She came distraught. She came with her regrets but she tried to put up a smiling face. She came to see a priest. At a point she started telling me about herself. I had not asked; I had never met her before.
According to her, her father never cared. If I remember properly, her father left her mother for another woman and things were never easy for them. So at an early age, she knew what hardship was. She did not have the love of a father and she subliminally sought for it in men. You can guess the result.
She tried picking up the pieces of her life in order to move forward but it was really a challenge for her. She was working for someone then who sold fashion items. I do not remember the details but she was having serious problems in different areas of her life including her place of work. At that time she was trying to get another job but she was told to give herself before the job would be hers.
She saw a priest who directed her to a group that would assist her financially to start up her own business in a small way. She really needed that at that point in her life.
The next day she came to get something at the parish office and we saw again. This time she was not trying to put up a happy face like the day before. She was down. She disliked her father who by this time occasionally called for money. She hated that she did not get the level of education she wanted. She regretted all the wrong guys she had dated. In fact, her life made no meaning to her then. I just sat there silent but listening to her.
“I know you may be wondering why I am telling you all these,” she said to me, “I do not know but you seem like somebody I can tell. You may even be wondering whether all what I am telling you is true…I am not progressing.” She brought out her phone and showed me her post on social media that day. It was something like this:
At age xx, I have not achieved anything. I do not have a good education, I do not have a good job, I am not married, I do not even have an accommodation of my own. Nothing is working for me…My life makes no meaning…
I did not know it then but I know now that her thoughts were gravitating towards suicide. I tried to encourage her at this point but I am not sure of the effect of my encouragement. She was just tired of everything, overwhelmed and appeared hopeless.
For anyone who may be in such a state as that young woman was, I will encourage such a person to do these three things:
- GET SUPPORT: It can be from family, counselor, group, a priest, or a trusted mature adult who will understand what you are going through and give you the much needed support. These people will not only boost the morale but restore confidence and strength to continue life. There are times in life when we feel vulnerable. What a lot of people do is to bottle it up inside and before you know it, they harm themselves. To be vulnerable is human and not something to be ashamed of. It is wise to get help in such a state.
- COUNT YOUR BLESSING: In such a situation, this is a difficult thing to do. But the fact is that there is always something to be grateful for even in challenging period. It can be your wife, husband, children, sibling, friend, your health, your education, or something else. You take them for granted but how would you feel if you do not have them? One thing that is true is that for you to have made it this far in spite of your challenges shows the strength you have. Some may not have made it this far. It helps to find out what you are grateful for. Doing this can help in bringing back the confidence you need.
- PRAY: Prayer involves raising the heart and mind to God in silence or in words. There are times when I feel down. What I do is to communicate sincerely the way I feel to God. Whenever I do this, I feel better. I cannot explain it. It just happens that after the prayer I feel motivated to proceed despite the challenge before me. Prayer is a powerful weapon which we can lay hold on anytime.
With a commitment to be victorious, you are going to be victorious and your story will inspire people.
About the lady whose story I told, I saw her some weeks later and she had started her business. It was a sign of advancement.