Looking at my website, I noticed it had been over a year since I’ve posted in the “Meet a Friend” section. The purpose of my creating that page, as stated, was to shed light on some of the most compelling and impactful people I know. Without further ado- meet Sarah:
Most of my professional life I’ve been told, “Don’t make friends with the people you work with, for, or who work for you.” For a long time, I obliged. In my mind, it made sense to just keep all things professional. Keep my distance. Pay them. Make my money. Do my job. Go home. Thankfully, that stopped early on. For 5 years I worked in home health where for 10-13 hours I was in the same house with my co-worker, and now sister, Alexis. We were responsible for the lives of 8 men. How can you not build a relationship? Eventually, she was the husband and I was the wife, lol. Sometimes we switched. I couldn’t imagine life without, Lex. I’ve cried, prayed, and laughed more than I could count. After receiving my Bachelor’s, I moved on to teach high school English where I met Cary. We were the dynamic duo (at least to our kids) If Cary had a young lady in his class who just needed “mama for a minute” he came knocking on my door, took over my class, and I went on down to his room. I was able to do the same. He was my backbone in education and is now my backbone in life. I know, I’m supposed to be introducing Sarah and Judith, but it’s important to understand that early on, I was nervous about building a relationship outside of anything professional, then, through reminders of people like Alexis and Cary, God said otherwise.
From the moment I landed in Nigeria, Sarah has been a sweet breath of fresh air. Her gentleness reminded me that it’s okay to be gentle. Her boldness reminded me of the beauty in balance. There are certain people in your life who you just gravitate toward, Sarah was that for me. After about 4 months, I found myself telling her about my hysterectomy. It was like the words just fell out of my mouth and she immediately caught them and reminded me of the maternity she’d seen from the moment I got here, “No surgery can change that, Aunty” she said.
Y’all already know what I did next, so I’m not going there. Well, during that same time, she and her husband got pregnant, and to be honest-it hurt. I know that sounds silly and selfish, but that’s my truth. It hurt. I sat on the counter in the kitchen and she sat across from me and asked how I felt. “How do I feel?” How do I feel about the fact that 6 months post-op, prime menopausal, and settling into a new life, country, and culture, having to watch you be pregnant? How do I feel?
“I feel ridiculed by God.”
I told her that, and she sat in it for a moment. Silently. That silence will forever be in my heart. I know she was praying. I felt her communing (even without words) with the Lord right in front of me and I immediately thanked God for placing her there. Sarah reminded me where I was. She reminded me that I am surrounded by children who would kill to be loved-she reminded me about adoption-she reminded me about being in her daughter’s life- but most importantly, she reminded me that my identity was not, and should never be in child-bearing.
I know many of you are probably like, “LAWD, SHAKIYLA, LET IT GO!” I feel like I’ve talked about it in every post in the past year, but imagine having an image of who you want to be. Imagine cultivating that for 10+ years. Imagine finally establishing a sense of “identity” then leaving it on a hospital table never to be felt again. It’s hard. It’s exhausting, but it’s my story and I’m accepting it.
Well, Sarah had baby Judith, and I’ve decided to call her “Judy.” Their village is about a 30 minute walk from my house, and so I drove, LOL. She was so thankful to have me visit, but honestly I was even more so to have been invited. Everyone was welcoming and loving. Sarah made lunch and I held on tight to Judy. YES WE MATCH. I’m a nanny. I came to Nigeria to work at a high school, ended up at a college, and am closing in on month seven with a God-child. It has been interesting, to say the least, but I couldn’t imagine life here without having felt the warmness of Sarah.
I know this isn’t a typical “Let me encourage you” article, but honestly, that’s not why I do these. These are to show appreciation for those beams of light in my life. They are to remind us of how to love, serve, and be a reflection of God. These have little to do with who I am, and more to do with the people I aspire to mirror in my daily desire to be better, show better, and love better.
Thank you for reading.
I love you.