I have a very photographic memory. I remember dates, places, time & names. The date was October 5, 1998. The location was my campus at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The time was around 1am. The name of the chain-smoker was Donald.

I was heading to another hostel on campus that had 24hrs of uninterrupted internet as I needed to complete a school assignment. I was heading there on my orange Mongoose mountain bicycle. Oh, how I miss that mountain bicycle. Heading downhill at high speed along the path that will end at the hostel, a road crossed paths with the bike trail. I was just 100meters to the hostel and then something happened.

All I remember was waking up in an ambulance. Apparently I had collided with the side curb on the road while trying to cross the road at high speed with my bike. Outside the building of my destination hostel was Donald. Donald was out to take in his hourly dose of 1 cigarette. Donald could smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day. He witnessed the entire accident unfold before him and quickly called 911. I was told the ambulance got there in less than 5 minutes.

It was while enroute to the hospital that I was revived back to consciousness. A broken wrist and a ghastly cut on my left temple were the evidence I needed to show for missing the test that happened in class the day after. I was eventually discharged from the hospital about 24hrs later even though it took me almost 24 months to pay the bill.

Upon being discharged I eventually sought out my chain-smoking saviour, Donald. We became friends. We became good friends. I eventually would discover that he enjoys biking as much as I did and trust me, I enjoyed biking. I enjoyed biking so much that the next day after my being discharged, I rode the same crashed bike to class with a pop cast on my right hand. Afterall, a monkey falling down from a tree does not mean he should stop climbing trees. I don’t even know if that last proverb makes sense in all situations but all I know is that me and my bike were inseparable.

As much as I hated (& still hate) smoking, it was poetic that my life was saved by a chain-smoker who called 911 to my rescue.

As I mediated on my goals for 2022 some days ago, I was reminded of that very day in 1998. I felt the strong notion in my heart that the great things that will be achieved by me through God in the years to come will not be possible if I only choose to relate with people that have my exact value systems. There will be situations in the coming months that will require me being helped by a chain-smoker or someone whom I would not normally choose to interact with. More importantly I felt as though God was telling me that he could & would use ANYBODY to help me on the journey ahead. Muslims, chain-smokers, atheists, corrupt officials, mentally ill people…..He would use ANYBODY to help and/or save me incase I hit a side curb on this road called life.

As much as I may not approve of the person’s behavior or smoking habits, I renewed my commitment to be compassionate and kind and open-minded regarding the people and the situations I will meet in 2022 & beyond. My admonition to you is to join me in this commitment and you may be eventually surprised how God will use even a suicidal person to let you know how much you mean to God and the earth.

I celebrate you as you forgive me in arrears for now asking you for my Christmas and new year gift. Even if it’s 2022 diary you can gift my destiny, or 50 litre keg of Zobo, I would be eternally grateful. But please don’t send me a pack of cigarettes o as I’m not sure what I’ll be using it for. But on second thoughts, I love chain-smokers because……

Have a glorious 2022.