‘I don’t do installations anymore,’ Alan tried to explain, using his choked version of the English language. ‘The doctor said that my heart is not well. I work too hard, he say, stress you know? And… I must learn to rest.’
‘What happened?’ I asked, trying my best not to stare at his emaciated frame.
‘I collapse. Too many years, too much stress, the heart just give up. I had so much work, I go to bed and still think about work. And now, because of this,’ he tapped his heart, ‘I cannot do work like last time.’
In a span of 2 months, Alan lost 18 kilos and his livelihood. He was my main go-to guy for all things electrical in my home. I saw him about three times a year, and quite honestly, it never dawned on me to inquire about his family and personal life. Knowing that he’d just completed work on my air-conditioning unit and lights… I felt guilty.
‘But you’re one of my best customers, we been together for so many years… so for you, I do,’ he smiled.
Crap. Now I felt lower than the scum that eats scum.
‘Hey, if you can’t, it’s okay. Really. Your health is more important!’ I assured him. Or was it myself?
‘No, no. I still must earn for my family. But I tell you so you know, in case your friends ask for help too. I do for you, but not for them. And I give you discount…’ he smiled.
I left my house and headed to the gym with Mother.
‘Wait…’ I said to her.
‘The cab’s already here…’ she replied.
‘Just give me a minute…’ I stopped walking and closed my eyes. I was searching for something… what was it?
Opening my eyes, I didn’t see the car park. Instead, I saw all I had in life. I knew at that moment… I was never going to bed again with the cares of the world, because they didn’t care if I rose the next day. Shaking my head, I wanted to laugh. It was absurd, being so consumed by my worries, when I had breath to live.
‘Hey…’ Mother called out a little worriedly.
‘I’m coming…’ I laughed, skipping over to the waiting cab.
‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.’
– Oscar Wilde
As I write this:
… my phone is filled with to-do alarms that reach the end of March
… my deadlines are drawing closer, encasing me with their demands
… my days are filled with meetings, sometimes, over lunch
… my nights are not mine completely, as I share them with others
And yet, I know, it is all still awesome.
‘For in Him I live, and move, and have my being…’
– Acts 17:28