A few days ago, YouTube's algorithm suggested Burna Boy's music video for the song Common Person. While watching it, I noticed that almost every scene filled my heart with nostalgia and joy. You see, more than half of my life so far was spent on Bonny Island, an hour or so from Port Harcourt, where I think the music video was shot.
However, there was this scene that meant more to me. Not only did this scene bring nostalgic joys but it was also screaming to me: "David, see how far we've come. David, see how far we've come!" That was the scene of an entire family of 6 or 7 sharing a single room. Siblings were lying on mattresses on the floor and some curtains to give some form of privacy. That was a picture of my family for most of my life.
This reminder to look back and count how far we've come as a family could not have come at a more appropriate time - especially regarding our housing situation. You see, my parents just moved into their new house, and for the first time in their lives, they are no longer tenants. And not only that, they are now going to be ones collecting rent as landlord and landlady. It wasn't that I had forgotten where we came from - I don't think I ever will. However, I really needed to see that video in this season so my gratitude would go beyond the past 6 to 24 months.
I have been observing something, that there can be a temptation to be recency-biased when it comes to the things we are grateful for. When you come through a challenging situation and get some breakthroughs, it's easy to just focus most of ones gratitude on only the recent challenging situation you came through, but I think this can limit our gratitude. Not that we shouldn't be grateful for recent events (I am personally celebrating 6-months of God's “hwɛ so pa”) but we need to expand it beyond our recent pains, we've come come a long way. No short or long-sighted kind of gratitude, but 20/20 gratitude. My friend Jo recently shared a version of this phenomenon in her notes on Leah and Judah.
This new space for my parents, was one of two things I was trusting God for last year. In fact I was so sure of having both of them that at the beginning of last year that I shared a testimony with a small group at church about it. But as God would have it, I ended the year without any. And now, that this one has come to pass, there is the temptation to limit my praise and gratitude for just the past few months. However, that video helped me overcome that shortsightedness and truly consider and see how far we've come. From a family of 6 sharing a single room, to now owning two homes (my sister and parents) and me renting a third that is the kind of place my younger self (and my family) could only dream of living in some years ago.
See! David, see!