You know what life gives you through kicks? Wisdom. Let me share the wisdom I’ve gained over the years that has given me the capacity to understand the bible in ways I could not before. For those who are atheists or believe in other faiths, I hope that you read on regardless. Trust me when I talk about the bible, it is not from a place of piety neither am I preaching.
My faith is within. When I speak about the bible, it is either as a testimony of my own failings and the pursuit to be better or to share a nugget of wisdom I found within it. With that said, let me move on to the topic at hand. John 4:43-44 reads as follows:
“After two days, Iyesus left for Galilee. Now He Himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.”
I read this before but the wisdom in this passage never really struck me. You see, things don’t really make sense until you go through a struggle; it’s like a crucible opens one’s eyes to what was hidden in plain sight.
What if I told you the bible was not so much laws and edicts nor is it a rule book of how to live one’s life. I’m not saying this from a position of authority neither should my words be interpreted as edicts–I’m just conveying what the bible represents to me. The bible is a testimony of the human experience, both our failures and potential. Your struggles, as that of humanity as a whole, are capture within the pages if you only look for it. This is true of the world all around us, art is hidden in the midst of what seems meaningless.
Now back to the passage, when Iyesus said that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown, he wasn’t just talking about himself, he was talking about our penchant as human beings to overlook what is in abundance around us as we look far away for treasures. He was talking about all of us.
For those who know me, one of my biggest frustrations has been the lack of cohesion in the Ethiopian community. For close to a decade I tried, often in misguided ways, to organize a people who come from of a nation who was my womb and my once home. But the more I tried, the more I got frustrated. A journey I started in hope ended up concluding in ashes.
I realize now that I was the problem. I let my ego and my impatience get in the way of understanding. I expected immediate gratification and instant results. Moreover, I expected my community to empower my message. Thus, I would write articles about Ethiopia in ways that very few out there do (I hope this is not sounding boastful, for all my failings, the pen is not one of them).
My mission was to redefine Ethiopia’s image to the world from that of a backwater of famine to the rightful image of profound history and significance. In the process, I was hopeful that my words would inspire more and more to work together for the sake of communal success.
Though I had my successes over the years, too often my efforts were met with indifference. Ethiopia went from my womb to my white whale–I ended up chasing Moby right into the abyss. Thank God my plunge into the darkness was temporary, in honesty I emerged from the chasm stronger than before.
I emerged with wisdom to understand. I was too harsh on my community, they were not indifferent out of malice, it is a human condition to overlook what is nearest to us. This happens in America too, after all, Obama was discounted by “African-Americans” until he won Iowa. This conniption to overlook what is close to us transcends race, all of us devalue what looks like us as we chase what is foreign.
Proximity breeds indifference. If Iyesus Himself was overlooked and many prophets after HIM were ignored, what right do I have to get upset because I was not being heard? The onus is not on the community, it is on me. Anything worth its salt has to be labored for. We come into this world through struggle, broken water and tears of our mothers; we too must struggle, break water and shed tears until we meet success.So for anyone out there who is striving to make a difference, do not get frustrated by the lack of support you get from your community or your friends. This is human condition, keep pushing ahead. If you must, go to Galilee and be accepted by others before your own will listen. Go out and come back in–that is how you win.
But who cares if anyone is listening. Do right by your heart and do good by your neighbor and all else will fall in. Whatever hardship comes in your life, just remember to be grateful and do not give your hand to bitterness. Peace and God bless. #WhatILearned
The root of our power is the very source of our perceived weakness::
If you appreciate this write up and you too understand the struggle to make it and to find success and purpose in a world full of indifference, share this article with others who can use a bit of uplift on social media using #WhatILearned
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I talk about perspective and how our outlook determines the way we understand our past, our lives in the present and our future success.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss how purpose is born through struggle.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, 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. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.