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This Wonderful Life!

My dear Jil, I will be failing in my duty as your mentor if I do not present an accurate and complete picture of life to you. The very nature of life can get lost in the crack of discussions about love and marriage. Such discussions naturally evoke imageries of romanticism, beauty, love and harmony. And yet all those are contextualised within a frame called life.

Here’s the thing about life: Life is tough! Man is born unto trouble. Only the strong survive. You must be strong. You must survive. You cannot afford to be weak. You cannot afford to give up. You cannot afford to turn back.

At some point you will go off into marriage. When you’re in marriage, you assume responsibilities. And there are many layers of responsibility in marriage. In marriage you assume responsibility for your partner, for prudent management of resources, for the children, for the household… If you can’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of your household? Marriage is dutifulness. In marriage the man must be a man and the woman must be a woman. And that is a statement worth meditating upon.

There’s the assumption you’re able to stand on your own in marriage, and that you can take care of others. You can’t run back home after marriage or keep running to your dad every time you face a challenge in life. You have to grow up, become mature. If you’re not emotionally mature you will become an emotional burden in marriage. You will be too sensitive, cry at every opportunity, break down at every challenge… That your classmates are already getting married tells you you’re already of marriageable age. But whence your emotional maturity? I reiterate to you that life is tough. Life is not a catwalk. Only the tough survive. You have to confront life. You can’t stay in the shelter of your parents forever.

At some point you have to assume full responsibility for your life. You can’t assume your dad will always be there. He too has a host of burden. He has his business, has staff, so many dependents… There are so many people looking up to him for leadership and provision. He sent you to all those wonderful schools, remember. Wasn’t easy. He made enormous sacrifices to potentiate you for your future. There are people who didn’t have your advantage, don’t have your opportunities in life. Opportunities are always relative. You can’t want to be sheltered throughout life. At some point you’ve to take responsibility for your feeding, clothing, housing and mobility. You have to take responsibility for your promotion at work too. And you have to take spiritual responsibility for yourself. That means you learn to pray to God yourself about whatever issues and challenges you face in life, not run to your dad. He too is praying to God. You have to learn to exercise faith for living. And you have to learn to handle the challenges thrown at you at work. When you marry you have to combine those challenges with family obligations. That’s life!

There will always be tests in life. And sometimes we fail and life gives us a resit. Sometimes no resit, we repeat the class. Life is not like all those liberal education policies that insist on promoting a child to the next class despite poor performance. Life considers that atrocious. There are tests in life. Some start the exams earlier than most. They struggle for basic necessities like food and shelter as kids. We don’t know why some have it tougher than others. Such pontification, it turns out is a mere academic exercise, and it is unwelcome by the person going through life’s difficulties. What we do know is that these challenges toughen us for the next challenge life throws at us. That’s all we can know. There are still challenges ahead.

As you grow older, you’ll see a pattern of your life emerge. The geography of your life will show certain periods of tests and certain periods of rest. When you get to say fifty, you will have the luxury of looking back and seeing what decade of your life was toughest. Life gives some that privilege. Some have it tough in their twenties, some in their thirties and some in their forties. Trials are episodic. Only we can’t predict how long each episode will last. Sometimes they go for a season. There were periods in my life for example when the trials were so strong, when challenges seemed insurmountable. Talk of refinement by furnace. And I started very early in life. Very, very early. The more you attain in life the bigger the challenges. Challenges are scalable.

Life’s challenges are custom-made. Don’t ever say you want the life of another person. You only see the glamorous highlights, not the trials. It’s why envy is futile, even foolish. There’s no great life without trial. Trial precedes greatness. Only that history majorly highlights the glory not the trial. No one arrives at the future without passing through valleys and overflowing rivers. That’s the topography of life.

Be careful about half stories. Many successful people tell half stories because there are things they’d rather forget. But you need the full story to draw healthy and wholesome inspiration. To hear some stories of success one would think the subject jumped from the womb, leaped over time and landed in the future. That is a myth being perpetrated. And so when we imbibe such stories, and the challenges of life confront our aspiration, we’re nonplussed and don’t know what to do. It’s unexpected.  That is the danger of half stories about success. Get the full story. Know the challenges faced. See the grace dispensed by Providence. Then you can draw inspiration and situational applicative principles.

Whatever happens, keep going. Don’t give up. Unknown to you there’s a subterranean bridge into your future being constructed with the materials of your life. Keep going. The degree of your trial portends the radiance of your glory. All glory is custom-made, all trials are custom-fitted. This is the life we have. Nothing takes place outside that life. The life is the experience, the experience is the life. And so appreciate the challenges you have now. There’s no other life for you. This is the script of your life. You must avoid feeling sorry for yourself. It creates a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Rise up to the challenge.

There are different types of trial. For some it’s a health challenge, for some it’s finance, for some it’s conception, for some it’s means, for some it’s opportunity, for some it’s life partner… The list is long. Trials are not calibrated according to human goodness. Difficult things, very difficult things happen to good people. The innocent suffer. Good people suffer. We can philosophise on why this is so, but that will take us deep into the realm of religion. It’s the only place we’ll find answers.

And sometimes it’s not a fire but inferno – when it seems that the gates of hell have been thrown wide, and Apollyon and unnameable demons have been let loose on our circumstances. If you want to know what others are going through, go to a prayer meeting. You may end up being ashamed of YOUR prayer points.

It will pass. Trials are periodic. Take courage. Remember, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Life will sap away your strength if you do. You become life’s casualty. There are trials in life but we don’t give up, we hang on, we draw strength. Everyone has his own burden to bear. Life insists we must all be camels. But then there are the wonderful highlights of life too. The joy of meeting someone wonderful, the thrill of being in love, meeting the right person who ticks all our boxes… There’s the indescribable joy of meeting someone you don’t ever want to part with, someone who’s your soul mate, who cares deeply about you, is heaven-sent… Someone you know genuinely cares about you, who takes you on as a life project, a thing to be nurtured and cared for… Not just your friend but your lover, your partner, your companion… the one who gives you joy and peace… When you have such a person, you know you can lick any trial. He or she will stand by you and together you will overcome. That makes life worth living, that makes life worth experiencing!

I wish you a very good man!

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder

For related letters, search for Inadequacy, What Do You Want To Do With Your Life, Heart Intelligence at

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Tags : Attraction, Choosing, Spouse

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