I was all set to write about the newest Donald Trump shenanigan or the latest Democratic duplicity. But then a moment of clarity hit me. Why spend more time discussing the brokenness of our political system? Those who get it understand the debauchery of our governance and those who call themselves public servants; others will come to realize in time the malignancy of both parties.
While driving to my favorite coffee shop for a cup of morning buna, I started to reflect about what I enjoy writing about the most. The issues I love writing about the most are those that deal with the quest to grow spiritually and the journey we all go through to heal from the slings and arrows the world throws at our side. Though the articles that get the most shares and clicks are the ones where I write about politics and pop culture, the ones that garner the most poignant feedback and gratitude are the ones where I discuss my own struggles to find purpose and to rediscover love in my heart.
I realized a long time ago that pain is a universal language in ways even more profound than music and arts. All of us go through the pangs of heartbreak and sorrows; none of us can evade the whales of tribulation that comes for us in our lives (read Temesgen). Some of us are just better at hiding pains through smiles while others are driven off the edge by the sadness that breaks spirits and the will to survive. In the countless states I’ve sojourned over the past two years, I have witnessed many people of all stripes who plunged into the abyss of hopelessness because they were not able to synthesize the pains of the past. An equal number of people wore masks of happiness; society counting them as success stories—behind the scenes these same “success stories” struggled with self-medication and ennui.
We are all connected by these burdens that weigh on our souls. We cope with hardships differently but we are all tethered with the search to find meaning after we encounter seemingly meaningless injections of melancholy as woe interrupts normal. But my travels over the years have taught me one thing above all—healing takes place when we share our stories and testimonies with others. It’s the darnedest thing; the very same sources of distress becomes the stories of blessings the minute we refuse to let the past have veto power over our lives.
We find purpose through heartbreak. I once read in the bible that we should count our hardship as blessings. Before wisdom, I looked upon the notion of counting hardship as a blessing with anger. Why should we be thankful to be in hardship? Why is there hardship to begin with at all? But now I get it; hardship bestowed upon me enough wisdom to understand. The true character of people is found during times of distress; misfortune blesses our hearts with the treasures of gratitude and thankfulness.
When our lives are clouded by darkness and the hour of crucibles comes, we have a choice at those precise times. These times I speak of are not the small blows like getting a dent in our cars or not getting a pay raise. There are times all of us go through mind bending ordeals where the floor falls beneath us as Jobian calamities befall us. At these times, friends become none and even family become few. It seems like only the shadow is our company as anguish wraps around us like netela (blanket). It is at this exact time that we have a choice; either look ahead with faith in spite of hopelessness or be mired in anger and the quest to find vindication.
I survived my trial by fire because I made the decision to turn the transgressions committed against me—as well as the trespasses I committed against others—to a higher power. Instead of asking why, I decided to ask how. Each minute looking back and wondering why did this happen to me is a time that takes away from figuring out how to move forward. Moreover, anger and trying to prove you were wronged is a recipe for perpetual grief. No one has time for sad stories, everyone is struggling to cope with their own struggles so turning your life into a broken record of replaying the past is a sure fire way to end up stranded on an island of revenge and regret.
Someone asked me recently “I don’t get it, you are back in DC Teddy, why are you not fighting to get back what was taken from you”. Without going into the details of the past, I told this friend that I made the decision to relinquish my claims for the same reason I don’t fight for vindication. To wit, do you think I am happier writing about this testimony or if nothing changed two and a half years ago and I was instead leveraging my ability to write to promote libations and debauchery—it was hardship that separated me from the latter and deliver me to the former.
Though I am a work in progress and my faith still has room to grow, I am eternally grateful that I gave the past over to God and that decision blessed me with more abundance than I ever imagined possible in life. Money gone, friends lost, and business embezzled and these things were just the tip of the iceberg that saw me marooned in despondence. Yet now I find myself back in the state I left in tribulation—I returned not a victim but a champion because I found love and purpose. I pray for continued wisdom to seek love always instead of focusing on ego and vengeance and I pray the most that I gain the wisdom to forgive. But life is a process not a finger snap, I shall have patience and grow as I go.
To be honest, if I had to repeat the ordeals I went through over the past two and a half years (read My Love, My Legacy) I would sign up for all of it each time. I learned more in my time of desolation than I did in the eight years I spent pursuing a higher education. I learned above all to have faith for all things have a purpose if we just have the wherewithal to endure the seasons of sorrow that come in our lives. What seemed impossible is now my new life; though the climb continues, I found purpose in my heart. Redemption became possible only because I left vindication behind. #RedeemingMe
“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom” ~ Aeschylus
If you appreciate this write up and the message of love and hope behind it, share this article on social media using #RedeemingMe
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I share more of my testimony of what I have been through over the past couple of years and how once sources of distress became the greatest blessings I have earned.
This is for the blessing I found after the storms I endured #birabiro
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019