Feb 10, 2012, 2:05 PM
The Gambia sporting society reels from the endless unbearable pain and on whose
loved ones have lost their lives through drowning trying to cross the
Mediterranean to Europe, it can be a time of renewed grieving and pain.
Those who have endured the “Dark Night of The Soul” hold onto strands of hope. In the deepest, darkest moments of despair, we dare to hope and pray for the choiceless sorrow, outrage and overwhelming grief that accompany the demise of more than three youths between end of October and mid November 2016.
Death has shown its unpleasant advent; jealously cuddled the Smiling Coast with its mysterious and inevitable call to sadden the families of former Red Scorpion goalkeeper Fatim Jawara and popular wrestler Ali Mbenga known to his fans as “Mille Franc”.
Former Banjul United player Ebrima Touray also had his last breath taken away in Libya on Sunday 6th November, and some others whose unhappiness stories are yet to be found and told.
But who can blame them for taking that risk of illegal migration for a better life in Europe when our sport is in its nemesis?
“Mille Franc” may have being earning the meager he could in the sport, but it was undeniably the contrasting side of the coin for Fatim Jawara who was not employed by the football club she has represented nor was she signed to a contract.
How do we go about this and try to attractively paint pictures of the realities of life with inspirational words?
Let’s do a bit of some spiritual stocktaking to help us be honest to ourselves. And in doing so, we are reminded that this world will come to end one day.
We do not know when or how, but that end must come. The end of this world will come for each one of us when we draw our last breath.
But how will we stand in God’s side when that moment comes? An eternity of happiness or grief will depend on our spiritual state at that moment.
The thought of death is frightening, but then again those who are just and those who live righteousness, it is a way of encouragement and opening a door that will usher us into eternity.
Each of us can put the question simply to him or her this very moment and ask how would I fare if I were be called before the judgment seat today? The best of us would certainly prefer to be better prepared.
There’s so much good these youths have left undone and to us so much false for which we’ve not atoned properly, so many uncharitable thoughts about our friends and neighbours in our minds, so many acts of charity we’ve kept postponing, so many acts of thanksgiving and praise I’ve not made to my loving God.
Yet with fervent prayers, we’re reassured by others, of course, that there’s “light at the end of the tunnel,” “time heals all wounds” and we will “rise from the ashes.” This is good news.
We want to believe that life will somehow go on and say, “OK, I’m on board!” And forge ahead bravely in search of the light.
But how long will it take to get to the light and what are we supposed to do in the meanwhile? The inquiring minds and broken hearts of bereaved parents wants to know, “Do we ever really heal? Feel joy again? See beauty? Open our hearts to love again? Or, is it possible to make peace with life itself? Is there real cause for hope? If there is, how can we cultivate it when all we feel is pain?”
Skeptics of “the light” claim, “There is no light. But that is propaganda.
To fight off the weakening despair, we have ourselves into believing we can be whole again, even if our hearts are broken. We must try to stop numbing ourselves down, telling each other fairy tales and convince others we’re back.
Viewing our grief this way affords us the much-welcomed safety, permission and freedom to be exactly the way we are-without apology or fear of being judged. It allows us our integrity and humanity.
We are born to be resilient. Our cells are programmed to “live,” and “fight back,” even if/when we hurt so bad we want to die.
Striving for a new season of life free of pain even as our hearts break over the reality that our children’s lives have been lost to them, it’s in our nature to be hopeful.
To assure ourselves better days are just around the corner, that our children, now angels, are close and that new found meaning is arising, like the morning sun, on the horizon. We are innately faithful.
But there’s more to surviving the death of a child than faith and optimism. We must allow ourselves the time, support, strength and resources we need to grieve, free ourselves of the quick fix spin and solutions of our grief illiterate society, surround ourselves with patient, trustworthy supporters and work hard, day after day, to fight our way back into life.
Making our remaining days an expression of love, rather than sorrow and despair is a noble and honorable quest.
May the soul of Fatim Jawara, Ali Mbenga, and Ebrima Touray and to all the faithful departed through this unlawful journey rest in eternal peace, Amen.
And let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, accordingly as we hope in thee.
Keep On Keeping On