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Bangs and Clouds of Smoke: Don’t take life too seriously


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Bangs and Clouds of Smoke: Don’t take life too seriously

cheerful elderly woman looking away

Don’t take life too seriously, learn to laugh at yourself sometimes.

In a world that is spiraling out of control in multiple directions all at the same time, I do not think there is anything wiser for anyone to learn right now than the above statement. And I will share my thoughts about it.

The fact is that seasons come and seasons go, dispensations come and dispensations go, time, however, is the master scale of judgment that shows each one of us what the true effects of our seasons and dispensations on earth are. And what that means is this, the full weight of our life’s decisions and choices are not always opened to our eyes within the time frames of when those decisions and choices were made. And what that tells me is that, as humans, we cannot live life as if there are no consequences for our choices and actions, especially when things won’t remain the same after a while. And I say with all humility that, it seems the world we have now is so steeped in selfish and self-centered desires and unchecked passions that most people no longer understand or are not aware of what life really is about. The rat race in fast cars and microwave lifestyles seems to be so blinding to the eyes of many that it has even become a thing of self-pride and a sense of achievement for people to sit on their high horses of careers and professions without an iota of care for the person next door.

I was watching the inauguration of the new president of Kenya, Dr William Ruto, and the various life’s lessons that could be pulled from all of the events of that day leapt out at me. I watched when, the now former President Uhuru Kenyatta, handed the instruments of power to the newly elected president Ruto and then saw how in that split minute, the aide-de-camp that came with the former President Uhuru Kenyatta, moved instantly from behind him, saluted him one last time and took his position behind his new boss, President William Ruto. It may not make much story to some people, but for me, that was a game-changer lesson on how the end of a dispensation – or what we hold dear – can just happen within no time. Just like that, the former president stopped being the commander-in-chief of the Kenyan armed forces and the new president took over that role.

I also watched how the Navy did a twenty-gun salute for their new commander-in-chief and the huge cloud of white smoke that engulfed them when they did. That particular act of the gun salute reminded me of something I had witnessed several times while growing up in a locality in Nigeria.

As a young boy growing up in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, we were usually treated to these “gun-shot” salutes during the funerals of prominent persons or chiefs of communities. I really don’t know what they used for the shots, but if my memory serves me right, I think it’s something like metal pipes dug into the earth and gunpowder and fire. Something like that. The last one I witnessed should be about thirty years ago or thereabout. The interesting thing is that the very same effect you find in the Navy gun salute is also what you find in this local gun salute at funerals: the loud earth-shaking bangs and the huge clouds of white smoke. But the difference is that, that of the Navy is for the change of guard and the other one at a funeral is for the final announcement of the departure of a life. But both have the same thing in common, that is, seasons come and seasons go, irrespective of who or what we are.

Bangs and smoke

Both scenarios I shared above can be viewed as two questions about our lives, that is, will our lives create bangs of memories in the hearts of those who were affected positively by our choices and decisions or will our lives just be a cloud of smoke, dissipated by the passing wind? Think about it.

life is now neon signage
Photo by Elina Fairytale on

Don’t take life too seriously

Now, by me saying don’t take life too seriously, I am not saying do not be serious about the things you do, the career you chose to follow or the relationships you have built. Not at all. I am just saying that, too many times we are not able to allow ourselves to evolve from one season in our lives to another simply because we are very emotionally tied to yesterday and the glories of the past. We beat ourselves up too much over our supposed failures and the fact that all we set out to do have not been achieved yet. The fact is that, whether we like to accept it or not, our lives are not always in our hands, even though our choices and decisions have great impacts on how our lives turn out eventually. And what I mean by that is this, in as much as many in this new age think that we are just humans or some kind of evolved animals and that our lives have no connection to higher thoughts or power or divinity, the truth is really different. We are definitely extensions of a Higher Power and our divinity is deep within us and is connected to that Higher Power. And what that also means is that there is a “Hand” that steers the vehicle of our lives whether we understand it or not. So, it’s really not always about us, what we feel or don’t feel, how we think life should turn out or not turn out, but much more about the divine plan around which we now build our life’s choices and decisions. To understand this is to come to the place of not taking life too seriously, for life really is a divinely scripted story and one in which each one of us have been given a role to play.

A bang or a cloud of smoke?

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There are lots of things to say about this thought of a bang or smoke analogy, but I will just leave things in their most simple and short ways.

Our lives are crafted in such a way that, none of us is an island unto themselves. Meaning that the consequence of what each and every one of us does or doesn’t do, doesn’t always live with us alone, but affects everyone else. And to give you a recent example of how our lives will either give a bang effect or smoke effect or even both, let me use the case of the late Queen of England. Her death instantly meant there were going to be global reactions and from several sides of the divide. So, in as much as many want to speak great of her life and achievements, the truth remains that, her life and achievements are nothing but some people’s nightmare. She was a bang in the heart of some, but a huge cloud of smoke of futility to others. You just cannot take away the fact that what she did or did not do in her lifetime and while seated on the throne of Britain, affected the lives of more than a million people killed in the civil war in Nigeria. You cannot wish away that the deaths of members of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau) happened when she was on the throne and that her “empire” was responsible for their deaths. It’s not something you just wish away, you cannot. Yes, there are those who are of the opinion that Afrikans should just forgive and let go of the past, using the Bible as a reference. That’s a noble idea. But the Bible speaks of forgiveness when someone is repentant and asks for forgiveness. So has the British “empire” or the monarch who sat on the throne ever made any apology for the atrocities committed in Afrika or have they taken responsibility? None that I am aware of. And this is not me speaking evil of the dead, but me saying that the living should live knowing that seasons come and seasons go and only what we do or do not do, will we be remembered for.

Laugh at yourself

It sounds like a joke that I am saying you should laugh at yourself and also stop taking yourself too seriously. But I have never seen any situation that I was in, in real life, in which I laughed at myself and then remained in the mood or emotion linked to the situation. None. Meaning it really works and you should try it for yourself. But the bulk of all I am saying is this, life does play jokes on us sometimes and it’s just ok that we know when and how to laugh and let life finish its round of jokes. There is so much to live for while there is also so much to ignore and walk away from.

And remember this, our lives are more divine and deeper than we know or care to acknowledge and thus we must be very intentional with them. So live life knowing that seasons come and seasons go. But most importantly, learn to laugh at yourself when in tight corners, pick yourself up when life makes you slip and also do unto others what you want them to do unto you.

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