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Ibukun Ajayi: Push Through the Pain for the Glory Ahead

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At some point or the other you’ve probably heard the expression, “No story, no glory” – or some variation of it. You probably did not understand what it meant or even the depth of it. I was one of those who didn’t really understand the depth of what the phrase – even though at that time in my life, God had started writing the story part of the phrase.

As a diagnosed sickle cell patient, my childhood was a roller coaster of hospital appointments and hospital admissions. I was in and out of the hospital, as regularly as most women visit the hair salon. These hospital visits were no jolly ride.

I would miss school and have to make up for exams and test while my peers were on holiday. I was smaller in size and I couldn’t play sports or participate in most of the games other kids my age played.  At the time I thought it couldn’t get worse than it was, at that point. I look back now and laugh; little did I know that the worst was yet to come.  At age 16, I developed a leg ulcer on the right side of my ankle on my right leg. A few months after, another ulcer opened up on the left side of my ankle on the same right leg.

When you Google Leg Ulcers, the websites say it usually last for about four to six weeks.That statistic can give a person hope, right? You begin to count the days and pray the websites are right, I mean they must know what they’re talking about after all they are on Google. Well, I counted and counted and four weeks turned to four months and four months turned to four years and four years turned to eight years!

Those eight years were the most trying years of my life.  I went through excruciating pain; I faced ridicule, I was laughed at, made fun off, written off by most people. I cried rivers of tears, I smelled like a walking corpse, I was bedridden, I crawled like a child, I limped, I hopped, I used crutches, I was in a wheelchair. I was on pain killers like an addict, I had countless blood transfusions, I had countless hospital visits, I was on dozens of antibiotics and other medications. I tried every form of treatment available – medical and herbal. I fell into depression and I was suicidal.

For those eight years, I had only one prayer point wherever I went: I asked God to heal me. I begged God to heal me. I cried to God to heal me. I screamed at God to heal me. I was broken, beaten, wounded, disgraced, and struck down. I remember walking into a cyber café in school once and everyone ran out and then someone said “what is smelling like a dead body here” I quietly walked out; I went back to my room, called my mum and cried my guts out. I was literally at level zero. I remember my mum was always saying to me then “one day, you will share the story of your life with others and it will lift spirits and bring encouragement.”  I never truly believed her, but deep down I hoped she was right.  I had always been a fighter and the little fight I had left in me helped me and kept me through four years in the university amidst everything I was going through and family members pressuring me to differ and stay home.

Most of the time when I was going through my trials, I was angry! I was always asking God “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “Where did I go wrong?” “Why are you punishing me?” And I’m sure these are the same questions some of you are asking God at the moment, because it seems like your life is over. You can’t imagine a better time because it seems like all you’ve ever known is pain, suffering and hardship. I can confidently tell you that it is all for a reason. Only now do I see that what I went through was a training, pruning and preparation process for the time ahead. The pain was essential to help me appreciate the glory when the time came.

There’s no great person, living or dead, that doesn’t have a story to tell and they are usually stories of strife and struggle. There’s never been anyone who has achieved anything phenomenal that didn’t face some form of hardship or didn’t fail a couple of times on their way to success. Before their success, some of the world’s most successful people experienced epic failure. We celebrate their success, but often overlook the path that got them there – a path that is often marked with failure and a lot of low points.  His name is synonymous with intelligence yet it wasn’t always that way for Albert Einstein. As a child he didn’t start speaking until he was four, reading until he was seven, and was thought to be mentally handicapped. He went on to win a Nobel Prize and altered the world’s approach to physics.

My eight years wilderness journey taught me a lot! I learnt perseverance, I learnt sympathy, I learnt kindness, I learnt love, I learnt patience, I learnt forgiveness and I learnt management. Without my life experiences, I would have nothing to write about and no story to tell. I would not be the woman I am today or have the little successes I have without my story. I would just be a number in the crowd – one random person who has had everything going for her. My story makes me stand out, my story makes me different, my story makes me unique, my story gives me an edge and, most importantly, my story is a testimony.

The story behind a person’s success is usually the driving force for others to forge ahead and hold on to their hopes and dreams. Whatever it is you’re going through now is just the story someone somewhere will need to hear in the future to keep them from pulling the plug on life. The lessons you are picking up from your present experience is what someone out there will pay heavily to learn from you in the nearest future. The story of your triumph might just be what will take you around the world and open doors for you.

The impact your story will have, will make it all worth it in the end. So I urge you to hold on, don’t give up. You are closer to the finish line than you think. In your low moments, reflect and try to learn every lesson your experience is trying to teach you. Try to keep your drive and determination alive. Your story is being written and the end will be more glorious than you could ever imagine and always remember only fascinating stories make front page news!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Ibukunoluwa Imabong-abasi Ajayi is a Content Developer, Writer, Model, and Motivational speaker. She studied Business Administration at the University of Lagos but has always loved writing. A lover of movies, music, and great conversations. Follow her on Instagram @theimabong and She can be reached for talks and commentary at [email protected]"

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