Blowing Out Candles

Recently, a conversation I once had with my dad has been coming to mind. I can’t remember the context of the conversation but I vividly remember an experience he shared.

I’ll share a little background to shed perspective on this story he told.

I’ve always wondered about the inevitability and what could be described as the simplicity of death. I mean, alive one second and dead the next.

A person having a thousand unchecked boxes on their 5-year plan, having a child to raise… unexpectedly, so unexpectedly passing away…It makes life seem to trivial

I’m presently reading Francis Chan’s book ‘Crazy Love’ and there’s a chapter titled ‘You might not finish this chapter’. I’m yet to find a more jarring realisation. The fact that we might never get to drive that car we’re purchasing, or use the ticket we just bought or taste that wonderful dish we’re preparing, or use the degree we’re working hard for, or taste the last bit of that yogurt.

We might never get to year 3 of our 5-year plan, or the end of the sentence we’re typing or saying… how jarring is this?!

My intention isn’t to scare us. I just want to point out a very stark part of being human. So much in our control, but so much more out of our control.

So back to the experience my dad shared.

My dad is a paediatrician and he was working in a relatively large hospital and as usual, tens of children were delivered daily. Many were born healthy but there was the odd complicated birth where special attention was needed. Still, the successful births outnumbered the others.

He went on to tell me of a particular night he doubted he would ever be able to forget. As usual, lots of babies were born but something wasn’t quite right that night.

Baby after baby was born with complications, so much so that the hospital got overwhelmed with staff running helter skelter

Then it began and in my dad’s words, ‘it was almost like someone was blowing out candles’.

One after the other, the babies began to die and the medical staff were all helpless to do anything. It felt like they were chasing cheetahs or pressing against a magnanimous rock.

All their efforts felt like a drop in the Atlantic.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine the helplessness in the face of death? This has nothing to do with the competency of the doctors or medical personnel. That’s not in question. Instead, it’s just the uncertainty we live with daily.

Still, this doesn’t mean we should live in fear but I reckon we need to live with this realization for many reasons.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – and there’s a lot of that!

In a choice between working hard and not… choose to work hard and meet your goals because you don’t have forever

Help others because you don’t have forever and neither do they. Light as many candles as you can because you don’t know when yours will go out.

In Francis Chan’s book, he writes about how as humans, the ‘movie of life’ isn’t about us. At most, we are ‘extras’ in this movie. Think about that. Just like a vapour or blowing out a candle, it could be the end. Again, not to sound scary or foreboding but it is reality, isn’t it?

©Ọrẹolúwa Matẹ̀milọ́lá 2020 All Rights Reserved


5 thoughts on “Blowing Out Candles

  1. I recently watched a Kobe Bryant interview that he did 9 days before he died. He was talking about the future and the big plans he had for his sports academy and his daughters. Very sad.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s