The Ant Analogy

In the past few days I have been thinking much about the things that matter, the scope of life. When all is said and done, what is it that will remain of my legacy? Of my relationships with the people that matter? What of my relationship with God? Part of the reason for this can be attributed to the coaching classes I began last week. My coach doubles up as my mentor, and so, looking me in the eye and asking the tough questions has a way of putting things in perspective.

I am not a fan of forwards on Whatsapp messages ( I will admit it on here, because if you are in a couple groups like I am, you know that all familiar ding that ushers you to an image or video that you had seen on your other groups… ) but I do read them, and occasionally ‘clear conversation’. One, however, caught my eye, and has stuck with me to-date. I called it the ‘Ant Analogy’. Have a read.

One Sunday morning, a wealthy man sat in his balcony enjoying the sunshine and his coffee when a little ant caught his eye; going from one side to the other side of the balcony, carrying a big leaf several times more than its size. The man watched it for more than an hour. He saw that the ant faced many impediments during its journey, paused, took a diversion and then continued towards its destination.

At one point the tiny creature came across a crack in the floor. It paused for a little while, analyzed and then laid the huge leaf over the crack, walked over the leaf, picked the leaf on the other side then continued its journey. The man was captivated by the cleverness of the ant, one of God’s tiniest creatures.

The incident left the man in awe and forced him to contemplate over the miracle of Creation. It showed the greatness of the Creator. Before his very eyes was this tiny creature of God, lacking in size yet equipped with a brain to analyze, contemplate, reason, explore, discover and overcome.

Along with all these capabilities, the man also noticed that this tiny creature shared some human shortcomings. The man saw about an hour later that the creature had reached its destination – a tiny hole in the floor which was entrance to its underground dwelling.

At this point the ant’s shortcoming that it shared with man was revealed. How could the ant carry the large leaf it carefully managed to its destination into the tiny hole? It simply couldn’t! So the tiny creature, after all the painstaking and hard work and exercising great skills, overcoming all the difficulties along the way, just left behind the large leaf and went home empty-handed.

The ant had not thought about the end before it began its challenging journey and in the end the large leaf was nothing more than a burden to it. The creature had no option, but to leave it behind, to reach its destination. The man learned a great lesson that day. Isn’t that the truth about our lives?

We worry about our jobs, climbing the corporate ladder, sometimes even owning the ladder, what wheels to spin, what designer shoes to wear (whether Giuseppe Zanotti or Bata Ngoma), where to rock the weekend, tracts of land…. Yet, when life comes to an end, whether slowly over time when someone is sick, or sudden when in an accident, all these things will not matter. Neither will they be carried to the grave.

I keep asking myself, what will be left behind of my life? Whose lives have I touched/am I touching/ will I touch? What legacy do I get to live for my child(ren) and family? How have I impacted the lives of people in need, whether through legit organizations or volunteering? How am I showing up when my friends face hard seasons? Most of all, when He calls me home, what will I leave behind? The essence of life has been heavy on my heart. This analogy captures it in the most profound way. May I remember to number my days, that I may not live recklessly, but cultivate wisdom while at it.

I hope it blesses your soul.

 

Psalms 90:12 
So teach us to number our days,
That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.

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Photo credits: Blackmerg Studios

Featured Image: Earth Easy

Day 15 – When Loneliness Creeps In For New Moms

This is day 15 of my 30 day writing challenge. For my new readers, this was a challenge I took on to push the boundaries for ME (previously I’d write one post sometimes after two weeks, partly laziness, and a good chunk of this due to self-doubt). So far, it has been amazing, though there were days I must admit, I stared at the blinking cursor, and my mind ran off to think about the vanilla chocolate I ate at L’s baby shower last weekend… Focus Samoina!

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One of the misconceptions I had pre-partum was certainly about friendships as they would pan out once I became a mom. Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I am the bubbly kind, the one who talks volubly when reminiscing fun times, the one who laughs heartily in good company, the one who is jumping around at the get together… and so, before my pregnancy I had all these friends around me, many of whom I appreciated for influencing my life in one way or the other at the time.

I was accustomed to been the life of the party, at the party, whiskey shots at hand, and loud reggae hits by Gyptian cranked up to the max. The exuberance that surrounded me at the time was almost palpable. I figured, been a mom would not alter this; or maybe it would, a little. At some point, my friendships would cohere and we would go back to the good ol’ times, or so I thought.

Enter baby Jayden, and motherhood changed my life’s trajectory. It was somewhat the chasm that separated my fading memories from the stark reality that faced me. In the first few weeks, save for the congratulatory messages, there was little communication between my ol’ crew and I. I didn’t get it at first and kept wondering what I was doing wrong, or not doing. We drifted further and further… and my Postpartum Depression didn’t help.

For reasons I mentioned in this post, I just couldn’t come forward and explain to my friends, most of them not parents themselves, what depression was like, and why I suffered PPD when I looked ‘all together’. How can you not love your baby? OR, why are you so damn angry? Without concise answers to these, I kept to myself, only giving glimpses into my angst on whatsapp chats that were far and in between.

In retrospect, this is a weird kind of loneliness new moms face, especially when most of their friends are yet to be moms. Suddenly, your talk changes; it revolves around diapers, poop color, burps, vaccines, breastfeeding, teething, potty training… depending on the stage one is in. When your friends start to feel out of place (understandably), there’s a tendency to back off.

Looking back, I realized only those strong friendships stood the changes that had taken place in my life, PPD and all. Even then, I’d still feel lonely quite often. Some of my pals kept telling me, “But you got Jayden for company, how are you lonely?” At which point I’d roll my eyes so far back I’d feel my spine tingle. A baby who’s up for the better part of the 24 hours each day, who can’t talk and will cry with no notice is not exactly the company I meant when I pointed out my loneliness, a loneliness that creeps up so subtly it shocks you when you realize its vice-like grip has made you all queasy.

It was adult company I missed. Someone to talk to, not necessarily about baby stuff but to converse, about the weather, about work, about new joints in the ‘diaspora’, about current reads. Anything for the semblance of normalcy that my depression-riddled life sorely lacked. Which is why last weekend’s baby shower was welcome relief. Just to get away and hang with the girls, and laugh, and eat, and marvel at mom-to-be’s girth (:D), and share life stories, and see how far we have come. To new moms out there wondering just what the hell happened to some of your friendships, I hope this heartfelt post puts things in perspective.

PS: Still learning to lean on Him when I feel lonely. To whisper a prayer because He hears. And teaching my son to call on Jesus when he is having a bad day, or feels like no one understands what he is going through. There is some amazing peace, peace Paul defines as tranquil, the peace that transcends understanding, that comes through prayer and trusting in Him. This peace and contentment, I want even in my loneliness.

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Any of you moms relate to this loneliness? That feeling of been with family and baby, yet still lonely? What have your experiences been like? Moms who have survived PPD, how did you deal with this? I’d like to hear from you too!

Featured Image Photo credits: Sunshine Spoils Milk