It was a Tuesday and the date was 4th January, 2000. Even as I write about it now it seemed like only yesterday. I had woken up and had a meal of left-over beans and was very happy to still be alive. Anyone who was old enough in the year 2000 would remember that it was a year of great predictions.
There was rumours that the year was the last year before apocalypse and the world was finally coming to an end as we crossed over to 2000. We were all apprehensive. It was a matter of set your house or rather your heart (as the case may be) in order as you prepare to meet your God. There was widespread predictions of a Y2K computer bug that would crash many computers on midnight of January 1st, 2000 and cause malfunctions leading to major catastrophes worldwide, and that society would cease to function. How fearful man could be when it comes to dying, yet we all want to go to heaven as if heaven was just a journey.
Anyway, somehow the world did not end and we indeed crossed over to year 2000. I still remember the crossover service in my Church late in the night of December 31st, 1999. Oh, we were all pious and looked all set for rapture. The Church was filled to capacity and I remember going out in the middle of the service to check if there was a change in the cloud or an angel blaring trumpet. But that didn’t happen because His ways are not our ways.
Fast-forward to Tuesday 4th January 2000, I had woken up early and was filled with so much joy and excitement to be returning to work having survived the tension of the last days of the year 1999. It was a few minutes past 7.am. I said my bye-byes to my family and sang all the way down the stairs to the garage. “It’s going to be a beautiful day”, I told myself as I walked down the stairs. I checked myself again in the mirror, I knew I looked good and I was so pleased with myself. My dress was new and my hair well styled. I wore little make-up as allowed by my profession. It was my first working day in the new millennium.
I didn’t realised that I had reached the garage, where I had parked my car the previous night because suddenly I noticed my car was gone. I had the car keys in my hand and did a 360 degree thinking. “Of course, I brought the car home”, I reminded myself. I parked it right here in the garage. I pinched myself and knew it was not a dream. My car, a Toyota Carina 2 was gone. That feeling of confusion that makes you search for a car as if it was a missing needle came upon me. I glared at the ground as if it was at fault and my car was hidden beneath the cemented floor. It however slowly dawned on me that my car, the only asset I thought I had was gone. It had been stolen.
There are things you loose in life sometimes that makes you think you have lost it all. I felt that way that morning. The car was the only family car. It was a utility car that served as office, house and even store. I had so many items in the car, that 20 years after I still cannot account for what was lost along with it. It was used for school runs, church runs, market runs etc. I had a loan yet to be fully repaid on it.
Some losses in life create terrible vacuum or gaps that make your world collapse or so it seems . I am not talking about loss of human lives now but loss of things, positions, opportunities, friendships, jobs, careers. Some of theses losses look like you are set back by several years and if you don’t snap out of the loss early, it may lead to depression, high blood pressures, hopelessness and ultimately death. At times like this, we feel like everything has ended and we can no longer survive. We are overwhelmed, perplexed and sometimes we enter into a blame game or a world of self pity.
Folks, the first lesson here is to know that there is nothing that is acquired that cannot be “re-acquired”. It is never too late to start again. The road does not end at your bus stop, you can always start again.
Surviving any type of loss is not theoretical. It is not taught in any school. You are not even prepared for it. Maybe you could learn from a few people that have had the experience but I tell you the feelings can never be the same. The first trick is making a decision not to be lost along with your loss. Recovery always starts with a realistic appraisal of the situation and a decision.
Sometimes our pride is our limitation. We ask ourselves questions like:
Where do i start from?
Do I have to write the exam again?
Does it mean i will have to be trekking or hopping from buses?
What will my friends say?
Does it mean I will now be jobless?
Where will i live?
Will there be another opportunity?
Some of the questions are good if they are asked genuinely and not in self pity. Proffering answers strategically and sincerely will also help. The understanding that the losses does not translate to the end of one’s life is critical because when there is life there is great hope. Solutions must be apprised carefully to avoid a repeat or further calamity.
When my car was stolen, a friend of mine lent me a car to use temporarily. It was a bigger and more luxurious car and I was tempted to keep using it. One day my husband said to me; “what is not your own, is not your own, go and return that car”. I was looking for a temporary solution to a permanent problem. It would just be what it was ‘temporary’ .
So did i return the car? Yes i did. Did i trek? Yes i trekked. I walked my kids to school. I trekked to work when i didn’t get a ride. i rode in taxis. I went through the process of discomfort until my change came.
For every setback as we may think our losses are, there are periods of waiting. For some such periods are very short but for many others it might be long. For a few it might take a life time but honestly there is always light at the end of the tunnel for those who wait. Recently, April 2020 in Lagos Nigeria, a couple aged 68 and 71 respectively had their first babies (a set of twins). How amazing? They virtually waited their life time to carry their own babies but they did and at last their light shone.
Getting over any kind of loss is a personal decision and takes personal responsibility. Sometimes we may get help from family and friends but they can only help you to the extent to which you allowed. This is because when night time comes and you are alone, you still have to think it though by yourself.
My ultimate solution which has helped me over time not just on the loss of a car (which today is a mere loss) is to return always to the Source. If I had that thing and it was lost, I ask myself how did I get it in the first place? If the Source is not dry and not limited then I return to Him for my restoration.
For He says to us always
If our health is lost : He says “I will restore your health and heal your wounds.. “(Jeremiah 30:17)
If property is lost and time wasted: He says “I will do a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) and will also restore our wasted years and we will have abundance and be satisfied (Joel 2:25-26)
If position is lost or denied: He says He is the judge that sets you up (Psalm 75:6-7)
If our peace is lost: He says He will give it back to us always and by all means and this time it shall be permanent (John 14:27, 2 Thessalonians 2:16)
While you return to your Source, your Manufacturer, Jehovah God is his name do not hesitate to take the necessary steps required for greatness. As you do, his promises of restoration is assured, His help is delivered and your restoration is always in multiplied state.
So let me conclude by saying, even if it tarry, wait for it because it will surely come to pass and you will remember not the former things because He will do a new thing.
For me, it took almost a year before I got another car but I learnt a lot during that time of waiting. I learnt to appreciate and trust God the more. I learnt that a man’s life is not valued by what he has and so it’s not the car that made me. I learnt humility as I walked my kids to school. I matured to understand that almost all the things we worry about are temporal and none is eternal. I learnt that there is hope for everyone who partners with God. I learnt that what is not my own is not my own. I learnt that borrowing is slavery and a borrower is a slave to the lender (Deuteronomy 28:12). I learnt to deal with pride and self pity. I learnt that with time, diligence and favour of God recovery is possible.
Finally, I learnt that every loss is recoverable but the greatest loss of mankind is eternity not possession and one must secure it by all means. When eternity is lost it is irrecoverable. Lets secure it now while we can.
PS: Send your life transforming stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org