Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unreserved, Unconditional, Unqualified ....

I cannot get over the many times that He overlooks my faults when I come to Him. The seventy-times-seven times that He forgives and washes and cleanses and hugs and holds and assures and blesses and forgives again, washing and cleansing and hugging and holding and....  Thank you Jesus...

Kolade, the whole gang and I had been caught. And I hated that it was Mrs. Orosi, the long necked mathematics teacher cum house mistress, who crept up on us. How had she known? She probably heard the dorm door open. The thing always squeaked no matter how gentle you were.

We knelt in the staff room the next day, our hands stretched up to the sky. What I hated most about the punishment was the way my armpits were exposed when I raised my arms. Those annoying male teachers will ogle me like I am some slab of meat at Balogun market.

Their punishment meant nothing to me. They could say whatever they wanted. Last night had been fun. It was my third time of going out of the school compound with the gang and I felt so proud to have had a partner this time. It was like being married, but not entirely. Kolade acted like a gentleman. I wonder who taught him to be so suave; his older brothers probably. He told me he had three of them! Shade and Kenneth were the star couple, but I didn’t envy them.

My mouth curved in a smile as I thought of the events of the night before, oblivious to the teachers’ remarks about silly children who were too eager to eat the forbidden fruit. One said ‘Their parents are to blame!’ Another said, ‘Ha! It is peer pressure o!’ I chuckled at their confusion. Whatever.

Then I heard that familiar sound of a shoe sole scraping the floor and I looked toward the door. My eyes widened when I saw her. My heart did a triple jump and slammed against my ribcage. Who had called her? How had she come so soon, all the way from Badagry? I looked away hurriedly and buried my face in my chest, willing her to disappear. I didn’t want to see the look on her face. The one that said she was disappointed in me. The one that accused me, yet pleaded with me at the same time. I hated to hurt her. And when she spoke I knew I couldn't wish her away. She was really here.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Akpan,” she greeted the head teacher.

Her voice had that slight tremor in it. The one that turned to a full blown quiver anytime she was sad or upset. The same one that sent daggers tearing through my adolescent heart. Oh, God I hated to hurt her.

She stood in front of me and bent down to peer into my face. My lips quivered at the look in her eyes.

“Queen, Ki lo tun se?” she asked in halting Yoruba. I lowered my arms, clutched the cape of my uniform to my chest and sighed deeply, my face contorting in what was a prelude to tears. Her voice rang loud and clear in my head, like the ominous school bell announcing the beginning of Maths class. It sent dread into my soul.

“Why do you keep doing this kind of thing? After all I told you last time?” She bent closer to me and I could feel her breath on my face; her warm breath that both comforted and frightened me. I covered my face with both hands and wept, the tears flowed fast and free, running down my arms. 
After what seemed like hours I heard the sound of her feet walking away as she said, “Mr. Akpan, if I beat her now, she will probably faint.” She knew the power she wielded over me. Yet I knew she loved me. I looked up at her just as she turned back at the door. “Please handle that for me, just be gentle,” she shook her head at me as if wondering how she came to be burdened with a daughter like me, “she’s all I've got.” She scraped the soles of her shoes on the floor again as she made her way out, probably to the car where Sule, the very docile driver would be waiting.

Two days later, on the first day of our mid-term break, I stepped into the house, unsure. I had agonized about seeing her again. I wondered what she would do. Would she punish me again? Would she beat me herself now? She would most certainly not have remembered my birthday the day before. She didn’t call the house mistress to ask to speak to me as usual. I had waited all day. Would she talk to me now? Ignore me? The questions chased themselves around in my mind till I was weary with the anxiety.

Naturally, I expected everything but the table set with delicacies and drinks and a huge birthday cake. Anything but the colourful card with my name emblazoned on it; everything but her wide smile as she gathered me into her arms, tenderly, like I was the best thing in the world. Tears pooled at the corner of my eyes and I didn’t even fight to keep them back from rolling down my cheeks and to my lips. I tasted the harsh saltiness of my misdeeds in those tears.

Later that night I turned to her as we sat watching TV, and asked the question that had been burning in my heart since she came to the school.
“You’re not sending me back?” I waited. She smiled; a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. I lowered my head and fiddled with the hem of my skirt. I wouldn’t blame her if she did. Maybe I was way past redemption now. I half expected her to say, ‘after your birthday.’

But she only shook her head and said, “No dear, you belong with me now. Surely you know that.”

A feeling of warmth flooded my heart. And I couldn’t help myself as my shoulders shook mildly, tears threatening to flow unbidden. Her words comforted me, frightened me, assured me and exposed my foolishness. The warmth in her voice reached beyond my mind, way past my soul. It touched the very core of my being. And I couldn’t help but remember what I had felt on that Sunday evening a few years ago when she stood at the orphanage smiling at me. 

She had looked at me, a scrawny eighteen year old, left to scavenge her way through life; condemned to have no education or loving guidance because I was already set in my ways. I had felt her warmth reach out across the room, wrapping me in such love ad protection as I have never known. Her next words had sealed the deal and I was ready to follow her to the ends of the earth.

 “Yes, she is the one. I will adopt her.”

Still I kept on fiddling with the hem of my skirt, vowing in my heart never to hurt her again. But even as I mulled the words over in my mind, I knew I needed more than my own will to follow through. I leaned into her and sighed, drinking in the freshness of her presence; the assurance of her thoughtfulness. I would keep her aura with me, I would think about her every time and hopefully, when my demons rise, I will fight them, and I will win.

..but you received the Spirit of Adoption (sonship) and by him we cry “Abba, Father!”  Romans 8:15


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Something To Smile About + FemmeLounge

Hello People!

I stumbled on this, it made me laugh! and I decided to share it here. 

Just smile  :)

Top 10 Sayings of Moms in the Bible 

10. Samson! Get your hand out of that lion. You don't know where it's been! 

9. David! I told you not to play in the house with that sling! Go practice your harp. We pay good money for those lessons!

8. Abraham! Stop wandering around the countryside and get home for supper!

7. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego! I told you never to play with fire!

6. Cain! Get off your brother! You're going to kill him some day! (like duh!!)

5. Noah! No, you can't keep them! I told you, don't bring home any more strays!

4. Gideon! Have you been hiding in that wine press again? Look at your clothes! (Judges 6:11)

3. James and John! No more burping contests at the dinner table, please. People are going to call you the sons of thunder! (Mark 3:17)

2. Judas! Have you been in my purse again?! (He can't help it mum!  heehaw!)

And the number one is:

1. Jesus! Stop working on that old wood and come in and eat! You'd spend your life on that wood, if your father asked ya to!*  (And He did, Halleluyah!)

Serious one here ------  * Please note that the word "spend" isn't used in the sense of time, but in the sense of "giving his all" "being poured out."

Kinda reminds me of Sunday school days. :)

P.S. Last week I posted a flash piece on ( a great online magazine for young women!) titled On The Brink: When Nothing Makes Sense

If you haven't already, you can read it here  
I'm grateful to everyone who shared and left a comment. Thanks for the love!