Life is short, so learn to focus on what really matters
Mo and Phindi write a weekly column “For Better or For Worse” for Weekend Post with a focus on relationships, love and marriage. This week they turn to Sfiso Ncwane’s death and its impact on the family
We initially ignored the Facebook updates announcing Sfiso Ncwane’s sudden death on Monday afternoon.
We did so not only because of the general phoniness of social media, but also because it was so surreal. We were with him exactly seven days before at the Crown Gospel Awards.
We spoke with him and his gorgeous wife, Ayanda. We ended our conversation with a promise to see them at their Johannesburg home this past Tuesday, after a TV shoot we were involved in. He looked his usual self to us. While at their home as promised on Tuesday, we were overwhelmed by the emotional atmosphere.
Although we had later verified the social media updates as the matter made headlines on all news agencies, seeing Ayanda so helpless and hopeless sealed the deal for us.
Seeing cabinet ministers, celebrity musicians and actors coming in and out of their home with sad faces was the final confirmation to us.
Death had separated our friends in the most unfathomable way. Sfiso had left Ayanda by herself.
While trying to compose herself but with tears streaming down her face, she attempted to narrate the whole story to us.
At the hospital, after she had made the doctor repeat three times the unbelievable news of her 37-year-old husband’s passing, she ordered everyone out of the ward.
“I sat with him for four hours uninterrupted. There’s nothing I didn’t do. I prayed. I asked him questions with expectations of answers. I talked to him as though he was alive, but he didn’t talk back.”
Ayanda’s entire life was literally wrapped around Sfiso. She was his business manager. They had a number of community development projects they undertook together.
Her husband literally meant the world to her. They have two little boys. She kept repeating: “We had big plans together. But we kept postponing because life gets so busy sometimes that a year so quickly goes by.”
And that is one of the fundamental facts of life. It passes by so quickly.
And one of the deceitful things about it is that it all seems very long and by the time you realise it’s short, you’ve lived most of it. And at the time you’re supposed to be enjoying the quality of life and counting your blessings, you’re generally left with a life of regret.
It has always occurred to us how fragile our lives really are. Think about how at any moment the sky could engulf us, or the earth swallow us unannounced.
Think of all the intricate ways our physical bodies can betray us, the accidents and the atrocities, the missteps and the misunderstandings.
We sometimes think we’ve got it all together and under control, and thus live like we’re in absolute control of our individual lives. We generally do this without regard to the possibility that it can all be gone in a snap of a finger.
Death ought to always remind us of the fragility of life and how important it is to prioritise that which is important about life above everything else.
That, to us, is love and family. Being quick to forgive and seek forgiveness in order to live peacefully with one another. Life is too short to hold grudges and keep score of faults.
Let grace flow freely in your relationship. Fight for each other, but never fight against each other.
Every minute together is a gift, so treasure it. Don’t prioritise your hobby, career, possessions or even religion at the expense of your relationship.
Deliberately create and jealously guard the time you spend together.
Never take yourselves too seriously, but don’t take your commitments too lightly either. Live life with conviction and purpose, but make plenty of room for fun. If you have dreams, don’t keep putting them off until “someday” – it just may never come.
Develop routines not just for your relationship, but for the kids as well – it gives them a sense of security.
You only have this one chance of being together. Therefore, treat each other with love and respect and focus your collective energy on what really matters – the attraction that birthed the love you share as a couple, and the unquenchable legacy of family.