“Problems gravitate to their solutions through the evolution of time.” These are the words of my father who is a retired military general. When I am going through storms and insurmountable challenges, that is what Dad always says first. He believes that what a man knows frees him as he embraces it, despite his predicament. I had come to prove those words true. In my own words: “Information changes situations”.
Ben grew up on the outskirts of Johannesburg at a placed called Orange Farm in a humble home, like most dwellings in his surroundings, where communities share everything from delicate things like sugar and milk to monetary possessions. He has two sisters who were now married, Catherine and Khosi respectively. His father’s house is vacant and almost empty, a beautifully furnished four-roomed house with a so-called ‘beautiful garden’ that his mother took good care of whilst she was still alive. Now, one would swear they were deliberately growing weeds and unwanted plants in their garden.
Ben is in sophomore year of study at the University of Johannesburg, a busy Engineering student who never had time for anything. Surprisingly, he’s not doing any better academically, however pride to ask for help has gotten a hold of him like a cancer on trembling bones. Insecurities and lack of confidence grows stronger like a plant against weeds, choking him. His life is yet to change. Little does he know that his father has been hiding something from him.
One morning he gets out of bed to the smell of freshly baked bread by his aging father. His father is already outside sharing a cup of coffee in harmony with the first-class melody the birds are producing. His father’s contemplation is fixated on a certain matter which seems to exhaust his heart. Their mother, who passed away three years ago, took care of their garden, but now it was all weeds under his father’s care. Ben’s father still wept for his sweetheart surreptitiously.
Ben brushes his teeth quickly while reaching for the alarm with the other hand, then fixes himself a cup of tea and a warm slice of bread, butters it and swallows promptly. It’s almost as if he knows that something is troubling his father. His father’s eyes are rheumy with tears as he sits on the chair outside the house. Ben himself is facing his storms which he’d rather not talk about after his mother’s passing. Everyone in the house grew numb and despondent. They do not discuss things head-on in this pedigree.
Ben rushes to get dressed and on his way out, kisses his father on his forehead. He takes a cab home after class and to his amazement sees an ambulance outside, but he thinks it is probably there for their neighbours. To his surprise, he sees the stretcher and the one lying on it is his dad, showing no movement. Unfortunately, he had passed away.
Ben’s house is now really vacant, but depression is crawling up his sleeves. He feels a change is imperative, otherwise he might end up failing his course. He sought an appointment with psychologists and therapists on campus, and great support was demonstrated, proving he was not completely alone. However, he recalled his father’s words that ‘Every problem gravitates to its solution’ and started by overcoming negative internal dialogues and repositioning his state of mind.
Those who live in the past are trapped by it, conforming to the past causes more damage than moving forward. As avenues presented themselves to him, the next thing he wanted to do was to inspire others. He realized that discovering purpose is more important than executing it. Some forsake theirs, and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they go back to accomplish it. The discovery of purpose is so crucial because it carries the ability to preserve a man’s life.
We judge others because we feel insecure ourselves, like Ben who had judged himself that he would never amount to anything. An African proverb says: “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”
Ben finished his course and started a motivational company sharing his story and empowering others, mainly on the dangers of judging themselves by what they face.