Usually, I’m not a fan of drama series but “One Tree Hill” was too good to ignore back then! It was an American television series, set in the fictional town of Tree Hill in North Carolina following the lives of two half-brothers, Lucas and Nathan Scott, who compete for positions on their school’s basketball team and more – the drama around their high school relationships that involved that one particular pretty girl, Peyton Sawyer. Her luck never last, as the guys would somehow just leave! She was so good at her role that it seemed so real – so real that I always relate it to our life’s journey.
Every time I have to say bye to fellows at the end of their service, am left in that ‘Peyton state!’ During such times, the bond developed during the fellowship faces the ultimate test and trust me, I have failed to get used to it. The home stretch plunges many fellows into a pensive mood, one of racing emotions from the excitement of finally returning home but also the brutal reality of re-entry especially if work opportunities are slim. As one watching from the sidelines, am always certain that it’s their time to leave and am happy for them but thoughts of lone moments after stick out like a sore thumb.
I have seen two of my housemates leave and for those moments, I was never certain that I was truly ready to say bye. Their presence had a ‘placebo effect’ that helped me deal with the cultural shock and momentarily blinded me to the reality that the US is not home. I had grown to appreciate them in many more ways than just who they were- their opinions, emotions, lifestyle, belief systems; In Justin Miteng, I had found an Ambassador for South Sudan, one that spoke so highly about his country that you would instantly vie to be born there in your second life. Younas Chouwdry was ‘Bollywood incarnate’ for the love he had to offer was enough for the over seven billion people that the world holds- where else do you find such love than in Bollywood movies?
Sadly, as I get to terms with the leaving of one team, another warms up to torment my stay. Am not so good at saying bye and worse, I easily get bored by messages like; ‘It’s not goodbye, it’s just that I will miss you till we meet again.’ Honestly, i live in fear of expressing my emotions for its un-African for a man to publicly show that he is hurting. Besides, I would need a big enough ground to roll and scream to let out how I feel which may not go down well with the overly active police in this country. In such a state, am reduced to looking on, expression-less, but deep down, am thanking GOD that we met, lived, loved and last long enough to hurt upon leaving.
My earnest prayer for every fellow is to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. As you return home, may the Almighty GOD surround you with his blessings (Deuteronomy 28:12) and by his grace, never let your year-long service lie in vain!
That’s my prayer…