Ever-Present Guidance

A week before Rupiah Sata left for the United States, she visited her dear friend Chanda in a final attempt to persuade her to apply for the American Visa Lottery. To appease the unrelenting Rupiah, Chanda promised to apply before the November 24th deadline. “I have no intention of leaving Zambia and my application will not even be selected, but if it makes you happy I will apply,” she said smiling.

A few months later Chanda, who had completely forgotten about her application, received a letter at work informing her that of the 13 million applications received by the U.S. Department of State, hers was among the 55,000 randomly chosen. She sat on the information for weeks and told no one about it, not even Rupiah. What would she do in America?  Her home, friends and family were all in Zambia. She enjoyed her job and was well compensated as a senior manager in a technology company in the hearth of the capital city, Lusaka. There was no reason to leave all this behind only to start afresh in a new country she knew very little about.

In quiet moments, she sometimes heard a subtle but clear voice within reminding her that her selection for the American visa was no accident. She ignored the voice as best she could for she was comfortable in Lusaka. For affirmation on her decision to remain in Lusaka, she confided in her father who to her surprise encouraged her to seek guidance prayerfully. “This is a big decision that should not be taken lightly, let us be guided by the wisdom of creation and not by our own short-sighted thinking,” he said lovingly. Chanda prayed for clarity for weeks and would sometimes hear that same subtle voice admonishing her to move to America but she needed more ‘proof’ that this was indeed the right move. “What if my inner voice is wrong, what if I am unable to get a good job there, what if…”  With her intellectual pondering and fears, she forgot her father’s advice.

Deep in sleep one night, she was awoken by loud shouts and cries. Armed robbers had gotten past security and broken into the house demanding money. They headed straight to the master bedroom with their guns and found Chanda hiding inside her closet. “Where is the man of the house, where is the money,” they shouted impatiently. Chanda, in shock, pointed to her jewelry case by the mirror and to her bag on the floor beside the bed. “Take the money, take everything,” she pleaded.  They grabbed all they could hurriedly and escaped as they heard distant sounds of police sirens. From that day onward, she could no longer sleep at night for more than a couple of hours. Her performance at work suffered due largely in part to her lack of sleep, anxiety and restlessness. Life in Lusaka very quickly became unbearable and she knew it was time to move to the United States.

In the United States, she reconnected with Rupiah and for the first time in weeks felt like herself again . After the traumatizing event of the robbery and the sleepless nights that followed, Chanda was ready for a new beginning and was prepared to face any challenge.  Her educational qualifications were not recognized in the U.S. so she, a senior manager at one of the premier companies in Zambia, had to go back to school while working as a cashier at a local grocery store in order to support herself. She was always interested in medicine and decided to use this opportunity to begin a new career. For nine years, she took on the rigors of medical school along with two part time jobs. Not once did she feel that her work at the grocery store was beneath her, not once did she reminisce of her days as a senior manager, not once did she complain. Her experience with the robbery gave her CONVICTION in the rightness of her new path. She persevered with the trust of a child confident of its parent’s protection and guidance. She would later go on to find her calling as a naturopathic doctor and unearth great medicinal benefits of plants that ameliorate effects of mental illnesses.

A deep reflection of past experiences will reveal the loving guidance which surrounds us even in the most challenging of times. The acknowledgment of this high guidance gives one the strength to persevere through any difficulty with victorious confidence.

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