A Road Without Obstacles is not Worth Traveling

By: Shelley Seale
Getty Images / © richard drury

Yesterday I was handed the best letter I have ever received.

I was at St. Monica’s Home for Girls for the first time. Earlier in the day, I had met Sarah, a 17-year-old junior in high school who has been living at St. Monica’s since fourth grade. Extremely intelligent, with a vocabulary and life philosophy well beyond her years, Sarah discussed the Kenyan school system, as well as her desire to go to university and become a lawyer.


Sarah also revealed that she loves to write. I told her that I am a writer by profession—and that just like her, I used to write all throughout my childhood and school years. We chatted for a few minutes about writing.

A few hours later, as everyone was grouped together watching the movie Happy Feet, I felt something being pressed into my hand. It was a well-folded note, passed from Sarah on to me. I opened it and read:

You have inspired me by hearing that you also love writing just as I do. I hope to learn more from you and also talk a couple of times before you leave. Thank you for offering to come and spend your time with us. God bless you and I love you and appreciate your coming.

I felt surprised, but also touched and honored, that in those few minutes I had somehow inspired Sarah in some small way. I asked her if she would like to write to me, inviting her to contribute to my stories about St. Monica’s. She seemed eager to do so—to have her words read by others, her voice heard. We agreed that she would do some writing about her life, and share with me the next day

I was blown away by the three pages of pure, distilled life that Sarah handed me when I returned the following day. And with that, I end my words and give you Sarah’s. And I tell you—you will not believe the writer of them is only 17 years old.

St. Monica’s has been an epic journey for me since I got a chance to be there. It was not a tragic mistake in any way. It was just God’s plan so that I could fulfill the dream He had in mind when I was born.

At first, I used to view this orphanage life as a punishment from God. I always felt isolated whenever I went to school where only one or two are orphans. Life to me was a real tragedy; I could see life with no useful meaning or value. I always saw myself as a discouragement to those who wished to be my heroes. Communicating to people was also a hell gate to knowing people, according to me.

But the MFFO volunteers add to us joy and happiness and lay a bright ray of hope for us each time we get a chance to see them. They give us the motive of acting and leaping fearlessly, despite all the struggles and tangles of life.

We have as well gone through a few challenges, leaving us to learn that disappointments will come and will always be there in life since a road without obstacles is not worth traveling. The road to the prize is much more precious than the prize itself.

I have personally learned how to view life differently, especially in an optimistic way, and seeing every chance as an opportunity to welcome changes in my life. This is because the biggest room in the world is the room to keep changing.

Some of us view life as something unfair to live. To me life is a cash register; in that, every account, every thought, and every deed—like every sale—is registered and recorded. We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it.

I’m always very glad for anyone who lends a helping hand to people like orphans. It may seem to be a burden to many, but a wonderful thing to some. We should always help the less advantaged in this life because their lives hold more to them than what you might think.

St. Monica’s has really moved my life up to where I am right now. I can now stand before millions of people and shout to the whole world that despite all that I faced when I was young, I can as well make a big difference to many people who may feel like outcasts in this life. I came to learn that we need not be satisfied with what we have since we were born to change our lives to be stars. We were all born to be heroes since we are all intelligent, blessed, special, and unique.

Those who bring laughter to others cannot keep it from themselves. Let us all help others laugh at troubles because laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.