Humans of the Faith
Today I woke up at 9:00 AM. Since I’ve been home, its been getting harder and harder to get out of bed. I looked at the alarm clock blaring next to me on my bedside table. Stretching my hand and reaching out for it, I shut it down. Today is another day. To hope and to be disappointed again.
You see, its been a couple of months since I finished university. The plan was to apply for a masters, get a job and settle down on my own. Far away from family. But disaster struck.
Last year, after a short but fierce fight, my adoptive mother lost her battle to cancer. As a single mother, it was just the two of us, so when she died, I had no one but her family. Being twenty at the time, extended family members felt I could fend for myself. An aunt took me in but was only putting up with me till I found a job. But you know what the graduate market is like these days right?
As rejection took a toll on my health and people who made promises started to go back on them, I decided to start counselling at a local Church. As if by fate, someone had given me a flyer to visit a centre or call a number if I needed someone to talk to. So, I called.
I started showing up on Wednesday nights, when they had youth sessions. Youth sessions was filled with people my age and during the sessions, we were given home cooked meals. Maybe it was the welcoming love I felt when I walked into the brightly lit room, or the fact that I had a good meal, my first that week, but it didn’t take long before I did the Christian thing and gave my life to Christ. Now, the rest is history.
I got out my phone from where it lay under my pillow. I know, its bad to keep your phone next to your face, something about radioactive frequency, I think… Or so those WhatsApp broadcasts say. Turning on my mobile data, I had no new messages, as usual. Only notifications from my Apple News Feed, the only thing that seems to check up on me these days. On the bright side, the lack of notifications has made opening my YouVersion Bible App faster, so to speak.
Ten minutes into my devotional and my phone rings, from an unknown number. ‘Hello, is this Hope?’, an unfamiliar voice asked me through a crackling frequency. ‘That depends on who is asking’ I replied, casually rolling my eyes. I didn’t have much time to waste.
‘Hi, its John from Orange Media, we received your resume last week, applying for a short-term writing opportunity with us.’ In this moment, let it be recorded that I froze. Never had I ever felt embarrassed on the phone to a potential employer. ‘Yes, how may I help you?’ I asked, silently cursing the day I applied to the company.
It had been six weeks since I lost my last job, which was due to an unfavourable economic market, and every day since, I had been applying for one odd job or the other, getting rejections and worse, no responses. Last week I decided to try out writing gigs. In my head, the only thing I’m good at writing is a clearly well prepared for exam paper. I barely scaled through my dissertation, and semester summatives were my worst nightmare. But the funny part is that I’m good at what I dread. At university, I did some back to back freelance work and it really pushed me to write better. So, in a bid to find something useful to do, I applied for some freelance gigs, and now, here we are.
‘We sent you an email earlier in the week regarding the job offer and we were hoping you’d get back to us as soon as possible? We are seriously considering you for the role.’ Almost in desperation, he added, ‘You are our best candidate yet.’
I paused for a second. What are emails again? Emails…Emails…Emails! Yes! Shoot. I had been taking my eyes off those since my last rejection. I couldn’t watch my heart get broken again. For someone whose name is Hope, I sure didn’t have any left in my tank.
‘I apologise for the delayed response. I will read it and get back to you within the next hour.’ And with a few short words, we ended the call. Emails…Emails! I need to check them!
True to his word, sitting in my mailbox was an unread email from ‘John at Orange Media’, dated two days ago. I opened it as quickly as I could. They wanted me to fill a form and submit two pieces I had written recently. Okay, so you know how earlier I said I dread writing and I’m bad at it, which automatically means I don’t do it often? Well, I lied. Since I joined the youth sessions, I started a blog and, I have been writing a series of short stories and relevant articles on navigating life as a new Christian, and more recently, an unemployed graduate. So, it wasn’t too hard to find new articles. One on dealing with rejections (advice I clearly haven’t been listening to myself) and another on finding peace when life gets stormy.
I attached the articles, composed a short message and I hit send. This was the first glimmer of hope I had had in a while. I couldn’t help but mutter ‘Thank you Jesus.’ It hasn’t been easy being a Christian, especially as I became one during my lowest of lows, when I had so many questions about life, God’s sovereignty and the heart of man. But one thing I learned, is that there will be storms, but He’ll be the anchor for my boat to keep me from sinki…Was that a knock on the door? ‘Tap Tap’. And there it was again, another knock.
‘DING!’ I looked down at my phone to see that I had a received a message from one of my friends from Youth Sessions, Fifi. ‘OPEN UP’, it read.
Grabbing my dressing gown and running to the door, I opened it to see three familiar faces, Fifi, Luke and Amanda. ‘SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ they screamed in unison. Fifi was holding two ‘2’ balloons, Luke was holding a large red velvet cake, my favourite, and, Amanda was holding a neatly wrapped present that was almost twice the size of the cake.
Rubbing my eyes and tilting my head to the side, I realised that it was in fact my birthday and I had forgotten. In all fairness, its been three years, since I celebrated my birthday. Mostly because it always felt like there was nothing to celebrate.
‘I’ve been texting you on WhatsApp all morning! Did you turn off your WhatsApp data again?’ Luke asked, sounding not too surprised, knowing it’s something I do very often. WhatsApp data…WhatsApp data…That’s right! That’s why I hadn’t received any messages.
I sighed loudly and brought them in for a hug.
The past two years have been rough, but God had led me to this moment, this time, to be surrounded by these people who I met almost accidentally. It’s times like these that I’m grateful for the anchor that keeps my boat from sinking. It may not always be a smooth ride, but at least I know I’m not riding alone.
As I held my friends closer and tighter, I thought to myself, ‘Maybe there’s hope for today afterall.’