Pursuant to my previous letter to you, I thought it prudent to write another to you, further expanding on my initial thoughts. I hope you think deeply about these things and consider them. I actually received a letter from my father recently. In it, he detailed many things but key among them were details of my very first journey with both my parents after I was born, as we had to go back to the village my father worked in which was in the south-west.
As per our people's customs, after I was born, my parents had to take me to my paternal grandparents to introduce me to them. The plan was to go to their home before going to ours since it was generally along the way. But this was one of their worst journeys ever. Apparently, it was a huge struggle for them to find buses that headed down to the middle of the country from the east, where they had been. By the time they got a bus, they got one that would leave them at least 10 kilometers from my grandparents' home, in the middle of the night.
Little-me on my mom's back, about five weeks old. And it started raining right when they got out of the bus and they began trekking for 10km as the summer rain pounded in the darkness of the night. I cannot even imagine how drenched my parents were, and the anxiety of being in such a situation with a five-week-year-old baby. But we made it. And that wasn't the end. When they got to the house, no-one was there. And little-me had pooped on my mom's back and her whole back was soiled with my sweet-smelling baby-poop. And they waited in the little kitchen hut till my grandma came back. She had perhaps thought they were not going to make it anymore because of all their delays with transport.
I often think of life as a journey or better put - a walk. With the passage of time and with further slow progress towards the Day, life does indeed feel like a journey in many ways.
Firstly, you can never know what is ahead of you. That is why we should make plans knowing that the Might One might have His own. We should always say, "If the Lord wills..." My parents had no idea that they would have a hard time finding a bus, let alone, getting one that left them with such a huge distance to walk. And life often feels like that, more so lately, with this great omen that has befallen our village. One day we were working and going about life, and the next day, we have orders from the chief to stay indoors because of the odd disease that has come into our midst. Many people are talking about how this disease came to be, and many theories are being peddled on the radio. I do not know all about that. What I know though, is that we should not be surprised by all that is happening — and our primary focus should be sharing the great old message about the hope that is found in the Son of the Mighty One. All the bantering and pontificating is not helpful.
But dear stranger, secondly, life is sometimes like a journey in that most journeys always have companions. Our ancient ancestors used to think that when one embarks on a journey, they ought to go along with someone else, lest the tribe would know if something has happened to the other one along the way. The writings of the Book also paint a picture of the first man finding life to be super difficult because he did not have companionship. I am thankful that I have you, and that we can write each other letters like this for our mutual encouragement. In these hard times, we especially need to be of mutual encouragement to each other as we are in this walk together.
I can only but imagine how that journey would have been if my parents were not traveling together, the same way I can imagine how the effects of this pestilence are on those who do not have anyone to be there for them. Please, stranger, do check on those you care for using any means that are safe. As technology continues to improve in our village, perhaps someday we be able to have ways to actually use those shiny gadgets that people talk to each other on in other parts of the world. I am not sure how it all works, but I hear you can actually talk, the other person hears you, and responds there and there. I cannot imagine that. For now, we stick to these pencil letters, and whenever you can, go outside of your home and shout out the names of your friends and family across the lake and check on them. They need you as much as you need them. Do good as you persevere.
My dad told me that eventually, my grandmother came and made a meal for them before they retired to sleep in a warm bed. I do not know many things but I do know that all this will soon be over. Even if no one comes to our aid and rescue, we know what the Mighty One has taught us in the Book: He will never leave nor forsake us. Stranger, this is true. You know this has been true throughout all generations. Do you remember how we survived that drought season many moons ago? How from nowhere, we all somehow managed to eat, have shelter and go to sleep? How about that time when our village was attacked by strangers from a foreign land who took over our land, captured our women and girls and stole our animals? Did we not persevere and eventually see that dark cloud passing us? Oh dear stranger, this too shall pass. If the Mighty One is on our side, it does not matter who comes against us.
I do hope to hear from you soon, and hear how you are doing. I hope to write to you again sometime. Please take care of yourself and those in your household.