I usually reserve Saturdays to do the “Sabbath Epistle” podcast and in the process give thanks to God above all. Though I rarely talk about my faith—I believe that faith should be within and expressed outwardly only through kind gestures—on the seventh day I talk liberally about my walk and my journey towards finding my purpose as God wills it. I do not do this to sanctimoniously preach as if I’ve figured out the answer life; I only talk about my faith as a means to share my testimony and by extension give hope to those mired in hopelessness.
I’ve walked a long journey in the past two and a half years. From living a life of comfort, a burden was placed on my shoulders that turned me into a pariah. One second working in corporate America making six figures, the floor fell beneath me as all the sudden I found myself homeless in South Carolina. The hardest part was knowing that I could never explain the whale that came for me. I cursed God for giving me a story that would only lead to ridicule if I dare to loosen my tongue to tell of it. Broken and alone, I became a man without a nation, family or friends.
I went through three phases of darkness. First I let my ego blow up to the size of Texas thinking that it was my greatness that pulled me from the fire that came knocking at my door. I did this even though I was warned; an elderly gentleman who I did not even know randomly told me one day “if you ever get through this, do not make this about your ego for ego means pushing God out”. I thought I knew better and soon enough I went about pushing God out of my life thinking I had it all figured. Regardless, God was right by my side. As I roamed Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina, one angel after another by way of strangers nourished me and provided love where those who I fed only a few months prior were nowhere to be found.
After sauntering in ego for a while, soon enough the darkness enveloped me. Pride, they say, goeth before destruction. The destruction came for me and I wanted to blame God for my sorrows but really I did it to myself. Refusing to submit to His will, go at it alone soon enough found me cocooned in the deepest of sadness. I was faced with an existential crisis of faith—for months I was mired and marooned in such deep dejection that I prayed for God to take me home only to wake up the next day to be greeted by depression’s kiss. Tears became my best friend; tizita became my netela. I did not know where to turn. The sheer gravity of the moment hit me as I realized that my life would never be the same. How to explain what happened to me, how would I find vindication for the way my life was turned upside down.
It was during this moment that I Googled “farm + mission + mountains” as I tried to reconnect back to my youth and the passion I once had for God, planting corns and my birth city I now call Finfine. A farm community in the Rockies popped up on Google. Desperate and without a penny to my name, a kind soul flew me out from New York to Colorado. I arrived at the Fort Collins Mission on May 1st where I spent two weeks with the broken and the homeless before I transferred to the farm I would call home for a year. It was there that I was put to work in the kitchen feeding fellow strugglers who were praying and hoping to get a second chance at life.
For nearly eight months, I was stuck in the deepest of dark holes as the thought of futility and hopelessness gnawed at my soul like ten thousand piranhas. All the sudden though the flicker started to come back, a dying ember started to get renewal as I served people food. The greatest blessing about my journey is fact that I did not let the coldness of this world frost over my giving nature. I love feeding people and helping others; this is why I used to let a village of people into my home as I made food for people I never knew. It was this giving nature that was viewed by too many as a weakness and would lead to a couple of people defrauding me as they pop bottles to this day celebrating as they hacked the hand that gave them the gursha that gave birth to their dreams.
But the past is past; to be honest I will thank both of these people one day as well as those who played a part in my struggles. Chief of these culprits was me for I was my own worst enemy. I have learned through hardship that giving should be done without taking away from self. Moreover, I have learned to stop fighting with people who are broken—though my old conniption sure has a way of reappearing at times when people come at me sideways. But I’m a work in progress, I shall be patient with myself. But I am thankful for this one thing; the darkness gave way to a kokeb bright as the star over Bethlehem—a birabiro (butterfly) kissed me where once depression was smooching me.
As I continue this journey towards my purpose, it is my hope that others who reside in darkness the way that I once did realize that temporary setbacks lead to blessings. Where you might be in a season of hardship today, a time will come where you will be in a season of abundance. Through it all, I say temesgen (thank you God) for all that I have been through. Hardship is a blessing for it teaches us to loosen our egos and to extend grace instead. I pray that God continues to guide me towards love and to be less about my ego. I pray this for the world as I do for myself: love, love, love, be love and let love redeem all of us:: #Temesgen
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.” ~ Hosea 6:1
If you appreciated this write up and understand that hardship leads to blessings, share this article on social media using #Temesgen
Check out a video below that I put together at the start of my journey, God speaks to us and through us without us even knowing it.
Two years later, I’ve traveled a long road but I found my purpose. This Ghion Cast below talks about this process.
Speaking of Birabiro…
Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The great grandson five generations removed of Atse (emperor) Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.
Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of "Serendipity's Trace" and newly released "Soul to Soil", two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.