A Priceless Friend

This is the second individual to get a post solely about them in my series of posts about the beauties who have played a special part in my 2018, simply because they are that special.  She is one of my closest friends, who I’ve always treasured but can take unfairly take for granted at times.  I will always see her at least once or twice in a year, but this year we spent more time together, which was really nice.

Pebbles spoils me more than I deserve, which is not the reason behind why we are so close or why I love her so much.  We’ve been close friends since leaving secondary school, where we were in a number of classes together, bonding over music, High School Musical and Hollyoaks.  She’s been a constant in my life since then.

This year, we met up to eat, play board games, sit in the park and watch movies – I’ve got her to thank for watching Inside Out, which I loved.  Of course, there was plenty of chat and laughter along the way, filling each other in on what was going on in our lives.

However, what made her such a special part of my 2018 was going on holiday together – there is a lot more to this story, but not everyone needs to know it.  We went to my beloved Italy, staying in stunning Sorrento, where we walked through a lemon grove, ate gelato everyday and enjoyed some good shopping.  We also visited the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum – we love ourselves some history – which was a surreal experience.  Although they were amazing to witness firsthand and so much was stunning to look at, it was weird to be in the midst of places that had been completely wiped out and claimed so many lives.

It was great to eat gorgeous food, see beautiful sights and stay in a new place with my friend, but the best thing about our trip was that it made us closer.  Often, trips can make or break friendships, but this trip definitely made ours.  One of my favourite moments was when we had a frank, honest conversation over dinner on the last night, opening up about various things effecting us and speaking up about friendship like we haven’t before.  I felt like I knew her a lot better after that night.

Pebbles and I have been friends for over 10 years, and I wholeheartedly believe that we’re going to be friends for 10 years more and beyond, as long as God grants me the breath in my body.  Friends like Pebs are rare, precious, priceless diamonds – you do not want to lose them.  I’m beyond grateful for a friend like Pebs in my life, and writing this is just a small thing to let her know how much I love and value her.

A Frightening Increase

It is a little frightening to see the rate at which knife crime is increasing.  It is ridiculous to hear about an individual being stabbed at least once a week, and what makes it worse is that most of these stabbings are in my home of South London.

I think that stabbings are unnecessary and I don’t understand why they are becoming such a frequent occurrence.  Life is precious and I can’t fathom why people have such a lack of respect for it, especially the young people.  When you hear about stabbings, it is usually the young people who are carrying out and on the receiving end of the stabbings.

It is like they see using a knife as an easy way to get what they want or a necessary way to gain “respect”.  They do not think about the consequences and in the blink of an eye, that blade could cost an individual their life.

I understand that there are times when an individual can find themself in a sticky situation, but using a knife is never the answer.  All it does is cause further pain and leads to a reign of terror on the streets.

I hate that I am continuously seeing an increase in knife crime and I am seriously wondering if it is too late to stop it.  We need to step up and do something, which is an issue that I have addressed in my article for The Croydon Citizen.

Lovely Day

Yesterday I had a really lovely day; in fact, I had a really lovely Sabbath.  It was a good day full of various emotions, special moments and precious memories that will stay in my heart and my mind forever.

During divine service, I was truly blessed as the pastor preached another deep sermon that touched my heart.  Before beginning her sermon, she sang a powerful rendition of ‘He’s Been Faithful’, which was a beautiful and touching testimony.  She then opened up my mind again and helped me to see another story in the Bible in a way I’d never thought about.

As she preached about how Mary saw Jesus after He was resurrected and explained that Jesus was still on earth just because He knew that Mary could not be consoled until she had seen Him, it blew my mind.  Jesus was supposed to ascend to His father in Heaven immediately after His resurrection, but He stayed just because Mary needed Him.

Jesus was there for that one person who needed Him and He will be there for any of us, which is why it is essential for us to have a relationship with Him.  The pastor emphasised that Jesus loves every single one of us.  Jesus loves me and He wants to be my friend.  He wants to have a relationship with me.

By the end of the message, I was moved to tears and felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart, but something held me back.  I was happy to see many of my friends and my brother who usually doesn’t come to church go up for the altar call, stirring up more emotions for me, but I felt paralysed to move.  However, God wasn’t finished with me yet.

I was then excited to see an old friend who I’ve got a lot of love for and have really missed.  It was great to see him at church and I enjoyed having a nice catch-up with him.  I love friends that I can actually have good conversations with, it is something that always brings a smile to my face.

After spending time with my beautiful family and catching up with my cousins over lunch, I attended a baptism that will hold a special place in my heart forever.

It was emotional to watch three of my friends – three people who I love – get baptised, especially one of my closest friends who has a really special place in my heart.  I’ve watched him grow and mature into one of the most unique and amazing people I know, and I was so proud of him for taking this step in his life.  He has to know that I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

But as I said, God wasn’t finished with me yet.  As the baptism drew to a close and the pastor made her final heartfelt appeal for the campaign, the Holy Spirit began tugging at my heart-strings again.  I didn’t want to get up because of the fear I was feeling and my heart was racing, but there was a voice telling me to go.

I’ve been making plans to get baptised ever since I went to camp meeting, but I’ve just been trying to figure out when I want it to happen.  Baptism is extremely important to me and it is one of the biggest events that will take place in my life, so I don’t want to rush into it.  I want to make sure that I get it right.

But God was telling me something, so my cousin held my hand and went up with me, as I made the decision to get baptised at the next baptism.  However, what made it more special was that my sister went up as well, which I was not expecting.  I’m glad she’s decided to take that step as well.

I know this is the right decision and I won’t look back, I’m only looking forward.  God knew it was meant to be already, as He gave a sign to the pastor of our church who saw the faces of me and my sister in his mind that morning.  As per usual, God knows what is right for me before I do and I appreciate that.

Yesterday really was a lovely day, but it was not only a lovely day; it was a special Sabbath.  It was a special Sabbath that I will treasure and will be in my thoughts forever…