(contributed by Francesca Onomarie Uriri)
Recently, my brother had a health challenge that was frightening, debilitating, and quite frankly, difficult to describe.
As I kept vigil by his bedside I struggled to fight off the overwhelming sense of despair and darkness I felt.
Why is this happening?
Why do I have to deal with something like this all over again?
Can’t you just make it go away?
You know that thing where Chude says you should invite fear and have a sit-down with it?
That didn’t happen o!
I did not want to engage with it. Did not want to understand the root cause of it.
I just wanted it out.
And then I started praying.
Quietly at first. Then I got louder. Angrier.
What is this?
Then a calm voice ministered to me:
“What are you so afraid of?”
“Why are you so afraid?”
“Do not be afraid.”
And then I calmed down (a little) as I started to unpack what was happening to me.
You see, this situation mirrored how I felt when my father died 4 years ago.
The rage. The despair. The darkness. The helplessness.
I could not do anything then and now. At least physically.
But realized this time was different.
I could pray for strength. For courage. For healing. For capacity.
I could allow this teach me about resilience, surrender and wisdom.
More importantly, I did not need to face this alone.
And so I sent out messages to my inner circle “pray for me,” teary voice notes asking for support. This time, I wouldn’t carry the burden by myself.
And as the underground wires of support knotted together, I felt stronger, clearer, more confident. More supported.
I did not need to be brave by myself. There were different energies and spirits supporting and upholding me.
It was a truly rough patch. But I’m glad we turned the corner.
Like Chude says “Fear is a bastard!” But it’s also a horrifyingly good teacher.
It forces us to examine areas of our lives that haven’t fully healed.
And if we let it, it shines the light of healing on the darkened spots of our souls.
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Chude Jideonwo is host of the TV and radio network #WithChude, which is creating safe spaces for conversations about mental, emotional and spiritual health across Africa. He is also co-founder of human flourishing company, Joy, Inc.