Relationships

How Can I Stay Silent?

I don’t know how this post is gonna turn out, because I fully don’t have the words I want to say yet. They’re just going to come to me as I type and let my heart come spilling out, because my heart is beyond full right now and my emotions are heightened, but in the best possible way. All I know is that I can’t keep silent. How can I keep silent? Especially in this time of so much madness and sadness, hope and happiness need to be shared.

I cannot stop smiling and the happiest of tears are coming to my eyes. It really is a beautiful day and I could not thank God anymore for it. I’m trying to say all I want about Him right now, but it’s coming out in some mad jumble because I am so overwhelmed. My brain won’t stop jumping around and I can’t contain the joy I feel.

God has granted me much more than I deserve, showing me grace, favour, mercy and love, time after time after time. He’s forgiven me, been patient with me through all my transgressions, supported me through my crazy and never, ever given up on me. I’m still a work in progress, but He’s okay with that and I know He’s got my back forever.

In the stillness, I’ve been able to reflect, meditate and spend some good time in prayer, which led to me learning and figuring out a whole lot about myself. A whole lot that needed fixing and facing up to, despite how ugly and difficult it was. But I’m beyond better for it now. A weight has been lifted, shackles have been loosed and my heart is finally healing fully.

I am not my past or insecurity or stupid mistakes. I am so much more than I ever thought I was, because I am a child of God who is forever loved, blessed and favoured. And because He loves me, I am valued, validated, beautiful, cared for and good enough. Through God, I am an overcomer, more than a conqueror, strong, kind, resilient, bold and so much more. There is potential and power in me I haven’t even reached yet, but He knows and is already setting the plans in motion.

Through my reflections, I knew that one of the things I had to do was reach out and apologise to a friend I have a loaded history with, because I hadn’t done that despite the many years that had passed. I was anxious and afraid, worried that it would ruin our friendship or that he’d take the words the wrong way, but God used that apology to pave the way for a conversation we’d needed to have for so long. We were able to clear the air, be fully honest, listen to each other, forgive each other and put the building blocks in place for a stronger, better, healthier and more fulfilling relationship. I couldn’t be more thankful for that – God’s timing is always best.

So today, I’m not keeping silent, even though I may be rambling a little. There is so much more of my story to come, but for now, I’m so blessed to be living in grace and basking in the love my God has shone on me. This song says it all.

They Taught Me More Than They’ll Ever Know

I couldn’t write about the people who played a special part in my 2018 without writing about Queen’s Gardens.  I spent a significant portion of my time in Queen’s over spring and summer, bringing me into contact with a number of people who I continue to love, in spite of what may have passed between some of us.

Queen’s is one of the strangest and most interesting places in Croydon, because of the mixture of characters you will find there, and also because of what takes place there.  It is kind of like a bubble, a community within a community, which you come to realise the deeper you ingratiate yourself with the people there.  I learnt a lot – good, bad and useful – which I will definitely be taking forward in my life.

I’ve developed relationships with some beautiful people, who I happily speak to and spend time with whenever I see them.  Due to some of their lifestyles, I won’t be using their “government” names or naming them at all.  If they were to read this, I’d hope they know who they are though.

I’ve known my Jamesy-James for a couple of years now, and he’s always been someone I find easy to talk to, although I can’t put my finger on why.  I guess he’s a great listener, and is definitely an all round lovely person.  I’m always excited to see him.  I’ve known and been friends with Gamma for a couple of years too, but I got to know him a lot more this year.  Gamma always finds a way to make me laugh, and I’ll never forget when he had me cracking up when we were hanging out in the summer one time.  I also love that he calls me ‘Poetry Queen’ – just saying.

Win is a really, really lovely human being.  He’s easy to get on with, easy to talk to and easy to be around.  We got on immediately, from the moment we met in summer.  After not seeing him for a few months, it was nice to bump into him randomly, spend some time chatting on a walk and then go to Kaspas.  Whenever I’m with him, I know I’ll always be looked after and treated right.  And you’ve got Frankie, who I first met in spring, but quickly warmed up to and also got on well with – he looks out for me too.

I saw more of a beautiful lady I met last year, who is always warm and quick to greet me.  When I ask her how she is, I love the response she gives, which is such a mouthful that I cannot remember it all.  I also met a young woman this year, who I found sweet, despite being very rough around the edges.  She is always quick to greet me too and ready for a little conversation.

After meeting him at the soup kitchen the church I attend puts on, I came to see more of this ball of energy at Queen’s during the summer months – let’s call him My Darlin.  Like I mentioned, My Darlin is a ball of energy, talking quickly, walking quickly and often on the move.  He is truly lovely, with a heart of gold and caring nature.  He’s always got a story to tell too, which can often be amusing.

There are so many others I could mention, including a kind-hearted sweetie who made me feel like family, and a group of Eritreans, including a beauty who brings me joy with his beautiful, bright smile and shining eyes.  However, I came to spend quite a lot of my time with a particular group, who will always have a place in my heart (some of them have a special place).  No matter what has gone down with them, I want the best for all of them and I will always keep them in my prayers.  I don’t think they realise the impact they have had on my life and how much I have learnt from them.

Through one member of this group, I came to meet a genuine, down-to-earth, lovely person, who is studying youth work (I think he’s going to be a great youth worker), and I could have proper conversations with.  I have time for him any day.

However, it was the one who introduced us that has probably had one of the largest impacts on me this year – we’ll call him my Knight (in Shining Armour).  Out of everyone from Queen’s, I think I ended up spending the most amount of time with my Knight.  I initially met him last year, but we didn’t really speak, which all changed this spring.  Somehow, we began to talk more and more, as we became properly comfortable with each other.  The conversation flowed and we got to know each other better, which was made easier by his raw honesty.

Like people I tend to get on with best, he made me laugh, although sometimes he would joke around too much.  He looked out for me, like many of the people in Queen’s would do, but he went above and beyond in some ways by being very protective – not in a creepy way though.  However, what I think most stands out about my Knight is the sense of calm he would bring me, especially when I would get stressy over the actions of certain individuals – it was funny how much he would come up with sensible things my sister would probably say.  He’s got a really good heart as well.

As strange as Queen’s can be, meeting people from there has made me a better, more resilient person and more streetwise person.  I don’t think they even realise how much I love all of them.

They Brought Me Laughter and Happiness

Last year, my best friend Mells gave me one of the greatest gifts ever when she gave birth to my godson, Reyez.  He is the best, beautiful and boisterous, never failing to make me laugh or bring me joy.  Every moment spent with him is special and I’m blessed to be part of his life.

One of the highlights of my year was watching Reyez get dedicated, and also playing a part in that special moment as one of his godparents.  It was a real celebration and he looked beyond cute on the day in his white suit.  His mum definitely knows how to have him looking his best.

I’ve also had the pleasure of looking after Reyez a few times this year, with the stand out being him spending a day at “Aunty Day Care” (basically my sister and me looking after him at our house).  We played with toys, I sang to him, fed him, changed him and got him to sleep.  I was taken aback, but also found it hilarious, when he roared at me as he cried for food.  This boy definitely loves his food.

My heart filled with joy and excitement as I saw that he was walking, and now I’m just waiting for him to start properly talking – I’m insistent that he will say Aunty Shan, no matter what his mum says.  I’m also looking forward to when he’ll stop ripping paper so I can read to him.

Now his mum, Mells, has been my best friend for about 10 years, and our friendship has always been an interesting one.  We are very different people and we show love in very different ways, although we know that the love is always there.  While I’m very much about words and expressions of love, I’ve come to realise that my Mells shows love through her actions and giving you her quality time – time is 100% a big thing for her, which I sadly find hard to give at times.

During the beautiful, warm weather we enjoyed in spring and summer this year, Mells, Reyez and I went on a picnic.  I asked what I should bring, but Mells insisted I didn’t need to bring anything, and when we sat down on our mats in the park, she unpacked a spread of cooked food, snacks, fruit and drinks that catered to my vegetarian diet.  I couldn’t believe that she had prepared all of this and not wanted me to contribute anything.  I felt genuinely loved, appreciated and cared for – those are the actions of a true friend there.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Mells and Reyez this year, which has brought me plenty of laughter and left me with a number of memories.  These are two of the most important people in my life, who I would die for without a second thought.  Like I said, I’m so blessed to have Reyez as my godson – he never fails to bring me happiness and was often my light during my darker days at the beginning of the year.  I love the both of them with all my heart.