A True Life Story

My friend Tolu could have lived longer if only he knew that it was okay to be weak too...

Tolu was a concentrated choleric by nature; my friend was a goal-getter, a disciplinarian, and the brightest person I know. My friend knew how to “never give up on a thing,” but here he was, lying still and cold in this beautifully decorated coffin. I stared at him, but he would not stare back or call me like he used to.

The most hard-working person I know, no one and nothing could stand in his way, but my best friend had a major weakness, I said. My head dropped as if taking some time to take it all in as I stood giving my farewell speech. “He didn’t know how to be weak,” “He was such a great man,” I heard someone say behind my back. The person seemed to be sitting three seats behind me. “He wasn’t a great man,” I blurted. I turned to stare in the direction I heard the voice come from. “A human being who doesn’t understand that the strength of man will fail will have himself to be the most foolish and weakest man of the century.”

Tears had welled up in my eyes now; I held the mic on my left arm as I pulled out my handkerchief to wipe my tears. I tried to tell my friend to slow down, take breaks, and pray, but he had pushed himself so hard that he didn’t know how to slow himself down and live a little; I continued. “My friend was not tough; he just didn’t understand how fragile man is; he didn’t understand it was alright to feel weak, tired, and want to take a break sometimes. He didn’t know it was okay to be dependent on God. He didn’t know that he couldn’t really go anywhere by being just determined; he didn’t know that there is a strength that comes from knowing God.” He didn’t.

I squatted this time; my knees were beginning to quake. My eyes burned as hot tears streamed down my face. “It is my fault; I should have insisted he took breaks, I…I should have gone on trips with him; I… should have emphasized a little more than he should pray with me. I should have told him that tough people know how to ask for help when they need help, pray, draw strength from God, and rest in God while they work, so they are not exhausted.” Every statement came with heavy sobs that made my entire body quake. “I wasn’t a good friend; I am sorry, Tolu,” I said before straightening up and handing over the mic.

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