There are people I have come to admire mainly because of their strength. Nothing ever gets to them They seem to have it all together. It looks like nothing can throw them off their balance until they come crashing down in tears right there in your arms. This happened to me recently and like my fellow Nigerians will say, “I never esperedit” (I never expected it).
So what happened? Why did this person who always seems to float through life ‘suddenly’ breakdown like that? I’ll tell you what happened. This is his story;
I have known Tunji (not his real name) literally all my life. We’ve shared a lot of happy and sad times together. We used to be really close when we were kids but with age came the unavoidable separation of ideals and mind-set. We didn’t have so much in common anymore but we still remained friends; familiar strangers to put it better. The thing about Tunji is this; he is always mysterious. When something bad really happens, he shoves it off as one of those things. He makes it look like everything is fine and really, nothing ever appears to be wrong with him. He has become an expert in disguising pain.to the point of making you believe pain is beautiful.
Tunji has been having some financial and family troubles for some times now, Anytime I ask him about it he simply says, “Doyin I am good. Don’t worry about me.” I soon came to realise that Tunji was really not good. I don’t know what set off the train of events that evening but I saw a side of Tunji I have not seen since we were kids. Tunji became human again. Tears flowed down his eyes so fast that I was confused as to what to do next. Right there in front of me was the person whose shoulder I always leaned on. Now he was vulnerable. I saw him trying to fight back the tears. He never liked being vulnerable.
I moved towards him, still unsure of what to say next. I gave him the warmest hug I could. He put his head on my shoulder and let it all out. I didn’t realise when I started to cry too. Then he unveiled the true face of the pain he was carrying. He told me all the things he had been struggling with these past years. All those times I thought Tunji was good, I had no idea that he was at the point of committing suicide. Tunji was hungry for days and he didn’t even reach out to anyone for help. Life had been hard for him but on the outside he made everything look like it was all bliss, even to the people who cared about him the most.
At first I felt his pain. I asked myself why I didn’t try harder. I should have cared more; maybe the pain he felt would have been reduced. Then I became annoyed, not at myself but at Tunji. Why was he trying so hard to make life seem beautiful when it was a big ball of darkness for him? If he had said something I would have been able to help in one way or the other. Then I remembered when I went through a similar phase myself. What did I do then? I bottled it all in. I cried in the comfort of my room but when I stepped out, I had the biggest smile on my face. I too had perfected the art of disguising pain so could I really blame Tunji?
I looked at him and all I could say was that he would get through it. He asked me how I knew and I told him, “It is because I am a living testimony that the pain does disappear eventually.” I went on to preach to Tunji because at the end of the day, only God can give Him the relief he is looking for. Going through painful times, hurt and grief can be really difficult but you don’t have to go through it alone. God is there at the door of your heart, waiting for you to surrender that pain to Him. He wants to mend that broken heart and heal those wounds.
Don’t disguise your pain.
It never ends well when you do that.
Talk to someone about it.
Release it to God.
He can make that ugly face of pain to become something beautiful. He did it for me and He has started to work His miracle on Tunji.