Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Follow your heart?Really?

emilymphotography.wordpress.com


I remember a friend once told me that the Lord had spoken to her about her husband. He had specifically told her who he was and she was supposed to be at alert and ready, or so.
Another friend also told me at some time that the Lord had told her the names of her husband. She mentioned his first middle and last names. She must have got it in a revelation or dream, or so.

 I used to get confused about hearing from God. How do you hear? The audible ‘still small’ voice? The impression in your heart? A word from another person who may serve as a channel? A specific bible verse?
I believe God is not limited in his dealings with his children. He can decide to speak to you in any way form or manner, the problem is usually our fluttering hearts.

But what has me thinking now are the ‘voices’ we hear. How do we know for sure what we have heard is from God and not some random musings and thoughts in our anxious hearts?

 Imagine all the issues you have to face everyday. Your career, family, marriage, children, cars, accommodation, relations, in laws, colleagues, health, church, facebook J to mention a few. All these have thoughts, imaginations, plans and ideas running through your head at breakneck speed, falling over themselves to get your attention.

Your mind then becomes a mesh of jumbled feelings in the continual process of sorting and prioritizing, if not left unsorted and unattended to.
 So how? How you can be sure what you have heard from God did not actually arise from anxieties in one of these areas?

Concerning matters of the heart, we counsel people to ‘Follow your heart’. This is tricky. Very tricky. How can you follow your heart when it is besieged on all sides and under continuous stress from matters both within and beyond your control? Does an anxious, oversensitive, maybe even confused, scared and uncertain heart have the ability to lead you? Really?

The bible says the heart of man is desperately wicked. Now try that on for size. Can a less than perfect heart lead you right 100% of the time? But I have a good heart, you may say. I’m just a simple, nice cool headed fellow trying to get through life.

 But think of the times when you felt you acted out of form? You spoke a demeaning word to someone, maybe a friend, sibling or employee. Overreacted to something you could have overlooked? And then you felt guilty afterwards? Where did that come from? Your heart, isn’t it?

What am I saying here? We cannot trust our own hearts. When it comes to hearing from God, taking decisions and living the God kinda life, God is our best and only fool proof option.
After I have obeyed and done all I have to do, I will stand by the word of God. If all fails, I have an anchor that will never give way.

Both my friends are married today but not to the men they thought God had spoken to them about. What happened? I daresay they heard their own hearts speak.Contrary to what you might think, they were not immature Christians at the time of their seeming revelation, but their hearts got in the way.

It’s easy to say follow your heart and look at issues through rose coloured glasses but we know that tough choices have to be made, the outcome of which is pivotal to the quality of life we live.

As long as we are in this body, there will always be opportunities to be misguided and misled by our ‘good intentions’.

See Phillipians 2:5a

May the Lord help us to rise above them.

S&H,

Roy

Monday, November 29, 2010

I've been thinking.....

Hi people,

Can you believe it? The year is almost over. Yikes!

I’ve been thinking about how my year went and seriously I can’t say I’m totally happy with how I handled it all. I mean there were things I kept procrastinating and never did. Sometimes I feel like kicking myself.
Do you ever feel that way? That you’re not giving your best? To yourself and to God? I do.

One thing I continually do though, even when I feel less than my best is to latch on to God’s Grace. It not only gives me strength to be focused and make amends, he covers my shortcomings. He practically stretches himself over them and I’m good to go.

It’s totally amazing. And at those times, I feel like David when he practically shot himself in the foot condemning the rich man in Prophet Nathan’s cute little story. Yeah, I know, I haven’t killed anybody. Seriously, I haven’t. Neither I have taken anybody’s husband (I’m sure you know this is true, lol) but no sin is small sin o. Whether it’s failing to act when God prompts you or murder, like David committed, all join!
 But just like David, I’m on my face before the Almighty and the blood speaks!

Well, I’ve decided I’m changing my spots. Oh yes I am. So I’ll offload those retellings in my heart, even if I lose my sleep! (oops, that’ll be hard) or work my fingers to the bone. And I’ll definitely stop procrastinating! So help me God!

BTW,

I’ve been thinking of something. It’s been on my mind for about two years now, and it’s this, Should Christianity be equated to mediocrity? I guess not! So why do I hear a lot of naysayers when the issue of quality Christian media is raised.

Someone once argued with me when I said we could have an exclusively Christian broadcasting station in Nigeria. The arguments?  No content. ..No funding....It’ll lack committed followership, and so on... and I marvel.

Recently we started a Raves and Reels page on the magazine I write for, where we review inspiring Christian movies. A friend told me it was going to be a tall order getting quality movies. I tried, got a few, all foreign!

Maybe I have my head in the clouds, or down in the hot sand but I believe it can be done. We can have an Exclusively Christian TV/Radio station (not channel! nothing wrong with it but...) in Nigeria with 24/7, high end, unrivalled quality. 
What are the odds?

This Gospel can feed us o, for real, and it has to be preached. So, taking it into homes, engaging minds and inspiring souls sounds like a great modus operandi, don’t you think?

I seriously hope!

P.S.  Thanks to everyone following me here. You guys are the best. Looked up and it was thirty! Woah! I’m celebrating God in your lives today, Just said a prayer for you.

Stumbled on this amazing blog, I seriously think you should check out
http://temiville.wordpress.com

Well, I’m in December mood already and things are looking up.
Have fun y’all!

Roy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cram all your problems in a box, sit on it and laugh!

Imagine this. You wake up in the morning and can’t iron your clothes ‘cos ‘Nepa’ has gone nuts again then you rush out to work only to discover you forgot your laptop at home. Its midday and you want to draw some money so you head to the bank, you’re a little happy now ‘cos you got a ride there. You get to the ATM and start rummaging through your bag for your card then you realize you carried the wrong bag! :(

Seriously, little issues like these can make you want to gnash your teeth or wring somebody’s neck. I’m learning to take things in my stride and like I recently read somewhere, ‘learn to cram all your problems in a box, sit on it and laugh your heart out!’ :)

Anyway, something happened to me a while back that made me take this message seriously.

I had to ensure that the food column for a magazine was done right from the recipe to image of the actual meal. A cute little friend was responsible for the major details.

So, I call her on Thursday evening to tell her it’s urgent and she had to get all the materials ready by Monday, she says okay. She calls me on Friday night to say everything was set and the meal will be prepared on Saturday, will the photographer be around? I send a text to the photographer, who confirms on Saturday morning that she may not be available. My friend tries not to panic (she obviously spent lotsa money on the ingredients na) I assure her it will be fine, can she get another photographer to take the shots? She calls me on Saturday evening to say she couldn’t reach him. She goes ahead to borrow a digital camera. She tries hard but it won’t work. The battery is flat. She borrows a charger from her neighbour to charge the thing. She’s frantic now. We need those shots.

I can imagine the light bulb going on in her head when she realized she had a laptop with webcam.

Well, what had she to lose? She set up the table with the three course thingy and goes all acrobatic, holding the laptop in awkward positions trying to get a good shot. She got several, with her hands, head and hair showing up in odd places. She must have looked a sight! I was so sorry I missed an opportunity for a good laugh. :)

Monday morning, all fresh and rested, I pop in to see if she’s still alive with her hair in place :), we try the digital cam and it works fine. We set up the table again and had a good time laughing at ourselves as we tried to get the shots from all angles. We climbed on chairs and took odd positions as we did what we had to but were not trained to do.

My point exactly? She could have grumbled all the way, complaining about everything. But she chose to have a good attitude. We could have allowed a simple meal and a few shots steal our joy but we didn’t and what do you know, we actually caught up on some good old times while we were at it.

There will always be those pet peeves we can’t do anything about, won’t it be better to quit whining and have some fun?


So hey! I just crammed all my issues in a box; I’m sitting on it and about to roar with crazy laughter. Care to join me?

As long as you bring your box along sha! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

There's no penetrating this wall of Fire!

I remember the last time I wrote about a near robbery attack. It’s been about a year now and it still amazes me. Not just because of the comical nature of the whole thing but because the experience gives new meaning to certain scriptures that are making too much sense to me right now.

I used to be a fearful person. I mean, I would get goose flesh just sitting in a dark room. And because I have an active imagination, it was so easy to conjure all sorts of images of things that could go wrong or crazy creatures that could jump out of the woodwork.

I remember telling my mum when I was little that when she left me in a room no sooner do I close my eyes than I begin to see ‘things’. She found that really funny but encouraged me to stop watching scary stuff on TV, that was the only reasonable excuse she could give for my over active imagination. That didn’t help because I hated scary movies and I vividly remember sitting with my back to the TV when my siblings watched Zombie, the flesh eater or any such hair raising drama.

Anyway, I struggled with that fear (plus fear of dogs!) for a long while, and then I grew up. I stopped being so fearful of the dark, when I was indoors, but it was a different matter entirely when I was outside the comforts of my house. I noticed this first when I had to leave home pretty early to get to work on time. I learnt something during that period that ‘as much as it lies within your power never work on one end of town and live on the other end!’

I would walk down the lonely road to the bus stop at 5am. After my Bolt! Experience it got worse. I would clutch my bag close while reciting psalm 91. (I wasn’t really praying it anyway ‘cos I spent most of my mental energy being scared gutless.)
However, reliving that experience all over again made me really look closely and I concluded that I must have been under strict military-like protection! That could only have been it. I had to redress my understanding of the scriptures in relation to my situation.

‘When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’ The road from my house to the stop couldn’t really be qualified as a valley neither did I smell any death shadows lurking around, so what on earth was I afraid of? (Don’t mind my analogy, hope you get the point sha?)

‘For I the Lord will be to her a wall of fire round about…’ Zech 2:5 Meeen, If that isn’t assurance of protection, I don’t know what is. Imagine me walking around in a ball of fire! Won lenu mbe, Matrix has got nothing on this!

I serve a God who is not so busy answering your prayers that he can’t attend to mine. He’s not too occupied with looking after you that he can’t protect me.

Go tell my enemies, I am under the rock, rolling around in a ball of fire! Gbabe!


See how Roy Bolted! HERE.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Holy Musing! :)

Wow, can’t believe I haven’t written for a long time now. Well, I have the goings on in my life to thank for that. I try but I fall short and like David, I cry out “Lord, help me!” and what do you know? Bingo! He shows up for me. Ain’t he grand?

Anyways, I’ve been trying to arrange and rearrange my thoughts these past few weeks. Taking stock and making sense of my journey here (by here I mean the big HERE, Life!).

I feel very much like Esther right now. Why?
Well, Imagine how she much have felt when she was chosen by the king. Prior to that she must have underrated her chances at being the queen, I mean the queen of the then known world! Shikes!

How could she not, She was an orphan, a Hebrew orphan in a hostile region for that matter. Needless to say she must have been dazed and utterly flabbergasted when she heard her name called by that presiding Eunuch (what was his name again?)…
She must have felt giddy with joy; the king wanted her, her and only her! A-mazing!

That exactly how I feel.

But then again, I feel very much like Elijah,you know. Hiding in that cold, empty cave, running away from an evil queen. The same prophet who killed the false prophets of Baal and confronted the reigning king now cowered in fear at the ranting of an ‘over painted’, over pampered, excuse for a queen! (Don’t ask me what scared him gutless).

Anyway, I hear the wind roar, my heart races but the Lord is not in the wind, the earth quakes and I shudder, but he’s not in there, sorry. A fire ages and I’m scared, he’s still not there. And just when I’m about to give up, trudge back to the belly of the cave and sulk, I hear that gentle whisper (you might want to call it a still, small voice)and Oh! What sweet relief it brings.

I’m instructed, strengthened and rejuvenated and before long, I’m good to go.

If you’re like me, you’re probably never able to get over the fact that the Lord cannot get over you! Crazy thought, abi? It’s on point for me.

I try and I fall (flat on my face, with my rear up in the air!) but he pulls me up and dusts me off.

He says to go one way, I get curious and I say, “What’s happening in the other direction?” and before you can say Praise the lord, I’m off on a frolic of my own, but he always finds me, never leaves me alone.

I’m in awe of this God fa! Come with me, I’m off to sing praises to Him!

And oh! I just remembered that Eunuch’s name, Shaashgaz!
Quite a mouthful right? Lol!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bum Shuffle!

Omoshalewa stood by the bed watching her three year old daughter. The confusion and fear in her heart was palpable. The little girl lay methodically on the bed, snoring lightly. Her legs wee folded in that characteristic manner Shalewa had come to dread. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so scary. She folded her legs just like a frog about to leap into a pond. How could her legs be so flexible as to fold in the manner? The plaster of Paris hadn’t worked. The treatments had all failed. She shook her head and headed to the kitchen, her heart silently begging God to spare her little girl’s legs.

It was Colonel Adejare’s birthday and she had committed to attending. She wished she didn’t have to but the Adejares’ were like family. Her older children had gotten up earlier to prepare for the day. Excitement was in the air, they always loved to go out and party.
She hurried with her chores and rushed to dress up; she wouldn’t want to pass up the free ride.

Three hours later, the birthday party was in full swing. She sat at a corner of the room with her daughter in her arms. The little girl watched as the other children ran around, playing. She tried to wriggle out of her mother’s tight grip and join the fun, But Shalewa knew she couldn’t. Her legs were not strong. All she could do was shuffle around on her backside and that she did well. In fact, she did it so well she had earned her self a name: ‘Idiya ju ese lo’. Meaning ‘faster on her bum than on her legs’.

At home she would let her shuffle on the floor as long as she was well padded, but she didn’t want her doing that here, distracting everybody and probably hurting herself. Shalewa held on tight.

About an hour later, the little girl couldn’t take it no more; she looked up at her mother trying to catch her attention. She pulled at her sleeve and quipped,
“Mummy, gbe mi le, ma rin”. Meaning, ‘Put me down, I’ll walk’.
Shelewa smiled sadly, glad at her daughter determination to beat this thing. But she held on tight, shaking her head lightly.

The little girl was unperturbed; she wriggled more, wanting so desperately to be put down. When she begun to sob quietly her mother knew she was serious.
She sighed and gently lowered her to the floor.
She watched as her legs shook slightly at her effort to maintain balance. The little girl Spread out her hands, pushed back her bum and proceeded to take a tiny little step. The first step landed softly, much to her amazement. She looked back at her mother and chucked, revealing tender milk teeth. Folks watched with interest as she took several shaky steps again, before falling back heavily on her padded bum. Everyone clapped at her display.



Her mother clutched her chest, unable to express the joy bubbling through her system. But no, her baby wasn’t done yet. She got up with so much relish, placing her palms of the floor and hoisting her self up, bum first. By this time, everyone knew not to help her. This was her thing and she was doing it all the way.


Back on her feet, she took several shaky steps laughing all the way and finally landed in her mother’s arms.
Shalewa gathered her in her arms and swung her round; dancing to a tune only her heart could hear.


Fade to black.

***********************

Cast:

Shalewa --- Mummy Roy
Little girl --- Roy


***********************


What can I say?
I woke up this morning with thoughts of gratitude on my mind. I have so much to be thankful for, my legs :), my family, my career, my friends, my future and destiny, I can’t count it all.

I don’t know why he loves me, but he sure does.
August 18, means more than just a date to me. It’s the fulfillment of God’s promise to me. I came because he willed it, I live because he has planned it, and I will achieve everything he has laid out for me and bring glory to him because he has ordained it from the foundations of the world.

A special thanks to all my lovely friends for remembering my birthday.

God bless you! :)

Roy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

'Iffectively' speaking!

So, I haven't always known what I could or wanted to do with my life. For a long time I was confused and bemused over my inability to discover something new about myself, something I could call my own. I would sit and wait and hope something happened, to drag me into my path (then I'll probably take it from there, I thought), but it wasn't that simple.

It was in this state of mind that I wrote a note 'I sigh' about my One year National Youth Service Corp in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria (That was the most difficult time of my life). When I posted this note on Facebook, I got help, divine help, from someone unexpected.

Ife Olatunji is a well of wisdom. He represents, to me, a sign bearer. He has not only found himself, he's willing to be a Barnabas (Son of encouragement). He sent me a note in reply to 'I Sigh'. Please read both notes below.

*****************


I sigh:


I sit there, doodling on the edges of my diary, my mind far away. The days seem to fly past, leaving no traces of satisfaction or fulfillment in the activities that trickle in.

Time has no measure, seconds sigh with emptiness.

I live in a fast paced hurry-up-can’t-slow-down world, yet all I do is watch the ticking of the clock (not literary though, that would be the height of uselessness). I need something, really. I wonder what exactly it is. A sense of purpose? Determination? A drive? Drive at what?

I sigh.

These faces that surround me, all fresh and smiley, do they have moments of sobriety, when they stop to ponder, to recount their steps and discover true meaning?

I lick my lips. They’re dry and chapped now. Thanks to this dry Jos weather. I love the cold though but not the dust and dryness.

Another Saturday will soon be over and all I’ve succeeded in doing is sit and ponder, scribble and doodle. Ha! My life.

I dream though, dreams of the future. Desire, achievement, success and the road to the top. I can dream. Ain’t paying nobody to do that.

I sigh.

I’ll get there. It won’t be long. I guess. I hope. I believe. Whatever, sha. But I know I need help. Need to get a grip, but how do I………

“Corper, how na?”

A voice jolts me out of my reverie, forcing me back to the reality of my surroundings.
I look up to see a remarkably white set of teeth set in an extremely dark skinned face smiling back at me. Ahmad. The security guy.

“Haba corper, you no chop today? You well so? This one wey your eye red like this?”

I look around the little eatery, hoping no one heard him. Then I smile my customized smile, sheepish but absolutely bogus.

Ahmad now knows me well. Thanks to his boisterous nature, He never fails to let everyone know that I’m a corper, serving my Father land. I happen to view this as a nebulous period of my life where I’m locked out of my past but not yet in my future.

I sigh.


Anyway, I smile at Ahmad, again.

“Thanks, Ahmad. I’ll be on my way now.”

He smiles his usual toothy smile. I pack my stuff and prepare to leave.

I guess I’ll take my thoughts back to my dingy room. I’ll lie in the darkness and keep pondering, wondering……

I sigh
.


********

Ife's Reply:

First, His analysis of my musings,

A satirical representation of a "loner's" musings and contemplations against the backdrop of the corpers' universe.
Her problem is not sloth or inertia but the burden of a heightened consciousness.
She is a seeker. Something in her reaches out for life, not life as it is but life as it ought to be.
For her, its not so much how fast a ladder is climbed but whether the ladder is leanin' against the 'right' wall.
Until she finds meaning n purpose, she sits and she waits... and sighs.

Hmm.



His full reply


Hello Remi,

Let me start by saying that Mind reading is not yet my forte. (I told him he was a mind reader)I wish it is. [Could use this gift on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’]. *grins* But am not that evolved. My analysis, as it were, was a function of empathy. Yes, I am a loner of some sort myself.

I used to ask myself …

“Why has life burdened me so?”

“Why do my eyes see so far; if I was destined to remain obscure?”

“What am I to do with this acute sensitivity to the sights, sounds and sensations of the world around me; to the behavior of people, their follies and fetishes, suffering and nobility, their wisdom and intelligence?”

Aaaarrgh!

“Why am I so obsessed with the thoughts humans ask about themselves and their world; cause-effects relationships of various elements and their implications for human existence?”

“Why am I so ‘uncool’; having a preference for nerd-nesting with my rowdy bunch of geeks and poets, copywriters and songwriters, artists and wordites[Christians]?”

“Why cant I just be like my cool and trendy friends, watching and arguing over a bunch of adults running after a leather ball [soccer]?”

“Why do I have more books than clothes” [you don’t want to know d size of my library]

The questions are endless.

Sometimes I wonder if I was born this way, Or if circumstances made me this way.
I used to sit and stare and wait and sigh.
Hmmm….

You asked me “if waiting and sighing makes sense”. ‘Why not attempt something’, you said?”
The answer is not so straightforward.

You see, human progression is not always linear. Would Joseph have thought that the plan and pathway from his father’s tent to the throne was meant to engage a pit and a prison?

Life is a potpourri of signals and stimuli. Some are green lights. Others are red flags. Interpretation and wisdom is the key to ‘making it’. Your consciousness is deep but your spirit has to be keen, sharp and on its toes; ready to make something out of what you have and where you are. Selah!

Another thing is that ‘rulership is a function of element’. The Eagle has the gene of a monarch… which only comes alive as long as it remains in its element: Air! If it tries manipulating other elements [water, fire, earth], … the monarch shall become a nonentity.

What has brought you the greatest fulfillment, compliments and peer regard? That’s a pointer to your element.

Your throne, Remi Sage, lies in your element. The written and spoken Word? Creative writing? Hmm? Something screams out of your writings and only you can hear it.

You might be working’ somewhere grand by societal standards. Or not so grand; the beautiful thing is that as long as you keep that inner bliss[your voice], your platform would be drawn to where you are. Do what you can wit what you have, where you are.

“Asiko n lo”, you might think. Your friends are in Mobil, MTN and Zenith Bank. I agree. Asiko n lo. BUT… the best house on your street today was not the first one to be built there. Was it? We have to FOLLOW THE COMPASS AND NOT THE CLOCK. Start small. Grow fast. Live the dream. Don’t bother on missing out on life. You won’t. Silent years would speak loudly.

You gotta learn how to create value from your proclivities. Its time to find your voice and be fully baptized into it. That’s the tool and vehicle that would deliver your prosperity – on a sustainable basis, that is.
FOCUS makes all d difference. Great is the future of THAT woman, who KNOWS ‘where she is going’ and has made ‘how to get there’, her ENTIRE course of study.

I discovered my element in 2002: the Word in its multi-dimensionality.
First it was the Logos of Christ: the complete works of Deity as it refers to human existence.
Then the words of men: written, spoken, sung, painted and performed.
Then my own words. Hmm… that’s for another day.

Am still evolving. No longer in hibernation.
Am not yet in the headlines. But am no longer on the sidelines.
The journey has begun.

Lets stop here 4 now... lest you pass out due to boredom.

Cheers.




What can I say? That note was timely.

Roy

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life is not a fairy tale. ( formerly titled 'Job and Jos fever')

The gnawing pain in my abdomen grew worse. I doubled over and winced, willing the pain to pass. My head throbbed like a sore tooth. I looked over at the plate beside my bed. The dried piece of bread left over from last night sat unperturbed. My stomach churned at the sight, bile and nausea rising in my throat.

I rose from the bed to go to the bathroom, my vision doubled at the effort. I cradled my head in my hands and sat right back, apologizing to my ailing body for the unnecessary movement.


I felt uneasy like life was draining out of me. I reached for the Amoxil tablets on the little table in my room. It was the only table I had in the sparse cubicle type room. My land lady had graciously brought it out from her store, all dusty and old. I had no choice.
I feverishly pressed a tablet into my right hand and looked around for my cup. It was empty. I reached for the keg of water I always had well supplied, it was empty.

Aaargggh!!!

My mind raced at the thought of going out to buy water. The closest place was five houses away. I’ll most definitely faint before I get there.

I sat back on my flat mattress praying feverishly for sleep to claim my tired body when I heard a knock on the door.

“Remi?”

Two more knocks in quick succession.

“Remi, are you in?” It was Aunty Funke. My angel in human form..

I had met her when I came to *Bukuru, posted to a school to teach biology to senior students, most of them as dull as dishwater. The whole process had angered me so, Until I met this pretty Business Studies teacher, a young wife living in the neighbourhood. She was *Yoruba, so amidst the language confusion, I found a ready companion. I spent most Thursday evenings in her house watching Super story and gulping down bowl after bowl of Amala and ‘draw’ soup

“Aunty, I’m here o. I’m not feeling well”, I managed to drag my bones, encased in hot, typhoid stricken flesh to my rickety door.

Aunty Funke gasped at the sight of my haunted frame.

“Sorry dear. Haba. Why didn’t you come to the house now?” She was looking around the room, probably pitying my sorry *Ajuwaya life.

“Have you eaten?” she asked, clearly worried. My eyes flew to the plate beside the bed; the day old bread stared back at me. I shook my head, no.

We packed a few of my clothes and my medicines and headed to her place. She gave me a spare room and I lay down. Twenty minutes later, I was served a steaming plate of Pap with lots of milk. I inhaled it in a flash. I felt better almost immediately. Ha! *Akamu wonder.

I lay back again and slept like a baby. At about 7.30 pm I woke to a heavy plate of pounded yam. I over estimated my ability to keep down such a monstrous dinner and dived in, meat first. I had finished three quarters of the meal when I felt a sudden sensation in my abdomen. I dropped the next morsel, already rolled in vegetable soup and halfway to my mouth.

The sensation in my abdomen moved to my chest. It was irritation plus nausea plus typhoid and a little of something else. Maybe I need water, I thought.
I reached for the glass of water and gulped a mouthful. It was then I understood what the mysterious sensation was. I rushed to the bathroom, my hand over my mouth. And for the next five minutes I returned everything I had taken…. and more.

I felt so drained; I could hardly stand up straight. My vision was blurred and I could not see a thing. Aunty Funke was in the kitchen still drumming up stuff. I groped for the walls trying to feel my way to the living room. It was horrible. Everything in my system felt like it belonged somewhere else.

For a few minutes I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. When I came to, I was lying on the living room floor, Aunty Funke and her kids hovering over me.
I had fainted.

I was given half a cup of *Agbo to drink. The herbal mixture confused me, it was so bitter. I crawled back to bed, hoping to sleep right into the middle of next week!

It was a terrible night. I thrashed around, unable to sleep. My dreams were haunted; I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was in trouble.

I woke up to the tune of a message alert on my phone Ah! a welcome distraction from the throes of pain. I read the message and blinked. I read it again to be sure I hadn’t added hallucination to my list of illnesses.

“You are invited for the final test and interview session. Venue:15, Industrial avenue Iluepju, Lagos.
Time: 5pm , Saturday, 7th November.
Please be punctual.”

I looked at the time, 7am. I looked at the date 7th. Today is 7th!? Okay, calm down, I told myself. The month, yes that’s it. The month is wrong. I looked at the calendar. Oh my gosh! It’s November!

My mind raced. Jos is like 13 hours away from Lagos. How will I ever get there on time?
What if I *‘stab’ this interview? Ehn? Risk losing the job? It’s a multinational company o! After taking four different tests, for which I had to travel to Lagos at 8k per trip on my meager corper’s Alawi? Ah! Nothing dey happen. We go rough am die!

I jumped up, about to dash to my room to get ready when I felt a headache the size of World War 2. I cradled my head in my hands again and calmed down. I shall live and not die o. Lagos here I come.

I hobbled to the living room to talk to Aunty Funke.

An Hour and half later, I was in a cab on my way to the very 'dry' Jos airport. The airport ground was so 'dry', I wondered if planes landed there at all. I booked my flight at twelve thousand naira, much to my chagrin. Departure was for 12 noon. I had about three hours to kill so I stretched out on the lounge seats and caught some Z’s.

It was my first time on a plane. Except for the very uncomfortable pain in my ears, it was a great trip albeit too short. I even made a friend who I found was a member of my church in Lagos and a native of Bukuru where I was serving, neat huh?

I got home at about 2pm thanks to Lagos traffic. By this time, I noticed I was feeling much better. The typhoid had probably seeped out through my ears. At 5pm sharp I was at the venue of the interview.

The e-test was first. I tried my best but the math was difficult. I never liked math.
Everything else went well. The co-ordinator told us the marks will be mailed to us the very next day. I rushed to the cyber café the next morning. The connection was poor and I was so impatient.

Could this be what I’d been waiting for? A job? Just three months into *service year? I would move back to Lagos straight up.

I was so excited I almost forgot my password.

The subject of the mail caught my eye. I clicked in and read hurriedly……

Time seemed to freeze as all the excitement I had built up gradually dissipated. I swallowed noisily and got up slowly. My sister, who had accompanied me, was at a loss for words. She tried to encourage me.

“C’mon. It’s not the end of the world now.” Those were her words.

I nodded slowly as we made our way back home.

Jos, here I come…...





**********************************************************************************

*Bukuru - a surburb of Jos city, the capital of Plateau State, Nigeria.
*Yoruba - a large tribe in southern Nigeria.
*Akamu - a local meal make from corn, much like custard.
*Agbo - a herbal blend used to treat common illnesses like Malaria and typhoid.
*Ajuwaya - a term used to describe the Service Year.
*Stab - a term used to describe boycott of an activity.
*Service Year - a compulsory one year period of National service for University.
graduates, usually in a different state from that of their residence.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I quit!(?)

I sit huddled up on the love seat, tears flowing. Staring at the bare wall on the far end of the room, I ignored the shadows cast on the wall by movements out side my window. My mind was in turmoil. I looked around the house, five years and I hoped I’d still be counting but I’m not sure now.

I caress my wedding band, turning it round and round on my finger. I remove it and hook it to my necklace, like a pendant, close to my heart.

What will it take to make it work?

I remember when it all started; I just knew this was what I wanted. Barely out of the university, was I so eager to marry Steve. I believed he was every thing I wanted. Mum thought it was too soon. We had only been dating for 6 months.

“Hold on for one year and you’ll be blessed many times over” she said.

Should I have waited? Will it have helped? Will things be different now if we had wedded after Christmas like we originally planned?

The questions swim in my head.

I switch on the television. Too much thinking is making me sick. I flip through the channels, nothing good on a Wednesday evening.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a child. Steve loves children; I see it when we have Derin’s kids over. But that’s not my fault. The doctors say we’re both okay.

The tears keep flowing fast; I blow my nose hard, feeling a slight headache in my temples. I rise from the seat to turn off the lights in the room. My eyes catch something as I sit back down. I see a flicker of light from the table where I have my keepsakes. I move towards the object bending down to pick it up.

Its a little velvet bag with a shiny logo. I open the bag and let out a soft sigh. Relief washing over me, no longer able to stand, I dropped on the floor, crossing my legs.
Inside the bag are little red beads, hundreds of them.
My mother gave it to Steve and me on our wedding day, with a little illustration. She had us remove a bead and return it.

“Shake it together and remove the same bead from the lot” she said.

We looked at each other and burst into laughter.

“That’s impossible, Mum” I said, laughing.

“Good. Now that you know, when you feel like giving this all up remember It can only be over when that lone bead turns up” and she shuffled away.

I remember it like it was yesterday. My sweet wise Mum. I close my eyes and lean on the bed thinking how impossible it is for me to give up now.

Steve should still be at work.
I shuffle over to the computer and begin typing an email. I pour my heart out in a few words.


Dear Steve,

I’ll be waiting today so we can have a heart to heart. This is really hard but I’m willing to make it work. I’ve decided giving up on us is not an option, at least not for me.

I love you,

Lara.


I sigh, hoping he at least catches it on his blackberry

Back on the bed, I fall asleep almost immediately.

A few hours later, I wake to see him at the foot of the bed, head in hands weeping. I move to his side, rubbing his back slowly. I know he likes that. He looks at me tears in his eyes, his nose running. We stare at each other and I see in his eyes what I’ve always known. Love lives here.

We sit in the dark for hours, in each others arms, grateful. Today could have been the end but we’ll start over.

I fall asleep again, right where I should be unaware of the ten paged document from the divorce courts, completely filled, lying on the bedroom floor………in shreds.



*****************************************************************


Ok, that wasn’t me o(obviously), Just a snippet of a young woman’s struggle.


But really, have you ever given up on something that made sense to you? Something you would have loved to hold onto, just because you lacked the inner strength to persevere and keep trying?

Quitting is easy, the consequences may be dire but you don’t know that at the time. Or maybe you do but you rationalize that it’ll take too much from you to keep trying. So you take the easy route.

It’s not just in relationships that we make such blunders. We give up on school because we fail at it sometimes. We stop trying for that job because we keep getting rejected.

The journey ahead is long and arduous, so we decide to sit and lick our wounds.
But there was never a victory without a battle and the cross always comes before the crown.

Heard all these before? I’m sure. But think deeply about it the next time you find yourself at the threshold of a destiny decision.

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart, how much more the reward?

Roy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Hottest, Finest Bible Dude Contest!!!

So there’s this thing that’s been going through my mind. Indulge me here. What if there was a contest to determine the finest bible dude ever? You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m taking about.

Well, I’m organizing a contest to determine who the finest, hottest dude in the bible is (or was) :D Judging will be based on physical attributes as described in the bible o!
If not, I know we could make Namaan look like a six-pack-sporting hunk in leprous flesh. :D

So some names readily come to mind. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
‘Daaaavid’…. Almost every one will wanna start from him. Ok let’s see.

1 Samuel 16:12
“Now David was ruddy (had a healthy appearance), and had a beautiful countenance, and good to look upon.”


Ok, so David was fine, if you like the innocent boyish looking type. :D

Let’s move on. Next on my list would be….. ‘Absaaaaalom’. Oh Dang! I’m sure you don’t want to hear that name. Absalom? The usurper? the sick dude who slept with all his father’s wives and concubines? The murderer who killed his brother? Hell no.
But puhleaseee, the guy was fineee!. No beefing.

Check him out here, 2 Samuel 14:25 -26.
“There was no one praised for his beauty like Absalom. From the sole of his feet to the crown of his head he had no blemish. When he shaved his hair (every year) it weighed two hundred shekels.”


Phew! Am I hyperventilating or what? Think of all that in today’s terms and you have a ‘hottish’ bloke on your hands.

Ok, one more. You’ll most definitely like this one…… ‘Joseph’. Hmm, hmm. I won’t even waste time praising all his character qualities. You already know them.
But what about his physical attributes? Ok, so the bible doesn’t really describe him in so many words but he must have been a knockout, don’t you think? Mrs Potiphar practically came drooling after him like a puppy in heat.

Ok entries closed. I’m the judge here so the winner is..........

Absalom!!!

Duh!

So I think he won. But he’s still a jerk as far as I’m concerned. All that betrayal couldn’t make him a jewel in my eyes.


Get my point? Looks are not even half of what they’re cracked up to be. But we don’t wanna hear that these days. We have these stereotypes. He’s got to be fine, tall, dark and handsome. She’s got be shapely, a head turner. But does that make us secure?

Haba! Will a six-pack pay the bills? Does a 36-24-38 guarantee a great mother and a faithful wife?

The content is more important than the container, but that’s ‘Greek’ in this time and age. But it won’t be long before we realise a prize-winning container could be full of crap (excuse the harsh word) and we can’t understand why people on the outside still find it attractive.

It’s not impossible to find it all in one location. Quality content in a stunning container, many have. But isn’t it best to search first for quality content, then the show-stopping container will most definitely be a great bonus.


So, waiting to find quality content ‘by force by fire’ in a runway-worthy container? You could be wasting years on the sidelines.

Searching for a mouth watering container with no thought whatsoever for the content? Be afraid, be very afraid!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fear Factor

So here I am. Taking my time and loving life. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who has had to go through ‘phases’ in life. From ‘scaredy cat’, to 'learning to trust God and be strong'. But we all have to go through what we have to, to get to where we have to be. The trick is to love the journey we’re on (I wish I’d always known this, would’ve saved me a lot of stress along the way).

So, have you ever had a morbid fear? Of something, anything? The darkness? people? talking to a crowd? exams? sickness? performing? the thought of death?
How did you feel when you finally stopped torturing yourself? 'Cos carrying around such needless fears is self induced torture. Believe me, you don’t need it.
Picture 2 Timothy 1:7, it about sums it up.

So I know this ‘lil girl who had to struggle through her peculiar fear. Now grown and wiser, she reminisces.



I stood in front of the class, my hands tightly clutching my book; I stared at my toes as tears trickled down my face. The class was still vibrating with the laughter that followed my biology presentation. I had totally flopped. My hands shook uncontrollably and my voice trembled. I had barely made out the words I had so carefully studied well.

“This is just the reason why I ask you to read thoroughly and properly. You messed up!” Mrs. Toke, the biology teacher said, looking at me with disdain, “How can you not explain the simple process of photosynthesis? I mean, I can’t understand it” she shook her head in her stylish characteristic manner.

I shyly took my seat after she was done lambasting me. Thoroughly embarrassed I placed my head on the desk and sobbed quietly.

Grace was next for her presentation. She sprang up from her seat impatient to begin. She spoke on Excretion and the formation of urine. Her voice rang out clearly and confidently. I felt more ashamed than ever. Why couldn’t I be more confident like that? I knew these things, I could write them down, I even explained them to Nike the night before, but in the heat of concentration, when all eyes are fixed on me, I lose composure, my knees wobble and my tongue goes dry. It feels terrible.

After the day was over, I rushed into my four man room in the large Girls hostel, almost knocking down Senior Tutu the house prefect who was also occupying the same room.

“Whoa, you. What’s the matter?” Tutu asked gripping my shoulders.

“Nothing” I said sobbing, trying to avoid her gaze, my head bobbing up and down. Senior Tutu was having none of it.

“You’re crying, baby girl this is too much to be nothing. Come, talk to me. What’s up? Did something happen at school today?”

She pulled me to the bed and wiped my face.


I took a deep breath and looked up; my eyes red, my face tearstained and my nose running.

“Remember the biology class I told you I had today?”

Tutu nodded, “The presentation”

“I did badly. I couldn’t talk. I was so scared. Everyone kept staring at me. I started to stammer and, and ……”I burst into a fresh round of tears, my chest rising and falling rapidly.

“Calm down Abiye, don’t beat yourself up, I can see you’re very upset about this, hmm. I want to tell you a secret. But I’ll only tell you when you’re calm. Ok? Do you want to hear it?”

I nodded.

“Good. Go take a shower. Come back, and then we’ll talk”

*********

Tutu’s secret sounded daring.

“Before you do anything, believe that you can. I had the same problem in my junior classes; I used to be the class rat, scared of her own shadow. Things changed when I challenged myself. I made a few more mistakes but I learned from them.
Prepare, yes, but believe that you can do it. Don’t care about anybody sitting out there. They really don’t matter, what matters is that your work is done and you leave a good, lasting impression. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Laugh at yourself, if you must but ask for another chance to do it right, you won't be denied. Challenge yourself. Don’t wait till there’s a task, push yourself out. Get in your teacher’s face if you must but don’t be rude, she will admire your courage and take you seriously. Be prepared to make mistakes but get up every time you fall. Don’t be…….”

*********

“AB! What are you doing there burning daylight? It’s your turn girl, boardroom, now!” Tomi’s voice could hush an army.

I scrambled up and looked around.

‘Hmm,I must have traveled back in time’ I thought, smiling and shaking my head.

I looked at Tomi who seemed like she’d just had an ordeal.

“What happened? Was it tough?”

“My dear, ‘o gbo mi’ (it was hard), but trust me now, I did my thing!”

“Yes o!" we shared a high five.

"I gat to go in now. See ya later”

I packed my materials and headed for the board room.

"Break a leg." Tomi called after me.

I reflected on where I was coming from and my heart warmed.

I made a mental note to buy a gift for Tutu’s new baby, as I entered the board room for my third presentation in two days, in defense of my new role as Communications Manager.



So, we all have those little, subtle fears we try hard to hide.
But really, shouldn't we be free?