Who is that friend who knows you very well?
The message came in at 1:30am. Most messages from family, friends and colleagues at that time on wards to 5am are usually difficult ones. In the past (when I was still young and selfish of course) I would put off my phone to avoid interruptions. One day I heard nearby curfew at a neighbour. Being on a village watch WhatsApp group, I called our neighbour and informed them of the noise outside their gate. All their known phone numbers were off. I could not get out of my house. I tried all means possible to get in touch in vain. That was about 2:30am.
I shared the concern on the WhatsApp group and by the time local Police intervened, it was all done. The criminals had climbed over the wall after having covered the perimeter fence barbed wire with a thick Blanket. Entered inside and stole the TV and fridge and other nearby valuables. In the morning, our neighbour saw my missed calls. And then my first post on WhatsApp group. Had he kept his phones on, the criminals would have probably been prevented. But as they say, anyone can be brilliant after the fact. Whatever it is, keeping your phone on at night is the right thing to do for yourself, family or your friends and neighbours.
The 1:30 am message came with bad news of the passing of a colleague’s mother. As they say ‘Children belong to their mothers.’ Every child has a deep and fond memory of their mothers regardless of the time shared together. I had visited the patient at Mengo Hospital. She had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the brain. It is a tough truth to accept. But slowly, the truth settles in firmly and then you all understand the realities of life. My friend, being the last born of the mother, was never himself. That has been his state until I received the early morning dreaded message.
And November being a month of praying for the souls of the faithful departed, I could not miss the requiem mass. It is here that the friendship rest came to the fore. Who are your real friends? Which person can stand before your casket and tell your story as if you were yourself? With clear nostalgia of the bygone years, the ups and downs of life. All life’s experiences and the things you enjoyed most?
It is a fact: we are all on the journey. Which people are we moving closely with whom we can call genuine friends. Being in the Church full with over 200 people gave me a clear realisation that life is not about enjoying alone. It is more about doing good. Having genuine friends in the journey. Supporting one another to move at the same space. As they say, if you want to go far, go with others. And if you want to go fast, go alone. But when you arrive at your destination, what next? Who will be there to support you and enjoy the spoils of the journey.
Sitting in the Church, listening to the eulogies from friends and family, brings vivid realisation that life is about the quality of impact you make on people around you. Laying alone in the casket. Motionless. Locked in up. It gives the realisation of our mortality. The journeys of our lives will surely come to an end. And the people we walked our journeys with will be there to speak when we are unable. What will they talk about you? How many will come to witness your last good byes?
As you walk your journey, may God give you a heart to do good. To join social causes. And to share the blessings of your hands for the better of humanity. May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.