I grew up in a town that looked like it had long been forgotten by civilization. Structure had been given to the town by the volcanic mountain that resided almost one hundred miles into the forest. Through its seismic symphony the mountain had purged lava that flowed through the town leaving huge boulders that carved small hills with forestry bordering the town from its neighbors. To add to its charisma a small river started at the Westside of the town and flowed south in to the Atlantic ocean making it an ideal place for settlers from the western world. The most prominent structures that could be seen in the town where those built by the Germans after the First World War, for they left an unforgettable sense of ruggedness about their strength. The bumpy nature of the buildings held their infrastructure in place through almost sixty years of evolution until my time. As a boy with fervor for adventure and discovery I could say this place lacked nothing for what I needed.
My parents had migrated to this town from our home in London when I could barely say more than two words. By the time I was seven I had discovered that one of the best forms of entertainment in my life was cinema. I loved the places I visited with my imagination in the short two hour period that most of the films lasted. It gave me the impetus to explore the town with vigor and create as many different forms of entertainment as one could find with my friends. We were driven like men on a mission cast into a domicile of battle. We walked for hours on long forgotten railway tracks covered with a blanket of shrubs and obscured from the world by tall verges of wild shoots. The fragrance of the ocean made the adventure merrier as the sea breeze blew through the old forgotten factory sites that had produced all forms of timber in their time. As we journeyed through these darkened verges one could hear the waves banging vehemently on the rocks making us feel inspired to the task that lay before us. I felt alive and in a place I knew I was meant to be for a reason.
At ten the reason for my existence became even more desirable. I pondered about things and wondered why I needed to search for the impossible. I didn’t know what I was looking for and that made it even more interesting, the mystery behind not knowing why I was searching for the unknown fascinated me. In our quest my friends and I decided to bring the movies to life. We were fascinated by the violence on the screens. However I don’t think it was the fact that men were beating one another that did it for us, but the heroism that was depicted through struggle as one group of people fought another. Alongside the older boys in the school we divided the classes from the highest to the lowest into two factions. One group which I considered the bad side at the time consisted of tough looking kids who just happened to love their role while our group which looked like the weaker side was driven by a force of struggle. Our sides were chosen by our characters, I cannot tell you how we all knew were we belonged but I can tell you that in my group we each had some personal vulnerability that made us relate to one another. If I had to put a face behind this today I would say that we admired each other more from our vulnerability than from our strengths. Somehow knowing that we were the weaker side made us stronger as a team. Everyone expected us to lose and we did many times but the few combat missions we won made our losses seem like triumphs in their own right. We would go through two weeks without a victory and then on one afternoon out of nowhere when you looked around the hall, a long abandoned indoor tennis court where we demonstrated our prowess, you would see only few of our soldiers standing having slain the powerful enemy using the imaginary laws of the land.
At the time it never made any sense how I could love to lose most of the time in order for one victory to seem extraordinary. However today which is a far cry from my youth makes me understand why so much fascinated me about the battles we fought and the adventures we made. To enjoy life spiritually you must love suspense. Suspense is the anticipation of what would be, suspense is giving your will to the Lord to make things happen that you would never have imagined were possible. There is a sense of humility behind this suspense because you leave things to turn out the way they do by the will of the Lord. There is patience in this suspense as you live in hope that as you survive through each day, there would be that day that would make your dreams a reality. To enjoy the spiritual world we must learn to accept suspense as a key feature to our characteristics. It is through this suspense that I realized that the playful war I fought with my friends those many years ago in the confines of the coast of West Africa was not just a war in one’s youth but a spiritual pledge in my existence.