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10th Anniversary of Naba Martin Adongo Abilba III

What happens when life happens?
Sometimes life just happens

What happens when life happens?

Have you ever thought of how an able-bodied man will come to terms with living with a disability for the rest of his life just because of an accident?

A newlywed couple go on their honeymoon. Out of excitement, one slips and dies right away. What happens when life happens?
Sometimes, life just happens. Sometimes, misfortune befalls us not because of any ill we have done but it’s just life happening. Some circumstances come our way not because we did something wrong. It is just because of our genetic makeup. Sometimes, extremely bad things happen to extremely good people. That’s just the way life is.

Just imagine waking up one morning with the ugly news from your doctor that you’ve breast cancer. Imagine one phone call that can shut your life for life; both parents of yours passed on in a fatal accident. Imagine walking into your home one day only to meet divorce papers staring at you.

Oftentimes, things that happen to us are the effects of some causes. At other times, however, it is just life happening. They are circumstances beyond our control and we’d have to live with such for the remaining part of our lives. Sometimes, life happens… and it happens really bad!

When life happens, it happens when we least expect it to. We are caught unawares. These are circumstances we never imagined could ever happen to us. These are situations we used to wonder how others could live with and before we knew, we realised those ‘others’ were not any different from us. What happens when life happens to us?

Life is unpredictable. Good things can sometimes happen to bad people while bad things happen to the good ones. Much as we try to explain, not every single thing that will ever happen to us will make sense. Some good students can fail their examination. Some good businessmen can take some bad decisions that will forever crash them. That is life. Just unpredictable.

The multimillion dollar question, however, is: “How do we contain the unpredictability when it happens?” When the storms of life try to sink our boats, how do we stay hopeful? What happens when life deals with you so cruelly? What happens when life happens?

What happens when robbers storm your home, killing your family in the process? What happens when your sweetheart passes on because of someone’s negligence? What happens when someone you have lived to trust, jilts you for another woman? Learn to forgive yourself. Learn to forgive life.

We have grown up always sniffing around for someone to blame for everything that happens. As kids, anytime there was something wrong at home, someone had to own up to it. It had to be someone’s fault.

Even as adults, we are always trying to find someone or something to attribute our misfortunes and failures to. Unfortunately, when we find no one to hand over the blame to, we keep it to ourselves. We own it and make such our property.

We need to know that life happens sometimes and when it does, we must not take the blame even when it looks like we were the cause. Even if we do take responsibility, we need to forgive ourselves and move on. We need to let go every shade of blame and start life afresh.

“If I had been a little more careful, my baby would still be in my arms,” you will think. “Only if I had picked my husband’s call that afternoon, I could have saved his life,” you would cry. You see, until we forgive ourselves, life’s memories will keep haunting us. Our lives are going to be a slave to pain forever until we learn to forgive ourselves.

Forgiveness is like a therapy. Sometimes, that’s all we need. Self-forgiveness is sometimes the only key to our door of happiness. No matter how hard it may seem, we need to look ourselves in the mirror and say to the image on the other side, “I forgive you.”
Sometimes, it’s that image in our mirror that needs forgiveness. If we have been able to forgive others in times past, we need to forgive it, too.

Forgive yourself and forgive life, too. Regardless of whoever played a role in the misfortune, we need to know that no matter how long we imprison those culprits in our hearts, our joy won’t be restored. Unforgiveness is that illusion that makes us feel at peace― but only for a short while.

We do ourselves a great favour when we forgive life because it brings us that lasting joy we need. If you lost your job courtesy another man’s carelessness, let him go. No one gets any better when the space in their heart has been exhausted by revenge and unforgiveness.
When life happens, forgive yourself and forgive life. Smile at the storms. Put your trust in Christ and move on. Everything will be alright.

The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (

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