A candle

There are some things that your Professor would never tell you in a Psychology Class.

I had the privilege of being taught, listened to and challenged by one Gentleman, Professor Munywoki at USIU-Africa. He used to come to class with a bottle of Diet Coke and would take a seat among us as he gave his lecture.He always said that we were classmates or colleagues once he walked into class. He listened to our views, challenged our perceptions and pushed us into going beyond our worldview and most of us loved his classes.

However, my final year on campus was met with a number of challenges the greatest being my inability to find an internship placement before the semester commenced. I was frustrated. I felt like I couldn’t get an exit strategy into the real world and the organization that I yearned to intern for had already selected their candidates.

I opted for a Project.

When I went to submit my project, he asked me to sit down in his office and he said that he had something to share with me. I was having a rough week and insisted that I sit down and listen to him. He said “I am impressed with your intelligence and how well you look into a matter, but there is something about your attention to detail that will slowly burn you out, if you choose to practice.”

I was offended. I had submitted a very good project paper and he was saying that I was going to burn out! How dare he! I was young, naive and believed that I could conquer  world, besides, I had education from The United States International University-Africa, and it’d take me places, what was he telling me?

A week before my graduation he asked me “Okeyo, do you remember the conversation we had?”

I said “Yes, Sir,” because…how could I forget?

He added “The tragedy of having such a big heart is being consumed by the need to save everyone. If you can listen to just one, then you shall have saved quite a number.One day you’ll remember this!”

But, years later, sessions later…and interventions later, I am glad that he was honest enough to point it out to me. I am more proud of this Wise man who saw something that I couldn’t. See, you cannot help but empathize with someone who is in a dilemma. It’s worse when you find yourself interacting with teens and children and right now there’s quite a number who abuse drugs and believe that liquor and smoking weed is the ultimate crown…it pains when you have to confront a child and the parent weeps because she/he cannot understand where she/he went wrong and how to solve the matter instantly.

Patience is not an easy option for someone who is troubled.

These words came to me when for the first time a parent simply called to say that their child took away his life and they did not see it coming. Truth is, I did not see it coming…and when I was being crushed by the burden of my own pain, I found reassurance in my Professor’s advice.

The parent called again. We talked for a while and in between she said “I don’t know what to do, but if there was one thing that I would say we did right was that we found someone like you who could listen and understand him.”

It is almost eleven, that’s an hour to midnight and I am learning that sometimes…the candle that shines brightly can grow dim until it finally dies down.

 


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