The often difficult pathway to peace & harmony
19 September 2015
An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony
I was so absorbed in counting the dates in my notebook calendar that I had deaf ears when the lecturer calling my name.
Suddenly the lecture room was as quiet as grave. It was the quietness that caught my attention.
When I looked up, Mr Ume was glaring at me furiously. “Miss Rigeret, would you like to repeat my question?” he asked politely but displeased.
“Pardon me, sir!” I apologised. “I lost track half-way through.” I felt my ears go hot.
It was 1993 and I was at Holy Trinity Teachers College, Mt Hagen.
That day I had mixed emotions about attending morning lectures. During the study break I had spent some time with my boyfriend. I knew very well that it was wrong to elope but I did and now I knew I was pregnant but did not want to believe it.
So I was repeatedly counting the dates that morning when Mr Ume singled me out.
Getting pregnant as a college student was bad. Worst still I was in my second year of teacher training in a Catholic college. I had brought disgrace and regret upon myself. I would now have a child out of wedlock. The thought was killing me.
I was the pride of my family. They looked up to me with respect. The situation I had got myself into would be a slap in their face. How would they react to the news? Surely everyone would hate me for my carelessness. I had smashed my life.
After some sleepless nights on a wet pillow, I made up my mind to accept the fact. I told myself not to point fingers at anybody but to be prepared to face all the challenges. I obtained weekend leave and went to see my boyfriend.
To my relief he accepted the situation. We went together to see the college principal to seek withdrawal from my studies. The principal acknowledged my withdrawal and agreed that I could complete my teacher training the following year. I was blessed. My teaching career was secured.
My parents were very hurt when I broke the news of my pregnancy. It brought much shame upon my family. But God had blessed me with very loving and understanding parents. They forgave me and accepted that we must face the situation together. So, after I gave birth, they took care of my baby girl while I completed my teacher training.
My parents handed my daughter back to me after my graduation. I took my child and went to live with her father. Unfortunately, he had a surprise for us. He greeted us with his new wife. I got the shock of my life. He had cheated on me. I felt a spear pierce my heart and a lump in my throat.
What he had just done was something I will never forgive him for. He had put a neat black line across my name with the tag “used and discarded”.
Though educated, I am of no value when it comes to bride price, which is of paramount importance to the status of women in my society. He had just smashed my future. I felt like pushing a knife right into his heart.
But I moved on with my life and met the father of my second child. I told him about my first child, believing that the truth would set me free. He accepted the child and me. However, to my horror, he walked out of my life when I was four months pregnant. I was smashed up again. It was unbelievable.
My conscience kept condemning me. “Can’t you see that you’re not good enough! You are being used and dumped!” I slipped downhill to smoking, drinking and partying. I thought that these would give me peace. But I was wrong. They only confirmed my hopelessness and uselessness.
I hated the two men for the emotional and psychological stress I was going through. The thought of being cheated twice despite my honestly scratched a painful scar across my heart. Worse still, seeing the two men walking around happily with their current families just pissed me off.
I know that forgiveness is the pathway to a peaceful and harmonious life but I found it very hard to forgive and let go.
It took a lot of determination and courage to finally forgive myself and let go the grudges.
After the forgiveness, I received abundant blessings. I now do very well in my profession as a teacher. My two children have adapted to the challenges of being raised by a single parent. They have developed positive attitudes that are admired by all those around us.
My daughter is now in the same college where I did my teacher training and my son is studying in secondary school.
I learnt that only a forgiving heart can bring true happiness and harmony. I learnt that forgiveness unites a family, regardless of its type.
The pathway to harmony can be difficult but I finally found it because I was able to forgive and let go.
Very inspiring. You're a strong woman.
Posted by: Samantha D Kusari | 02 October 2015 at 05:43 PM
That wasn't you in Kundiawa with the radiant beautiful smile.
Bravo, bravo bravo... if it did hide these tragic sojourns in life, may the smile light up all of us with your sincerity, even though our meeting was in passing.
Posted by: Baka Bina | 23 September 2015 at 04:40 PM
Roslyn, it is with honesty, courage and total acceptance of oneself that one can truly be felt forgiven.
I thank God for my mum too, like you endured the sarcasms, criticisms, and angst when she had to raise my brother and I herself, although she never reached that far in her education,
She thrived with the help and support of my grandparents and her siblings and I can only say that women such as you, my mum, are the bravest of souls and courageous to withstand anything in Life! They are blessed.
Posted by: Bessielah David | 23 September 2015 at 04:27 PM
Inspiring story. I could relate to it.
Posted by: Hazel Kutkue | 23 September 2015 at 01:56 PM
Roslyn, Roslyn, Roslyn. You are an extremely strong character. You rose above the challenge, accepted some blame and focused on raising your children. I met you twice this year and among your colleagues, you were the happiest and smile filled person. Keep building on your strengths.
Posted by: Bomai D Witne | 21 September 2015 at 04:14 PM
Very inspiring Roslyn. Good to meet you too.
Posted by: Dominica Are | 21 September 2015 at 11:51 AM
Admire your courage, Roselyn. Thank you.
Posted by: Arnold Mundua | 20 September 2015 at 07:11 PM
Roslyn having met you was amazing, I really admire your outgoing personality.
You have a strong heart that gave you the power to endure and forgiveness is possible. This story is difficult to tell yet beautiful. You did it.
Posted by: Philip G Kaupa | 20 September 2015 at 11:17 AM
Roslyn, I find your story inspiring. I wish more people to have your honesty and courage.
Posted by: Fr Philip Gibbs | 19 September 2015 at 05:34 PM
I couldn't help but be moved by the honesty you showed in accepting your fate, admitting your weakness and moving on.
Sometimes children are better off with one committed parent than being shackled to a father who doesn't care. I say "father" because they are usually the ones to walk off into the sunset leaving the mother to battle and raise the children alone.
Keep your chin up Roslyn and as I always say"I would rather be alone than wish I was".
Posted by: Donna Harvey-Hall | 19 September 2015 at 10:30 AM
Roslyn, may your persistence and candour be an encouragement to many in your readership.
Posted by: Robin Lillicrapp | 19 September 2015 at 07:45 AM