January 6th. He didn’t have to type the letter. All he really had to do was edit the one he’d made use of previously. It felt amazing stepping into the office on the first working day of the year just to edit and submit this letter. The first time he’d had to do this, it had been easy, straight forward. The organization was dying and no one seemed to care. Here, it was the same, and yet, not. The organization was dying, but these people cared. They’d flailed and struggled through the decay, but it was all effort in futility. They recognized this, yet they tried… until they couldn’t anymore. An opportunity came knocking, he dismissed it, not recognizing it for what it was. They say lightning don’t strike the same place twice… well, it did. The opportunity came again, miraculously and this time, he accepted. On January 6th, 2012, Toxic turned in his resignation, his second ever, in the process, diving out of a sinking ship; like many others there would do in the following months. Dominos.
January 9th. He looked out at the mammoth crowd and felt a swelling in his chest. Pride. He was part of something, a bigger something. His people were standing up, finally, and he was a part of the revolution; the revolution that would, sadly, turn out to be a waste of everybody’s time. It began a revolution, became a concert, then a jamboree, then a full-out carnival… and then a joke. There was some pride still, a small private pride. He stood with many who believed… at least when it was still a revolution. Many still believe things will someday get better. Someday. Toxic still believes.
January 24th. He stepped out of the taxi and looked up at the building he was about to walk into to begin writing the newest chapter of his life. They say in life, there are no guarantees. Well, this was one, if any, that his Father watched and remembered His own. It would be very challenging, but that was what this young man realized that he needed to prepare himself for the rigorous road that stretched so far ahead still that he could not see where it led. He only knew it was there and it would not be easy, but travel it, he would. He stepped into the building, continuing on the journey.
April 8th. The trip had been long, arduous, but he was here. Many would say he was foolish. Even he would say he was being foolish had he been looking at himself from the past or from the future; chasing a pipe dream he knew ended at a valve screwed tightly shut and yet, he had embarked on it. Even a bomb going off in his path had not stopped him. How could a mere boko haram bomb blast be the reason he would not complete the journey to meet her, this woman he had met and fallen in love with online? How could he say he loved her and never get to stroke her hair? How could he not ever kiss her like he had promised he would so many times? Boko Haram? What is a boko? Please. Through the idiotic check points, through the bad roads, through the hills and the valleys, the dust, he journeyed and met her, in the flesh, for the first time, and she was all he imagined. And more. But… this did not make it any more futile, this love they shared. He was christian, she was moslem, both of them devout. It was sad, desperate foolishness. It ended before it even began. Painfully.
May 18th. Ever told yourself “what if?” countless times and then come to see the very scenario you dread stare you in the face? Toxic was faced with his greatest fears and was found wanting, helpless. Have you received a phone call that suddenly fills every crevice of your very being with dread and regret? Death came calling… thankfully, no one answered. Have you any idea how hard it is to see the man who all your life has been strong, too strong sometimes, overbearing even, lie there at his weakest, most vulnerable moments? Toxic ‘s father, to whom he had not spoken or seen that year so far, despite the fact that they lived in the same city, suffered a stroke and was met lying on what could easily have been his death bed. Tears near fell. But tragedy is something they were familiar with. They had been on many hospital visits in the past. Death had visited once before, a parent lost. The tears didn’t fall, not this time. The family rallied round, money was raised, calls were made, prayers prayed and the father was soon on his feet once again. In the process, a relationship was healed also. For His faithfulness, Jah be praised.
June 3rd. Love came knocking again, this time from the past. Nearly spontaneously, they were both swept away and this time, there was no hesitation. This love, he had long seen would stand the test of time if given a chance. The chance she had previously refused to give this love to blossom, she finally yielded now. And like wild flowers, it bloomed and flourished and prospered. Like a climbing plant looping its tendrils around its very obstacles to pull its vines up and spread its foliage over them, winning, their love has transcended every challenge encountered thus far, some very tough indeed, one very perpetual. They do not delude themselves though, many more lie ahead and they have pledged “no matter what” to each other. Time will tell. Time will certainly tell.
July 31st. Confirmed, guarantees do exist. Against all odds, the Father stays faithful. The struggle was real, inspiration was far, yet respite came to Toxic. There was confirmation, a testimony was placed on his lips. Sleepless nights were laid to rest. Fears and worry abated. Peace and calm returned to the stormy waters. Restoration. Well, till the next appraisal of the situation anyway.
And then came September, when the blur began.
Perhaps it was age catching up with the ‘young man’ but memory was beginning to fail him. The details in his life began to blend into each other and the little joys seemed to be lost on a beautiful mind. Were there no testimonies? There were. No pain? There was. So why could he not remember the specifics?
An inexplicable, indefinable rut. He could not write much, nothing he created was astounding, very little reading was done, projects were abandoned to limbo. To make it worse, despair did not set in. Should there not have been some despair at this state of stagnation? Probably. But for whatever reason, there wasn’t. Not even when he climbed out of the rut. Not even as he climbs out of the rut. You see, Toxic is still climbing.
Now, in retrospect, if there was one thing Toxic could theme those last four months, and indeed his whole year, it would be friendship. This was that year that very little dependency occurred but much dependability was required. His friends were there and he is thankful for that, but this year, he was the friend to be counted on. Less borrowing and more lending. Many words of comfort and a listening ear. A support to be leaned upon and a shoulder to be cried on. A friend in and in the absence of need. Toxic learned to be a good friend and a better minister, an all round better person. In some cases, he even learned how to be the bigger person. The learning goes on, his whole lifetime he hopes to stay learning. He will.
All in all, it was a year of progress and growth for Toxic, a year of rising to and shining for the Father’s glory. Not in the tangible, material things, not yet… but in the deeper things, most certainly. Everything good will come, but for the few good things that he possesses already, Toxic is thankful.
Toxic the Detoxified.
Thank you everyone for going on this journey with us all.
*exits, stage left*