Beware, The Barrenness of a Busy Life!

What’s a short life? How does it look like?

You see, last week, back in my village, we buried a very focused young man. He was my personal friend, very hard working and purposed to make a difference, not only in his life and family, but also to everyone he met.

Today, after a successful New Year celebration, I woke up to yet sad news of the death of another young man, Alex, again, a friend from my village. He is one expression of what working hard means. 
I met Alex earlier last year as I was moving up and down in preparation for my wedding. We had a good chat and I concluded he was an asset; the kind of minds we need to, at least, reduce poverty levels, if not eradicate it completely. He had established a business in Kisii town and done a number of investments.

Yesterday, after the guests we’d hosted for New Year Celebrations left, my wife and I decided to watch a movie; it’s one of the things we love doing when we need to relax.

“I’m Not Ashamed” was our selection. Released in 21st October, 2016, I’m Not Ashamed is a biographical drama film inspired by the journals of Rachel Scott, the very first victim of Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

It’s important to note that at the point of her murder, Rachel was only 17. The question is, what achievement had a 17 year old had that could necessitate film makers do her a story? What could make her the subject of at least 5 books? How did the clouded TV get her attention? 

At the climax of the film, Rachel is a simple, common student at the Columbine High School. But, in this normal life, going about her obvious school life, she was highly compassionate to everyone around. She even went a mile further to mend ways with them that hated her. She always wanted to foster peace and love.

It’s the last scene of “I’m Not Ashamed” that greatly sent my heart racing. After her demise, many students came around Rachel’s car, now left at the school’s parking lot, to pay their last respect. Each with a rose, they broke into tears citing how she helped them overcome fears, how she helped them find a better meaning of life, and how much the love Rachel showed them meant. They pained she was no more.

After the 112 minutes of the film were over, neither my wife nor I spoke, at least for 10 minutes. We seemed to wander in thoughts. I wondered, was this life cut short? Did Rachel achieve her dream of transforming the world with compassion? Didn’t she need more years?

Remember, this isn’t just a fiction film; it’s based on real life occurrence. A 17 year old, full of energy and passion, shot four times and all her life plan abruptly brought to a dead end, while doing what she loved most – inspiring a downcast friend.

My two friends from the village seem to replicate Rachel’s story.

These guys had real dreams of adding value to the society, and they seemed to nail it. 

But they are no more.

Alex met his death on first January evening, full of health. An accident robed us an asset.

I’m sure they had thoughts for 2018, just like many of us. But they are cut short. 

But these guys, just like Rachel, have left very heavy memories in the hearts of many. 

So, did they live a short life? Was Rachel’s life short?

That I leave to your conclusion. But in the words of Benjamin Franklin, I’d say, “Many people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”

Perhaps, we need to ask ourselves, “How many lives have I positively impacted?”

From Rachel Scott’s movie, I learnt one lesson: The only thing we need to impact this world is ourselves; not money, not age, not power. In our day to day life, we are presented with opportunities to show love and make our world a better place. But we fail, often.

We’re so self-centered. We wake up thinking of ourselves: What shall I eat. Can I move to a better house? I need a plot. This year I need a car. I need to read more of my Bible! 

Do you have a single though for others? Your Parents? Friends? The needy? In your 2018 goals, is there a plan to pay someone’s school fees or forgive that guy who messed you sometime back? Guys, any love for other people? 

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life!” – Socrates.

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