Join the dots ....
Some of the simplest things make for the best relaxation methods in the world. I say this because just the other day I was looking for something to ease my frustration after what I can say was the most frustrating day of this past week. I tried playing solitaire but that didn’t work. I tried playing minefield, that didn’t work either. Not even music was soothing or calming my mind on this day. Then to add insult to injury, Tanesco decided to play their “cat & mouse” games with power, and as a result, we had no Internet in the office for a while. It was during this time that I decided to step away from my screens (phone and laptop), and decided to do something I rarely do during the day; read newspapers. I say this is rare because it’s either I read them early in the morning before 8am, or I read the online versions while in traffic or sometime around 1pm.
Anyway, while I was leafing through the papers I landed on something that took me back to my childhood, something I have not done in a long time, something that most would consider childish and timewasting due to its simplicity. That something is known as “Join the dotted lines”. I used to love this exercise when I was a kid and I guess I still do because as soon as I saw it in the newspaper, I got so excited that suddenly my frustrations fell off albeit temporarily. I slowly went through the motions of joining the dots until the “hidden” image came to light.
As much as the exercise is as simple as the name suggests, joining the dots requires concentration and focus in the sense that if you draw one line/curve wrong, the hidden image may not be as clear as it is should be. Secondly, you cannot miss out a dot and expect to get a clear picture either. Thirdly, unless the dots have specifically requested so, you cannot have the lines so close to each other because once again, the expected image becomes distorted. Fourthly, it is not always easy to tell clearly what the image is until you finish joining all the dots. This is especially so for the complex images. I remembered all these instructions while I was joining those dots.
It was while going through this very simple exercise that I got today’s profound message. Those dotted lines reminded me of our lives. Every single experience, good or bad, represents a dot. Every decision we make, good or bad, represents a dot. In short, everything we go through in life is a dot which when correctly joined to the next in sequence creates what becomes each person’s path to his or her destiny. The problem is, we as human beings are so impatient that we do not want to take the time to join the dots as they are supposed to be. We always want to take shortcuts and probably try reading the dots before we can join them, which in most cases will not give us the intended image (read destiny). Most of us miss out on some very important “dots” (steps in life) just because we wanted to rush joining the dots.
Actually, now that I think of this analogy it reminds me of an article I once wrote and said that unless it’s the story of “Jack and the beanstalk” every plant has to follow a specific process between the time it is planted and the time it matures. Similarly, this analogy can also be explained by a human life. Unless it is Bishop Deya’s miracle babies, every other child goes through the normal biological process of conception, foetus, newborn, toddler, teenage, young-adult, etc. For the sake of those who do not know, Bishop Deya is a Kenyan bishop who used to “pray” for “barren” women to conceive and “when they did”, their pregnancies were normally less than 9 months. I hope from my explanation you do realize that this guy was a sham.
Friends I said this before and I am saying this again today; everything in our lives happens for a reason, even that which is so painful to accept or understand. Every one of those “things” is a “dot” meant to be part of the bigger picture that makes our destiny. For example, you might meet someone today and think that you your paths will never cross again. Ten years down the line, your paths cross again and suddenly, you understand why you ever met this person. This has happened to me so many times that now I have learnt to take every single person who comes into my life seriously, even if I just meet them for five minutes.
Another example is the subjects we take in school – whether primary, secondary or college. For instance, I used to ask myself where in my life I would ever use algebra. It wasn’t until my kids brought home algebra homework that I found myself using it again. And wasn’t I glad I knew what to do! Besides this, I found myself using it in trying to explain a certain concept to one of my clients; I admit I felt very learned that day…. ☺ This taught me that everything you learn, be it in school or college, will have some use someday in your life; even if it is just once.
Like I said earlier, not everything that happens in our lives will make sense. Not everything will be easy to overcome or go through. Not every question will have an answer, just like not every day will be like the next. However, all these things put together make us who we are. They are like those dotted lines I described when I began this article. You can never really know what the final outcome is until you join them all together in the right sequence. As I conclude this article I would like every one of us to think about the dots that make up our lives. Yes it is true you could be going through a rough patch this moment. Don’t give up hope because that is just one dot among the many dots that make up the unfinished image that makes up your life’s destiny.
Remember, no matter what you are going through today, there will be a solution someday; it may not be today but eventually, when its time for that “dot” to be joined, that solution for this problem you are having today will be found. Someone once said that there are more questions in life than there are answers. Well, he could be right but you know what, when the time is right, every question eventually has an answer. It is all a matter of timing and a matter of having the right “dots” joined. Just like scientists looking for a vaccine, they keep mixing solutions and formulae in the lab until they get what they want. Similarly, Just because you do not have the solutions you are looking for today does not mean you will never have them. Keep trying and when it is time to join that “dot”, that solution will be derived.
In conclusion I say this; just like I said when I started, it is a simple yet relaxing exercise, but it is a perfect representation of what our lives are. Take time to connect the dots that make up your life’s destiny. Don’t do it in a rush, don’t miss out any dots and most importantly don’t give up before you connect all those dots.
Wishing you all a connected week.
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 13th October, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"