As a child, I had dreams of what I wanted to become and I remember going with my dad to his office and sitting behind his desk dreaming of one day when I would sit in my own office and manage a company like he did back then. Unfortunately, life threw a curved ball at me early in life so that when my mates were going off to Institutions of Higher Learning after secondary school, I was looking for a job so I could save up to get a University education.
I got a job alright, however, my income could barely cover my expenses before the next pay day talk less of saving for my education. Against all odds I registered for a professional course and began attending evening lectures. I studied hard because I felt like my whole life depended on my success.
I was not anti-social but I rarely socialised. I was deeply engrossed in my studies on one of those off-lecture days when suddenly I heard a high pitched voice, “Hello, are you Steve?”, I was startled. I looked up to see a dark lady with a pair of innocent looking eyes staring at me. “Umm, y..yes I am, can I help you?” I stammered, not being able to imagine what this well dressed lady with very articulate speech would want from me. “I am Lola. Well, you see I am having problems understanding the concepts of Financial Accounting and someone told me you are very good at it”. I found this hard to believe, I wondered, “who could have given her such recommendation when I hardly spoke to anyone in the class?”.
I however went ahead to help her with areas she was having problems with. After a few hours, she told me she was going for lunch and I promptly excused her. “Have you eaten today?” She asked. “umm.., not really” I replied. “Then we are going for lunch together” she said. “Oh my God!, I thought, “Will I be able to afford lunch for two?” . I was too much of a gentle man to decline so followed her reluctantly, like a lamb led to the slaughter and where did she take me? Not to the place I usually eat but a more expensive restaurant!
“Now, I’ve landed myself in big trouble,” I thought. We ordered our food and as I began calculating and re-calculating the bill in my head, I heard her ask for the bill and promptly paid without batting her eyelids. When we finished for the day, Lola asked me, “Will you come to my church tomorrow?” I accepted her invitation. The next day, I put on my only Sunday dress and headed for the church. There was no dull moment during the service and she was very happy to see me when the service was over. She however taught me one lesson which changed my attitude to life.
While I enjoyed the service, I could not wait to make my exit once the service was over. "Why?" I can almost hear you ask. I saw gaily dressed people around me and they all seemed so happy. I just didn’t feel like I belonged. I had gone through so much suffering that I could not remember the last time I had the luxury of being happy. God opened my friend’s eye to this. She touched my shoulder and said, “Steve, you’ve got to see yourself as God sees you. Some of these people you see are not better than you are but they have learnt to rejoice in the Lord in spite of their circumstances. Whatever situation you may be going through now, lift up your head and walk tall because you are God’s child!”.
Then she said something else, “You feel ashamed because of the cheap clothes you are wearing, let me tell you something, most of my clothes are cheap but I redesign them myself and wear them with an attitude!”. I had noticed that many ladies in my school and church regularly complimented Lola on her dressing and good fashion taste. It took some thinking but the message finally sank in.
I have lost touch with Lola for many years now but the impact of those words are still felt today. I wish you were here now, Lola. I have gone through more serious problems than the one I was going through then but I remembered those words and I stood tall. God sent you into my life at the right time and you made a lasting impact upon my life.
Another thing I learnt from you is the value of friendship. I have made good friends over the years and I focus more on being a blessing than being blessed. Wherever you are now, I want you to know that God has used you as an instrument of His love and I pray that we will meet again. If we don’t meet here on earth, I trust the Lord that we will meet in our glorious home above.
"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12)