Smiles never change.
Though the colour of teeth may darken and wrinkles surface, yet smiles form exactly as they have from many years ago.
She smiled frenetically and though I could see more gum than teeth, her joy was contagious.
I call her Granny.
Granny is unique in many ways. An elderly lady with energy and enthusiasm of a healthy 40-year-old, she makes 82 look effortless. Her health still at its impeccable peak, Granny eats everything from whole grains, to fruits right down to cakes and ice cream. Completely ailment free, every day is a gift to her. You can be certain to see her looking her best with her sleeky red lips sitting on the couch all day. When I asked what her greatest life lessons were, this is what she said;
Focus- put everything you have into whatever you do. Concentrate on what you have and make the best out of what is available to you. There is something unique about you, your duty is to discover it and live up to your full potential. Live full, die empty. Success comes from a focused mind that isn’t easily swayed by doubt, failure and fear.
She smiled looking me into my eyes, she said, “Peace conquers everything and everyone.”
Have a peaceful heart. A peaceful heart is a powerful tool in winning any battle. Peace and love with everyone eliminates fear and creates unbelievable joy and favour. Be at peace with yourself and with one another to the best of your ability. Develop a thorough essence of peace that surpasses secret anger and hate towards anyone; an inward-outward flow of peace.
Smile often, smile at strangers, smile at everyone. When you smile, it touches the souls of people. People will genuinely go out of their way to help people who smile often. Smiling regularly opens many doors.
Make a lot of friends. Meet as many people as possible. Socialise and never isolate yourself from the world. But be choosy about the people you spend your time with. You eventually believe what they believe and start acting like them. Good friends are a gift and they will stand by you through the darkest hour. To have good friends, you need to be a good friend.
She has been nicknamed ‘Madam Social’ in her community.
Have Love and compassion for everyone irrespective of age, race and status. Genuine and healthy love for people will always come back to you in unbelievable ways.
Look for ways to help as many people as you can, it could be emotionally, financially, physically and even spiritually.
She grew up in a little town in Abakaliki, ridden with poverty and helpless aged people. But she could not stand seeing an older person carry a heavy load, while she walked around freely. Even though her friends made fun of her, she always helped anyway. She was blessed with numberless kind words from the people she helped.
Know what you want and then ask God for it. Trust and believe it’s possible, then step back and watch him work for you.
With a sudden hardness that covered her face, she said, this generation suffers from their unbelief and lack of faith in God. She spoke about God like a bride in love speaks of her husband. She beamed with joy at the marvellous things God has done in her life
Pray when you don’t understand, pray when you can’t explain, pray before anything. God answers all prayers of a sincere heart free of selfish intentions.
As a little girl, she had had the desire to live abroad. Coming from a poor family living in Abakaliki, there was no rational way of this dream ever happening. Yet she held on to her belief, trusting that something different could happen. After taking a drastic decision at a dire moment in her life, she went on her knees, asking God to remember her dream of living abroad. A week later she received a letter from a long time friend inviting her to come live in England. It was an awe-inspiring moment for her. She ran to her parish priest with the letter in her hand completely mesmerised at the miracle. With the help of her friend, all arrangements were made for her to travel abroad free of all the rigorous scrutiny that travelling involved at the time. At every checkpoint, she was asked to pass freely.
Trust your instincts. Listen to your guts. If you want to know how to act, listen to your conscience. You can tell when you are wrong, deep down at the core of it- you know when you are unfair, judgemental and wrong. Apologise always and hold no grudges.
Have faith, have mind-mumbling faith that something different can always happen. Seek counsel, make it a point of duty to ask questions.
On arriving England, she was told that Dublin, Ireland was the most favourable place to live at the time. She decided to move again this time with an addition of six people. But, the maximum number of immigrants allowed to cross borders into another country within Europe was restricted to three, at most four. After fasting and praying, she asked God for a smooth passage for herself and the other six people and asked him to take them to a friendly town that had a church and a post office. Just as she had requested, something miraculous happened and all seven of them were given access into Ireland. This came as a shock to all onlookers who had never seen a thing like that happen. A bus was assigned to take them to a hotel and after making enquires she decided that Tramore, a seaside town in Ireland was the best place for her. On getting there, a track loaded with blankets, food and provisions were brought to them courtesy of the kind-hearted people of Tramore. They were even given a house with seven rooms, a room assigned to each of them. Today, she has dual citizenship; she’s an Irish and a Nigerian.
Be humble, let humility serve as a lamp that guides everything that you do. Stay humble and simple in all your ways but have enough respect for yourself to avoid being treated like a doormat. Everyone you meet has something you can learn from. Let the only pride you have come from the understanding of the love of God in your life.
Socialize, meet lots of people and travel. See the world, treat everyone with respect. Respect the beliefs of people even if you do not agree with them. Never underestimate anyone; life turns out in mysterious ways.
Always look good. Looks are very important; people judge you based on how you look. Make it a duty to leave an impression. Be confident even if you have to fake it.
As she went on talking, I noticed how carefully her necklace sat around her neck. She had a fluffy wig and wore a well-tailored dress. She emitted an aura of confidence and when she smiled, her radiate reddened lips lit up the room.
Never be anxious about anything but in all things, put your hope and trust in God (she was very particular about having a relationship with God) anxiety comes from a need to fix everything just the way you would like it to be. And no matter what you do, that duty isn’t given to you.
A revengeful heart is full of sorrow. Release secret hate or anger held against anyone. Never keep malice irrespective of the situation.
For a long time, she had despised her father with every piece of her heart after he had forced her into an early torturous marriage with a man she deeply disliked. She had blamed him for her failed marriage and the misery that came with it. The day she decided to forgive him, she regained a huge part of her that had been lost to malice.
Be very careful who you choose to marry. That single decision has the power of determining most of your life. Pray for a suitable mate; never assume that it would just happen. Thrive to be a suitable partner yourself. Marriage is a bond
Her greatest regret in her life was her marriage. She had been forced into an early marriage as a young girl by her father. It was a marriage that had neither love nor communication and thus was filled with an unimaginable amount of emotional, mental and physical abuse. She had been subjected to trauma yet did not allow the pressure drown her spirit. After the death of her six-month baby girl, she called it quit and ran away for her life. She decided never to remarry again.
Do not sleep around. Have a healthy and respectable relationship with your body. Integrity and reputation are priceless, you would be surprise the accessibility of negative news.
Make a list, and then talk to God about it. Believe in miracles.
A year ago, she had been diagnosed with intense eye pressure that could make her go blind. In fact, it was an inherited disease, as her parents had lost their eyesight to this ordeal. She did what she knew how to do best. She went on her knees and asked for perfect eyesight to the day she dies, to walk without the aid of a walking stick and to eat whatever she wanted. Ongoing back for a check-up, her eyes were declared pressure free to the surprise of all the optometrists present. At such an advanced age, they had never seen anything like it.
She spoke of all the people who loved her with a certain level of assurance that baffled me.
Me: So you can say you have had a wonderful life.
Granny: I have enjoyed my life and every day I still live a full life. Appreciate the little things around you and be happy, always be happy.