As Mr X lay on his bed one evening, he looked to his left through his open window at the majestic sun that just 6 hours before would have scorched down at his scalp, yet now, it set calmly with a beauty only a starry night could beat. As Mr. X lay there, he remembered the peril, weariness and toil he endured as he walked kilometres to school despite offers from peers to skip school considering the fact that probably no one would know. He remembered the first of three thefts he suffered while on his way to school and the loss of what would have fed him a whole week. He remembered his first beating in school for opposing an idea he felt to his core was wrong. He remembered the sleeplessness often in hunger and thirst as he read for most exams. The frustration as he pursued that one girl he felt in the end would share with him his journey. The many times he felt inadequate considering many told him so. The tear gas he inhaled as he continuously went on strike against bad university policies. The robberies he suffered in the dead of night as he pursued a university education. The isolation he faced in his pursuit of happiness in a calling he believed his own, regardless of the well intentioned criticism and guidance to follow the predetermined path. The betrayal and insults from those he may have thought his own, he remembered the failures and failures…and failures he faced, many of his own making and yet he still went on and failed some more. The thoughts of worthlessness he faced as he stared in eyes of the beast named defeat. The discrimination he may have suffered because of stereotypes and appearances he did not ask to be defined by, the shame he felt for his physical state of being that he just could not change, he remembered the darkness in the chaos he exposed himself to. Inspire of all this, with a tear ebbing down his cheek all he could remember always thinking of despite his darkness, was what light the next day would bring….because he knew that it was in the eye of darkness and chaos that he found his ascension.
It was in the thefts that he found his resolve to study more than ever. It was in the beatings that he grew tougher and faced challenge head first. It was in his weariness that he found strength to walk further. It was in his sleep deprivation that he found a career. It was after being robbed that he found a deeper love for his life. It was in his frustration and rejection that he learned patience and self-worth. It was in his isolation that his passion burned even brighter. It was in betrayal that he expected less from strangers. It was in insults that he grew even thicker skin, and it was in failure and defeat that he found a greater truth to his struggle and with discrimination and shame that he learnt self-acceptance. He knew that life… at least his life, was not a straight road with a beginning and a defined end, far from that, he knew it was a road, but instead, it was one that had so many turns that he couldn’t tell the next one or even when it would come, turns and holes that at some point just beat you down with force so great, it takes true strength and faith to drive on. And so he welcomed and took the turns one at time regardless of the bumps and potholes it brought with it, instead deciding to face each pothole with honesty, courage, strength and faith in the Almighty…..he always knew this and never forgot it.
As he reminisced, the nurse walked in the hospital room and with a sad face, she knew Mr X’s journey was at an end but yet for some reason she couldn’t tell, in Mr.X’s eyes and smile she saw an expression that spoke a thousand words. Mr X was sure that if she knew what he knew, she would probably smile as well.
In his final hour, as he drifted off, Mr X had a dream and in this dream he walked up a mountain, and on the road he met a lion, a lion that grew ever larger as it loomed closer to him, growling and frightening everything and everyone in its path. In this lion Mr. X saw all he feared and all he had worked so hard to overcome, he knew he couldn’t outrun the lion as it was an ever present challenge to him because even if he outran the lion, it most assuredly would catch up to him. As the lion came even closer, Mr. X couldn’t help but acknowledge his fears, smile and open his arms wide in a warm embrace to hug the merciless lion, a lion that had caused so much pain, and anger, despair and suicide to countless others who wallowed in the thought that challenging this lion portrayed…yet…. as he hugged the lion…weirdly enough…it hugged him back and disappeared like a problem just solved for he knew the lion hated being ignored and thus only softened when taken head on. Mr X knew that it was in his challenges that he later found peace, in darkness, that he found light, and in Chaos that he found Order. And so, he continued his journey up the mountain meeting ferocious challenge after challenge and embracing each one of them just the same, till he stood at the top of the mountain at the end of his journey looking at the life he lived. And as he closed his eyes, with all his loved ones around him, he smiled and hoped, that we would each find a Mr X in each of our individual selves.
In the end, it was the heat that made the food sweeter.