Always so close

It was the year 2003. The 14 year old me waited impatiently to hear the closing bell and head to Mr. Biggs, a then-famous-Nigerian restaurant, with my friend to buy what had become our favourite pastry. At the sound of the bell, we began the 12 minutes trek from our school to Mr. Biggs. As we got closer, there was suddenly panic all around. People ran, in fright, in all directions seemingly trying to avoid something. Panicked and confused, I froze, helplessly looking around for my friend who had suddenly disappeared. All I remember was making out “Comot for there” which is pidgin for “leave there” and I blacked out.

When I came to, there was a worried crowd around me but oddly enough, keeping some sort of distance as I lay sprawled on the ground in my school uniform. One of the massive electric cables supplying light to the city had snapped off the rickety, makeshift power poles and dangled with furious sparks flying around. That snapped cable hit me. I’ll repeat: it hit me and per eyewitnesses, the electric force reportedly flung me quite a distance and they believed I had been electrocuted to death. BUT I didn’t die. At 31, I am still here, grateful for the seconds, the minutes and the hours of life.

On days when I feel alone, discouraged or purposeless, I am ever reminded of Meister Eckhart’s words that ” nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God” . That in itself fills my heart with so much peace that all I can mutter is ‘thank you, beautiful creator’.

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