I always thought that I would die young.
When I was about 7, I was part of a little play group. One day one of the girls in our group died. I remember her burial. We wore matching dresses with pretty hairstyles. And we sang a song for her which we had practiced.
Later, when I just finished grade 7, my second best friend died in a car crash in transit from Zimbabwe to Zambia. I remember I was lying in my bedroom in the dark, writhing from period pains. My mum walked in and flooded the room with the light from the corridor. She told me what happened, and a different pain set in as I cried.
Oddly enough as I write this, today marks 6 years since someone very dear to me died in my adult years.
It seemed like the spirit of death was always lurking near me, therefore, my little mind concluded that I would die young. I gave myself tops 15 years to live. At 15 it became 25.
Then I hit my 30s and I realised, “Wait a minute I am still here. Why?”
That existential question of what is my purpose.
I guess, I decided to start doing something meaningful with my life and not be in stasis waiting for the inevitable which wasn’t coming. For some reason God still wanted me hear.
A lot of people ask me, “Chulu, how do you find your purpose”
Honestly, I think it was never lost, or somewhere out there. It is who you are, a state of being. The core of your humanity that has never left you.
It’s just that some find the words to articulate their purpose much sooner than others, so we think we missed that lesson where all the exam questions were taught.
Truth is your purpose is
the thing you do effortlessly,
that thing you do without a second thought.
the thing that you could do for hours on end and still feel energised
Your purpose is the confluence of peace, love and joy, circulating in unison
Instead of asking, What is my purpose? Ask better questions.
What do I do with grace and ease?
What do people usually ask me about or give me compliments for?
What do I do repeatedly regardless of the circumstance or the environment?
That will give you a head start to being able to formulate words around this seemingly fleeting thing called purpose.
Even if you don’t find the words, that is okay because remember your purpose is already within you. Let spirit guide you to where you are meant to serve.
Over the last decade I found the words to articulate my purpose. I also realised that over my whole life it has served different types of people, in different environments with different mediums of delivery but at the core, the purpose remained the same.
The other day, I asked God to guide me on my next steps. He led me to a group that I have been part of for a while but just never been active in. I posted an introduction which sparked so many conversations. We even decided to create a sub group. A few days later at the Africana Woman Book Club party in Lusaka I told them about how I used to think I would die young, which made me remember my little best friend who had died. Today, one of the ladies from the sub group sent me a direct message. She said:
I just remembered how I know you, it was bugging me til it clicked lol we were friends in Ndola when we were like 5, 6 or 7, you probably can't remember lol
I remember us playing with your baby sister at your mom's house and us singing at a funeral for our friend Fina, that's a million years ago lol random memories that just popped into my head
I burst out crying. Like sobbing.
In that moment I could hear God tell me, “She Lived,”
So I cried for little Chulu, who thought she was the reason people died because they got too close to her. Instead she kept everyone at arms length, never letting them in lest they meet their demise. I cried for the little girl who pressed pause on her life for two decades as she waited to be taken to the next life. I sobbed for the little girl with so much unprocessed grief and loss. I weeped for the little girl who existed like a ticking bomb.
That’s not to say I will live forever. Death is inevitable.
What I know now is that with every breath of life that fills my lungs comes the responsibility to make my life count.
There is so much to live for.
So many to be present for.
I believe God orchestrated this reunion to invite me to open a long forgotten door and fully LIVE.
Photo by Jolezya Adeyemo at Ntumbachushi Waterfalls
Chulu is the Founder of Africana Woman. She is a Wellness Entrepreneur, Mentor and Award Winning Podcaster. Find her on Instagram @Chulu_byDesign
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