Lessons from Yesterday
You’ll have to forgive our repetition, but I can not stop thanking God for the privilege of making it to December in this year 2020. I’ve been on this planet for a little under four decades and I can boldly say that this was a year like no other. Personally, I experienced a lot of battles in the mind; thoughts about how I would cope with the sudden changes that occurred, and how I would re-invent myself so as to remain relevant in the different spheres of my life. I got the chance to finally birth some ideas that had been brewing for a while, and even though the pace of progress was reeeeaaaallly slow, I had started, and that was a huge achievement for me.
I had the time to do a lot of thinking this year, sort of a deep reflecting on where I have come from and the things that have shaped the person I have become; and various little actions triggered many memories. One such memory was triggered when my Mom brought some of my things to my house in her process of ‘clearing out rubbish’ from her house.
While I was looking through Primary and Secondary school reports, I found my physics notebook from SS1 (year 10 in UK). A page caught my attention and I remembered the whole event like yesterday. It was one of those double-period Physics lectures, and I had made a conscious effort to sit with some of the ‘brain boxes’ from the class. I think someone hammered in the sayings of “birds of the same feather…” and “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.” over the summer holidays. We were learning about friction and I was listening with half an ear, thinking of how I would hurry down to the tuck shop during break time. Mr Matthew, our teacher, then asked us a question, “what is the coefficient of friction between a rough surface and a perfectly smooth surface?” He wanted us to write the answer in our notebooks and bring it to over to him for marking. “There is no friction once a perfectly smooth surface is involved” I thought, so I wrote zero in my notes. I mentioned my answer to the others at my table, and they laughed at me, saying that couldn’t be the answer. I quickly cancelled my zero and listened to how they would arrive at the answer. One by one we took our books to the front for marking, and one after another he marked us wrong…until Nneoma submitted her book, then he kept hers’ aside, and continued to mark others wrong. You can trust that Nneoma didn’t tell anyone what she wrote. Mr Matthew was getting upset with the class. As the lunchtime bell was heard, he said some words expressing his displeasure, marked Nneoma’s book and dismissed the class. Yep you guessed it. Nneoma had written Zero as her answer. I didn’t go to the tuck shop that day. As I walked back to our classroom, I kept wondering why I doubted myself so much. It was not the last time that a classmate ridiculed me, but I made a decision that day to believe in myself and trust my judgement, as long as I remain in Christ of course.
As I sat in my kitchen looking at that notebook from many years ago, I reflected on other moments when a solution or idea had come to me quickly and easily. On quite a few occasions I have been dismissed or laughed at, particularly in my career journey.
Sometimes I have tried using conversation to convince the ‘laughers’ to see why my idea is the way forward, but most of the time, I have had to fight for my ideas to be accepted. I have been laughed at for thinking I could sing more times than I can count. I have been laughed at for thinking I could write anything that would capture the attention of an audience. I have been laughed at for thinking I could have a career in any sort of design. And here comes 2020, the year the world as we had known it came to a sudden halt, and then slowly attempted to regain some sort of normal. The year when working from home became possible for more people than we ever thought possible. The year of Zoom weddings, Google talk parties and Teams meetings. The year that saw the rise and fall of many Co-operations and Businesses. The year when an idea I had incubated for years became a reality.
I saw a Pepsi ad last night which said “All I want for Christmas is 2021”. It actually made me laugh. It’s okay to feel that way, but just before we march into 2021, let’s take some time to look at the good things that have happened this year, and be thankful. Someone told me she felt stagnant this year and I said that is a reason to be thankful because some people went backwards!
Be thankful and open your heart to newness in the new year: New love, New jobs, New ideas, New ways of doing something old. Don’t let the ignorant laughter of esteemed people around you hinder the seed of greatness within you.
Thanks for reading all our articles this year. Thanks for being a part of my writing journey. I wish you a very Merry Christmas celebration and an exciting 2021 ahead.
God’s Special Handmaid,