorials and ensure your grade point average (a.k.a GP) got a boost. Remember when you were so confused and about giving up on schooling or even living, alcohol and smoking had messed you up, even when you had those family issues to deal with. Suddenly, you have resolved to live big now and forgotten people who have made everlasting impressions on your life. It is surprising how those of us who know the God of love and have experienced Him still cannot recognize love when it’s right there in our face, how we cannot reciprocate kindness even when it’s just right for us to do it.
The silent message running through this piece is this: that you show those you love that you really care when you still can, while they are still close by. Do not wait till your father is seriously sick or till your mum dies before you tell them or show them how much you love them. Don’t hesitate until your sisters get married or your brothers go to school abroad before you do the little things that show them their place in your heart. That girl or guy you call your friend, are you sure you are not taking them for granted. You wonder why your friends do not really tell you when you are wrong, maybe it is you. You are too ‘used to them’ to notice anything important about them or pay attention to whatever they are saying. You seem to have attached yourself to some mundane things that you have relegated the most important people in your life to the background.
Translate your love into sincere words and timely actions. Love what you have now, cherish your friends, your relationships and associations, treasure your family and value everything that makes your life smooth now. Childhood friends are great assets in our lives. People that we meet along the way up to greatness should not be ignored. Without people, people we truly care about and who truly care about us, our achievements and attainments in life could become vehicles of fatal frustration! Money alone cannot give you joy, neither will your record breaking achievements and awards!
From today on, make a decision to let out those little or big, but sincere smiles. Send those lovely text messages; make those calls and carry out those sincere timely actions to show forth the love of God living in you to those around you. Genuinely pray for your friends and foes; close friends and friends not so close. Don’t deny the world your best. Do not give an excuse: that you are too busy or quite unavailable. Stop complaining that people do not love you, even in the church! You can only obtain love when you first love and show that you care… Start making those calls now, put those visits on your schedule, and create time for that special person, whoever they are. You’ll be better off for it and maybe you do not know, like the words of Hezekiah Walker’s famous song, ‘you do need them to survive’. Hey! Slow down, and show that you care!
This piece was originally published in the 2009 Edition of Campus Mirror, an annual magazine of the Lagos Varsity Christian Union, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Bunmilofe Aramide is a freelance writer who lives in Lagos Nigeria. She studies Mass Communication at the University of Lagos.