I got to heaven’s gate yesterday weary and broken. I journeyed tirelessly in my mind but weak physically in my bones. The journey to heaven’s gate hadn’t been a smooth one. My best friend Idara told me she once tried but had an accident and couldn’t continue. My mother told me I am just a woman and need not embark on such a stressful journey. My father said it was only for the brave and I wasn’t courageous enough yet. In all of this, my mind was made up with the ultimate goal at hand.

I got to heaven’s gate yesterday, tired and sad; sad because the gate wasn’t what I expected. It was like the Great Wall of China; stretching left and right to distances beyond my sight. There I stood; confused on which way to go, not knowing who to ask for help for everyone seemed preoccupied with themselves.

Just as I turned to leave, dejected and unhappy, unwilling to come to terms with what loved ones had said, someone put his hand on my shoulder. “Mmayen, you are at heaven’s gate. The path you seek is yours to choose. Do what you must. Climb the gate if you must. Go left if you must. Go right if you must; for heaven’s gate is endless and the treasure you seek is behind heaven’s gate.

With his words, I found courage. Climb, I must.


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The first time I ever saw a Water Lily was in the hands of a classmate. We went on class excursion to a rice farm. ‘What’s that in your hand?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know. It’s a strange looking flower’. ‘Let me see’. As I walked towards him, he ripped the flower into bits. ‘Why did you do that?’ I yelled as little balls of tears rolled down my cheeks.  Almost immediately, our Agriculture teacher showed up and I told him what happened. He pointed at a pond not far away from where we stood. Behold my flower! There were so many!

Gently, I knelt as I reached out to stroke its leaves. I couldn’t help but wonder how it’s rooted in soil inside the water with floating leaves and flower undisturbed by the water. I carefully pulled one out and studied it.

The roots were a lot; some tiny and some big. The stem was slender and long, disconnecting the roots from the leaves and flowers. The flower though tough, smelled good! How could my classmate have thought of ripping this beauty apart! I certainly must take one home to show my mother! ‘Edima, let’s go to the bus, everyone is waiting for you’, Mr. Davidson said as he tapped my shoulder. ‘I see you like Water Lilies’, he added. Oh! So that’s what it’s called! I laughed so hard like never before.

I didn’t have what was needed to grow a Water Lily in my house so it withered but I had what it took to grow it in my heart.

As I sit back today and remember that day, I am determined.

If the Water Lily can survive in water surrounded by more water, we can survive whatever comes our way. Keep your head up just like the flowers and leaves of the Lily, unshaken by the activities in the water because its roots are firmly fixed.

Decide what you want for your life and stick to it. Let your goals and dreams keep you alive just like the roots. Develop a thick skin to people who want to pull you down this month; just like that boy who tried to make me unhappy by destroying my Lily but in the end I found laughter deep within my soul.

The French Impressionist, Claude Monet, had 250 oil paintings of a Water Lily. Water Lily is a source of fragrance for perfumes. I say, there must be something about this plant so, BE INSPIRED by the Water Lily.


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