Be That Friend.

A disclaimer here, I am not big on beauty pageants. So when the Miss Universe and Miss World Competitions rolled around I did not even know.

When Miss South Africa won I was a bit surprised, I thought”oh that’s nice” and I kept it moving.

Then I was even more surprised on Saturday when I read that Miss Jamaica had won the Miss World competition – was it even on the telly? But as a Jamaican I was happy for her, her family and everyone who was happy for her. I was happy because everyone was happy -there was a lot of happy going around, another black beauty queen. For real, mmmm.

But Miss Nigeria man…

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Now Miss Nigeria really got my attention. I mean she went all out with celebrating and she wasn’t the one with the crown! And I thought, “She is the mad friend I want”.

My aunt jokingly related that she thought Miss Nigeria had won because she seemed more excited than Miss Jamaica and when I saw it for myself I understood what she meant.

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I also thought, here is someone you would be happy to have in your corner. You just needed one of her to be your cheerleader. We all could use a friend like that, but also we all need to strive to be a friend like that.

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Be a friend who does not care about getting the applause or outshining those around her. A friend who is not afraid to big yuh up when she sees you need it. A friend who just needs you to just be you no matter what. A friend who celebrates with you, cries with you laughs and cuss every and anyone who tries to diss you. Be a friend who knows that when one of us wins, we all win.

It made me start to look at the kind of friend I have been so far and question how I can be better.

It doesn’t take much to show that you are genuine, just be a friend like Miss Nigeria. Be ready to go all out in your support if the occasion calls for it.

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Get Closer!

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11: 29

I have noticed that often times many persons who for whatever reason are placed together will claim that they are united. However, when you take a closer look you realise that this “closeness” is just pretend.

I have seen too many cases where persons will smile and support you publicly and then tear down privately. I think many of us need to look more at the idea of being yoked to each other, to make our burdens light.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light

Matthew 11:25-30

In the verses above, Jesus makes this call to all those who are weary and burdened, but do we try, in our own way, to lighten each others’ burden?

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In agriculture a yoke is a device used to link two or more animals together for greater strength when ploughing the land. There, we need to see ourselves as being yoked to each other, knowing that we succeed together because we support each other.

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At one point when I was younger I wanted to live on an island – it seems no one could be trusted and everyone was a great source of unhappiness. On my little island I would not have anyone to compare myself to and I could truly be free and most importantly I would have my own space -apparently having plenty space has always been an obsession of mine. however, as I could older I realized that my island would be lonely and that despite all the trouble they gave me, I would miss my family. I also realized that there some great people I would miss on my island. People who came and some left who helped me to make me better and just genuinely happy. I could frolic and play by myself, but eventually I would get bored just my own company.

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Now, this yoke business may seem extreme for someone who loves space and freedom but the yoke reminds us that in this world we cannot live only for ourselves. While a yoke can be attached to one animal the level of work that can be done depends on how many carry the work. It can also teach us how to be disciplined, that when things seem impossible instead of giving up we dig deeper for the reserve we have to get us through any situation. Further, a yoke may have two animals at different levels of maturity, enabling one to learn from the other. however the support provided by both is equally beneficial to the overall success of the enterprise. It is a concept we need to practice in order to fully support each other with the knowledge and expertise gained.

Though we have the support of God, we still need to be genuinely supportive of each other; to encourage each other to be strong and hopeful. It only takes a word or a small act to do so.