Sometimes bad things just happen. Point blank.
There isn’t always an explanation for why things happen.
We’ve all heard that saying “everything happens for a reason”. And as much true as that is, I believe that statement only applies 99% of the time. There is a 1 % chance that sometimes you just might get the short end of the stick.
I don’t mean to be negative or to sound pessimistic. I’m always overly optimistic and positive. But this is reality and that’s how it is sometimes. I was reminded of that this morning when a close friend of mine is going through a tragic moment with his family.
One thing I’ve realized, is that when things happen it changes you. There are two types of pain in this world. There is pain that teaches you a lesson, and there is pain that keeps you stuck in the past. But no matter which one, you will still hurt. You will still feel pain.
What do you do when you have these encounters with life?, When I was 14 I lost one of the people I cared about the most. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was at a friend’s house getting ready to go to football practice. And my phone rang, and it was my mom, at the beginning I couldn’t really hear what she was saying because she was crying.
But what I did make out after she calmed down a bit was this. “Akeem, your grandfather died today”. At the moment my heart froze, but for some reason I wasn’t showing any emotion. I believe it’s called “Shock” ha. I remember grabbing my stuff and heading home.
When I got home I dropped my stuff in the house and went and sat on the steps and waited. I feared that the worst was yet to happen. That was my mom’s dad. And I knew she wouldn’t take it well.
A few minutes later she came home. And as the car drove away, she saw me sitting on the steps, took 4-5 steps and dropped to her knees and screamed “why”. The only thing I could do, was hold her and let her know that everything was going to be okay.
And that’s when it hit me. See I had spoken to him a week before he passed away. And his last words to me was “when are you coming to see me?”. He would always ask me that because I made a promise after my mom and I left Jamaica. And when it hit me, that’s when I realized I broke my promise to him. That’s when I realized that I’d never hear, or see him anymore in my life. I promised him that before he passed away I would come back and see him. And at that moment, I realized that I will never be able to fulfil that promise, for the rest of my life, that will sit on my heart. And that’s when emotions took its course and I broke down in my room at 4am in the morning.
THE LESSON IN THE PAIN
I wanted to honor him. I wanted some way to apologize to him for not fulfilling that promise. I wanted something for him to see as he looked down on me.
The next morning before school, I grabbed a plain white shirt I had, grabbed a sharpie. And stared at the shirt for about 10 minutes and wrote.
“RIP Etel Samuels
Forgive me, for I have let you down. But I will never leave this earth without giving everything I have to it. In your name, I will live on this earth and earn and work for every single thing. I won’t let you again.”
And then I grabbed a white arm sleeve, and wrote down his name and the year he passed away.
I wore that shirt and that sleeve every single high school football game that year. And every time I felt tired, I’d look at that sleeve and found that energy I needed. We ended up winning the high school Championships that year and I ended up breaking the city record for touchdowns, rushing yards, receiving yards, kick return yards and Touch downs. Needless to say, I left everything I had on that field because of the pain that was left in my heart.
Recycle your pain. Everybody hurts, everybody goes through something. Everybody. Life doesn’t throw warning signs, its unexpected and pain is pain. But the difference between pain that helps you press forward and the pain that keeps you down, is how you use that pain and the meaning you give behind it. I used that pain to motivate me, I used that pain to dig deeper, I used that pain to flip on a switch that said “aye Akeem you got more in you. He’s watching you.” I recycled my pain.
Recycle your pain! Some of you may be hurting right now, you may be going through something at this very moment. Don’t let that pain keep you down. It’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel a type of way about things, it’s okay to be down. But it’s not okay to stay there.
On the other side of that hurt, and pain is a smile. A new motivation, a new meaning, a new purpose behind why you do what you do.
Use your pain to make you better, not bitter. Use the pain to propel you forward, not de-gress your downwards. I know it’s not easy, I know it’s tough. But you must and you need too. There is someone out there that is watching you, there is someone out there looking up to you and saying “she/he is so strong. If they can get through it I know I can do too”.
On the other side of pain, is a smile. A smile that someone is watching.
And no it won’t be easy, and yes some days will be easier than others. But nonetheless, you got this and you can and will get through it.
You will get through it.