LOUD WHISPERS: What Are You Thankful For?

As I was thinking about what to write for Loud Whispers this week, I was determined that it would not be any ‘gripe writing’. There is so much negativity going around locally, nationally and internationally, that anxiety, anger and sadness has been normalized. It is difficult to summon up positive energy when all you hear is bad news. I am therefore going to list some things which make me happy and give me cause to be thankful. For once, I want to name some of my blessings other than gripe about all the gloom and doom. Maybe if we focus on the good things around us, they will become the norm in our lives as opposed to the regular diet of misery and despair that seems to have taken up permanent residence in our hearts and minds. Here are some of the things I am thankful for:

  1. I am in good health. If I follow the advice of my doctors, it will continue this way. It however means cutting down on carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products and so on. If you are over forty and reading this, don’t snigger. Take this for free, my medical advisory applies to you too! Good news is you can have vegetables and fruits in abundance.
  1. I dance. I have always loved to dance. At the risk of sounding immodest, I am a compendium of dance styles, especially from the days when my generation rocked. From Kung Fu fighting, to the Hustle, Bump, Electric Slide, you name it, I got it. I love dancing so much, it is about the only form of exercise I truly enjoy. I do dance aerobics every day. Since I love exercising to fast paced music, I have also mastered the steps of this generation, so I can do Azonto, Kukere, Shoki and Shakiti. I was at a private party recently in honour of a good friend. There were no phones or cameras allowed. For three hours, all the women put their worries on hold and just danced. A dancing competition was part of the fun, and I won, beating a much younger competitor hands down. My body ached no end the next day but it felt good!
  1. I have good friends. There are men and women who take great pride in saying, ‘I have no friends’. I am not one of them. Yes, I have had bad experiences with so-called friends in the past. Yet it is also important to recognize that they were never truly friends in the first place. I have friends who I know will always be there for me, who laugh with me, cry with me, pray for me and love me the way I am, and I love them in return. I don’t see most of them all the time because they are far away, but our spirits are connected. True friends will always stand by you. Fair weather friends will go away with the seasons.
  1. I am in a position to give. One day I complained to one of my aunts that the demands from all around me were too excessive. Every day I get requests for assistance from people. My wise aunt told me that I should thank God that I was alive to be asked. She is right. Even though I might not be able to respond to every request I get for financial support, an invitation to an event or help with employment, I am willing to do my best to help. The only way I can show gratitude to God for all that has been given to me is to help other people in whatever way I can.
  1. I have love. I am grateful for the love I have in my life. Falling in love as a young person and getting married to the one you love is a dream come true. Thirty years ago, a handsome young man with a sexy gap-tooth smiled at me in a library. Today he is still the love of my life.
  1. My son is amazing. A few months ago I flew into the city where he is based in the US from New York. I had two pieces of checked in luggage. By the time I got to the baggage area, my son had placed my two suitcases on the cart. How did you know they were mine ? I asked. He said, ’First, I know my mum always travels with large suitcases. Second, purple is part of her brand and there were only these two cases with purple luggage tags. All I needed to do was check the name to confirm I was right’. Smart, thoughtful and proactive! I even forgave him for pitching his tent with Bernie Sanders who had promised college students free tuition. I had jokingly threatened him that I would see to it that his fees were not paid, he should go and collect his tuition from the Bernie Sanders campaign. My son told his father to tell me that, ‘Mum needs to understand that intersectionality is more of a concern for young people today and not just gender’. So now the baby who sat on my laps years ago to listen to Angela Davies give a lecture on the intersections of Race, Gender and Class at a conference I co-organised in Paris, is now giving me a lecture on ‘Intersectionality’!
  1. I have had a very productive career. I did not drift into doing international development and women’s empowerment, that is all I had always wanted to do. I have been blessed with opportunities to create initiatives that have had an impact on literally thousands of lives. I have started and run successful organisations, designed innovative projects, raised a lot of funding, given away funding, facilitated the passing of  legislation, lifted  people from poverty, created leadership opportunities, provided employment, and so much more. I am very grateful for all the things I have been able to do using the various platforms I have been given at different stages of my life.
  1. My God never fails. I have a God who does not require me to be overly noisy about the way I worship him. I have a God who does not need me to announce to the world that I am fasting, or roll on the floor for the cameras to capture. The God I serve does not need me to pay spiritual merchants to pray on my behalf. My God has given me enough faith to believe in his promises and in his everlasting love and grace, which all come free of charge. The God I serve has taught me that obedience to his word, love, humility and generosity are the keys to divine favour. Thank you my God, for all the times you have fought for me and proven that only you are God.
  1. I laugh. I have a sense of humour and being the eternal optimist, I always try to see the bright or funny side of things. I often say that I have laughed more times than I have cried. How do I know this? It is very simple. I laugh every day, I do not cry every day.
  1. I know who I am.  I am not a saint. I am not without flaws and mistakes. Exposure to public life can place you in a precarious position, and thanks to social media, people who do not know you and will probably never meet you have opinions about you. I know I am hard- working, resilient, talented, kind and generous. I do not strive to be a perfect human being. I only want to be a decent human being, and I know I am, so for that I am thankful.

So these (and so much more I can’t mention) are the things I am thankful for. I have learnt that there is no point dwelling on anxieties, regrets, fear and loss. What are you thankful for? Take out a pen and sheet of paper, and write down your blessings. You will be surprised to see how much there is to be grateful for.

 

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

 

 

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8 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: What Are You Thankful For?

  1. Gloria Ogunbadejo July 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    ‘Count your blessings name them one one one’…you certainly have named them beautifully. Without even beginning to think of mine i could enjoy vicariously through yours.

    The dancing, the humour, friends, the yummy hubby, kids, family, career, health, God…Yaas! life is good

    I celebrate with you sis!

    Reply
  2. Olakunle Olajide July 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Seriously with all the negativity in the world right now, i also need to give thanks. Let me just pen down four.
    1. The gift of life: All i can say is thank God for the gift of life to be in good health and shape. The experience of a loved one i once witnessed in the hospital was so unbearable. Baba God i thank you.
    2. My elder siblings: Being the last born has been a blessing to me. Having three elder ones to care so much is so loving. They have been a source of joy to me and i pray it continues that way because i really look up to them most especially for their strengths.
    3. Friendship: I really have some great friends, from the spiritual ones to the football lovers. I thank God for having such great friends
    4. I am a source of encouragement: Just of recent, i met a mother of one of my ex-students. All she could render to me were prayers and my heart leaped with joy. I thank God for the grace to touch lives.
    That’s just to mention but a few, the negative vibes happening around can’t stop me from giving thanks. I remain humble and surprised by what my God has done. May God bless you ma’am for bringing this loud whisper.

    Reply
  3. Taiwo July 12, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Funny enough,just yesterday I was so pissed about a lot of things happening that I said I was not going to watch or listen to the news again. That didn’t happen thou because I still unconsciously opened my Channels mobile application this morning lol. Anyway you are so right Ma and I think that is just the best way to overcome all the negative feeling surrounding us. Lastly I also thank God for every single thing that makes me ‘ Me’.

    Reply
  4. Bamisebi toluwalope July 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Yeah…. Thanking God is always part of my life no matter what happens. If that’s the only prayer I say when I wake up is something big.
    Although lots has being happening around us but God has given us reasons to be grateful to him everyday.
    For the gift of life, lovely family, caring friends, favours, God’s grace, good nysc posting, nice ppa, goodnews everyday and lots more. Believe me, am a living testimony of God’s goodness and I just want to say Thank You Dansaki. My help in ages past and my hope for years to come. Thank you ma for your post.

    Reply
  5. Funmi Owolabi July 15, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Woah. Thank you so much Erelu Bisi Adeleye Fayemi.

    More of God’s wisdom

    I have being so inspired. Just before I came across this article via instagram, I was still regretting some of my past actions.

    My take from this article is that, even in one’s regret. There are still a whole bunch of things to be thankful for.

    Once again,
    Cheers ma.

    Reply
  6. Sola July 16, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    My sis…so much to count. The dance even made the list! Brought smiles to my face.

    Sharing on my facebook page.

    Thanks for refocusing me on the many blessings ma.

    Kodurosoke!

    Reply
  7. Priscilla Usiobaifo July 17, 2016 at 5:46 am

    I can so relate with points number 2, 3, 7 and 10.

    As a young woman growing up in such an era of appalling rates of violence against women, I can only resolve to let go of the mental baggage.

    Being an extrovert makes it easier. I share by pouring out my hearts to older mentoring confidants.

    Most importantly, I deliberately agree to be moved by Only The Word of God. I just cast the cares of the world away.

    Reply
  8. Fola Richie-Adewusi July 25, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks Erelu for refocusing our attention back to being grateful and thankful. In ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS is what the holy bible says.
    I give thanks to God for all that has being and will be.

    Glory to His name.

    Reply

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