My Year of No

Let me tell you about Sakina. She is one of my good friends. We met during our time at Daystar University. She always hanged out with the wealthy girls of Kenyan suburbia. The first time we talked I thought that she was interesting and would make a thoughtful friend.

There was always an edge to her that the rest of her crew did not have. Sakina one day showed up on campus with sandwiches for sale that soon became a phenomenon. I remember thinking oh yeah there is something different. She also hosted a lot of Chapel events making very blunt statements that would leave me on the floor laughing.

It would take two years for us to meet on a TV production set where she was a continuity producer and I was a production assistant. That year was a mess. Maybe we will talk about it when we are 40 and successfully established in our paths. The long and short is that we both found God at different seasons. Then healing happened, a hiatus which was a set up for a do-over . Sakina is our second contributor to the #LettersfromFriends.

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Yes, you read that right.

Let me start at the beginning.

My husband had traveled away for work. This was the first time as married folk that we were apart for an extended period of time. I was scared but excited because I would be alone and have a chance to hear my thoughts, work on a routine, focus on me.

Miss Rona however was the curveball no-one saw coming. My life changed, for the better.

The first thing that happened is I knew for a fact that this was time for God and me to reconnect. My morning devotion where I pray and meditate on God’s word switched up and had me post reflections of my quiet time on my IGTV. (Hi guys, welcome to my channel!)

It was so scary but also very fulfilling because in a sense my faith was now being shared boldly. I heard God clearly and leaned on Him a lot because now I had the time and minimal distractions. Our church had to innovate and start doing virtual church which meant Sunday School was also in that mix.  I learned to study and plan for the lessons. Simplifying the Word of God so that it’s palatable for Children is not as easy as one may think, but guess what even though I feel like I’m in unofficial seminary, I enjoy it, immensely.

Teacher Sakina has met her inner child again and I am now sketching and colouring- which I actually enjoy doing to use as visual aids in my lessons. I’m now thinking of doing experiments and using plasticine for future classes. FUN!

I have been forced to deal with issues, head-on. Being alone during that brief period confronted the fact that I don’t like to lead. If you are reading this and you know me you might think that this is odd; seeing as to how I have led something in almost every stage of my life.

Hi, everyone. My name is Sakina and I am a reluctant leader.

When hubby left I found myself having to take meetings and make decisions that I would have defaulted to him. Suddenly I had to carefully think through stuff and bear the responsibility of the outcome. When I realized what unrealistic expectations I was putting on him to always know what to do, I decided to change my ways and be present.  Make a decision even if it’s the wrong one. The thing you walk away with is a little more experience for the next time. Difficult conversations are now what I call necessary conversations and while I haven’t memorized the Brene Brown formula of how to do this, I think I’m getting better at it.

This Covid season has pointed me back to my true North. Distilling what is important to me has been sobering. I dropped out of school and walked away from work. Yes, I know, especially the job part. The pressures of the future plus the current needs and wants have been pushing me to conform and to some extent I did. The lessons have been expensive, literally and figuratively. However, in the end, friend, when it comes to time versus money, time wins.

Money will always be there to be made but time is not a commodity that I will ever get back. I don’t want to have regrets, and ask ‘what if?’. If I believe that my God supplies ALL my needs then getting caught up in the rat race/hustler mentality is me saying I don’t trust Him. The truth is if I don’t maximize on this time now, I’ll miss it- the magic of creating without the pressure of results.

When Hubster eventually returned we realized we had both changed, for the better. When all we had was phone calls and choppy video calls we learned to communicate and not to take each other for granted. It birthed lots of conversation about what we believe, what we think about certain issues, what we stand for, what kind of legacy we want to leave behind.

It feels like we are in a parallel universe because now, deep within our souls some things don’t feel right even though the majority is conforming to and enabling problematic systems. Our new guiding principle is this, just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing, and just because it’s the right thing doesn’t mean it’s the godly thing.

This mandatory downtime has healed us, energized us and flourished us.  After a tumultuous first year, year two for sure feels like the honeymoon.

Towards the end of my 20s, I could feel a new me fighting to come out and me suppressing her but when I turned 30 in June it literally felt like there was this shift that began to take place. This version of me is someone I would love to be friends with, she is more self-aware and is actively daily defining her ‘Why’. (Thank you for attending my TED talk)

So many things have fallen apart for so many people, I included; but in the same breath so much has come together. I pray whenever I can for those who are going through the hardest time of their entire existence and do what I can to help. 2020 is still my year and in the most unexpected ways is turning out better than I could have dreamed of.

In closing, I would like to propose a toast. Here’s to saying a couple of No’s to things that no longer serve us as we say, Yes to freedom.  Salut!

Letters from Friends is a series of experiences during this pandemic. If you would love to contribute please email me on nyamburamedrine@gmail.com 


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