I was enjoying a piece of mango fruit a couple of days ago when it suddenly occurred to me that I’d really missed the taste and satisfaction earlier. A step back in time would help explain.

I do not remember any strong affinity for mangoes as such, but I’ve found myself in places where they thrive in abundance and variety. So naturally I’ve helped myself to a lot of them, all varying in sizes, colors, and taste. And though they might not contest as being my favorite of fruits, I’ve had a great deal of gratification eating these fruits.

But suddenly it happened that I decided to stop eating mangoes. You would wonder what could stir up such a decision. It was really because of the spikes or hair around the seed that got stuck in my teeth one faithful day after eating a piece of mango fruit which caused me so much discomfort and frustration pulling all out. After hours of tooth picking and brushing, I had to finally sleep in frustration and anger at the mango fruit I ate. And then the decision never to eat another mango fruit again.

I actually did avoid the fruit, for a while. Its seasons came and passed and I shielded away any temptation that arose at the site of their varying colors, sizes and shapes. Just a little thought about the night I slept in anger and discomfort was enough to kill any hunger and attraction to the fruit. For compensation, I convinced myself that there were so many other fruits around to eat. So I held on stubbornly to my decision as if excepting an apology from nature for an ordeal that lasted just a few hours while forgetting the so many satisfying moments presented by the same fruit.

Not until long when it began dawning on me that maybe I was depriving myself of a free gift life offers, a little satisfaction from a creation of God, some nice healthy vitamins wrapped in every piece of the mango fruit. And then I began questioning my decision not to eat mangoes anymore and almost suddenly began to realize how indeed silly it was avoiding a fruit that I had enjoyed almost all my life just because it caused me some few hours of displeasure. Then I began thinking of going back to eating mangoes but hesitated every moment I remembered that night. Then I decided to get innovative. Instead of just dipping my teeth in a mango fruit, an act which resulted in the spikes getting hooked in my teeth, I took the counsel of my sister after sharing my fears to chop the fruit into sizeable pieces before eating. And surprisingly I ate about two pieces instantly without having to pick my teeth even once. And I felt really cheated out of life for the whole time I avoided mangoes. So that day, I decided to begin eating mangoes again, though with caution.

Recently at a conference I got to learn of so many health benefits of mangoes. I was really amazed and wondered if the word apple in the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” shouldn’t be replaced with mango. Do you know that mangoes do help prevent cancer? Mangoes contain a lot of vitamin A which is really good for the eyes. The high level of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help lower body cholesterol greatly and the fruit is great for building a stronger immune system. These are just but a few. I was absolutely impressed with the mango fruit. And since that day, I began eating mangoes with reckless abandon. I have since stuck out my teeth into every piece I could lay my hands on and savored the taste and nourishment at every given opportunity. I’ve had moments such as that dreadful night of course and have so far tried eating cautiously, but the satisfaction and added education about mangoes makes my first decision so insignificant.

I have not suddenly become a nutritionist, just in any case you are wondering. This whole ordeal got me really wondering how much we all miss out of life because of single or rare moments of anger, frustration, bitterness, etc. A lot of us have literally forgotten how to live because of hurt and disappointment suffered at one point or the other. We have silently made vows never to love like that again, not to trust again, not to be fooled into giving anymore. A lot of us have given up and decided that being a lone-ranger pays better. And unconsciously we have become selfish, find life less appealing and sometimes find ourselves wondering what purpose there is to life at all.

When God declared that it is not good for man to be alone, it wasn’t just about marriage. Man was created to be and live in community. His purpose and fulfillment very much involves those around him. And the moment for any reason he withdraws from life inward in any form of isolation, that moment he partly ceases to live.

Events and moments that really define life aren’t necessarily moments when we are given, moments when we are loved, moments when we received trust. What makes life really rich and fulfilling I argue are moments when we are on the giving end of things. These are moments when we give wholeheartedly, moments when we love selflessly, moments when we make an impact on a life, moments when we trust. The cruelty of a fallen may make such moments not last forever, but they really are worth living for.

I’d add that caution really ought to be taken however. I do not play down the need to be wise and cautious when dealing with people. We have heard stories and even been victims of abuse and maltreatment as a result of our generosities. I only tend to put forward that we let ourselves get cheated out of a fulfilling life when we let this momentary occurrences define and shape our lives and existence.

So I humbly encourage and seek to inspire you to really live today. Let your feet loose to dance. Let your heart loose to love like it really wishes to love. Let not a letdown or a discouraging lip keep your dreams from coming alive and soaring. Let generosity spill out of you. For in so doing, we do not just exist, we live.

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