The following true life story occurred in June 2015.
It was a warm, no hot, smoky evening in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria. Tired and desperate to get home, my mind lingered on the powerful training session I’d just left. Meandering through the unending stream of bodies without colliding with anyone was an art form all on its own. Trust me, you don’t want to barge into a typical lagosian in the evening – the fatigue and heavy traffic coats their tongue with some thick venom, looking for a prey to spit on.
It was already past 6:30pm and I still had approximately two hours of road time to deal with. The rush was getting to me.
I remember getting to the next bus park and the frustration of seeing vacant buses littered all over.
Where are these passengers? Are they not going home today? I contemplated as the thought of having to sit and wait for maybe another twenty or thirty minutes was just too much to bear. I had to get going – immediately.
Maybe I’ll just go to the express and wait. The buses there usually arrive almost full so the down time should be next to zero.
In fact, passengers sometimes jostle to board and I had become quite skilled in the art of boarding a bus in motion (this city has taught me things sha!) so it made sense. Plus there’s the extra bonus of bus fares being cheaper at the express. At the bus park, 150 naira was the guaranteed fare. At the express, you could get in for 100.
Save time. Save 50 bucks. What could go wrong?
I started to execute my brilliant analysis when it happened.
A clear ‘alarm’ sounded within me. I knew what it was. I’d had same on several occasions- an internal, inexplicable hesitation to proceed with an action. It was strong. So strong, in fact, that I stood right there at the park, my mind pacing towards the express while my body stayed rooted to the spot.
What was happening? Why the hesitation? The seconds ticked away as the internal debate wore on and in this blessed city, a five-minute delay could cost you an unfortunate extra hour in evening traffic.
Save time, spend less. The cost-benefit analysis favoured my decision; but the internal ‘alarm’ was clear – don’t do this.
Abeg. No time to waste. I have to get going.
And that was how I hurried off towards the express. I guess I’d found the snooze button for that internal alarm.
15 minutes later…
“Ssssssssssshhhhhhhhiiiiirrrrrttttt!!!!” I screamed.
“Wetin happen?” The startled young man asked.
“Dem just steal my phone just now!!!”
“Serious? Oh sorry o. Where you keep am?”
“This pocket” I said, slapping my right thigh simultaneously. I was at the edge of confusion. This was not the first time I’d kept it there. Was this really happening to me? Did this just happen to me?
“Na when you dey try to enter dem go don carry am so. Na so one almost collect my own, I just catch the hand, warn the guy. Lagos boys sha”, the man laughed, obviously pleased with himself for avoiding a similar fate. Mtcccheewww.
I searched both pockets frantically, as if the phone suddenly shrank to the size of a stapler pin. My tablet turned searchlight in the dark bus as I peered beneath the seats. Of course, I knew it wasn’t there. But, hah…may you never lose your 14 day old brand new device that cost almost 50k! You’d search inside the engine if they’d let you!
The rest of the journey was bathed with stories of phones lost and almost lost to Lagos boys. I was a cyclone of emotions. I was very angry yet felt stupid.
Then I remembered the ‘alarm’ that went off 25 minutes earlier.
Silence fell inside my heart.
This was what that was about?
Hmmm…if someone had told me 30 minutes earlier that I’d be on my way home, ‘disarmed’ by a smart pickpocket and angry at my stupidity and stubbornness, I’d never have believed. Would you?
And that takes me to the point of this true life story.
Do you know how many things you’ve lost by ignoring the ‘alarms’ and signals that keep sounding off in your spirit? I’ll wait while you read that again.
Can you quantify just how much you’ve cheated yourself out of God’s best by turning a deaf ear to those instructions, ideas and ‘flashes of thought’ you know you’re supposed to act on but never did?
Could you place a value on things you’ve lost, the seasons you’ve failed to enter, the entire chain of events that could have followed your simple obedience yet it never happened due to your fear, impatience, laziness, envy, stubbornness, pride, over-analysis, a smug attitude or whatever?
My lesson was immediate. But it was just a phone (that doesn’t mean the loss didn’t hurt like crazy. It did.). The next day, I replaced it with exactly the same brand and model as the one I’d lost and this story was written and published with it. The heavier losses though, are intangible, and may not be so easily replaceable.
And that’s why I chose to share this embarrassing story. Every decision births a consequence – immediately or otherwise.
I hope we all learn to always heed that ‘alarm’ when it sounds, to take those actions we know we should and to come to that place where we resolve that we will live true to the dreams and instructions in our heart and never sacrifice them on the altars of fear, excuses and disobedience.
Thank you for reading today. If you found any value in today’s blog, please share it with your friends. They deserve value as well.
Live by Design
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