Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scathered Lives

I am coming home


That was all the email said. She read it again and checked the time it was sent. 9:17pm last night. She made some calculations; he must have sent it around 3pm his time. Joy and happiness both rolled into one emotion. She is excited. Finally, they are to meet again. At last, they will be together. Her thoughts ran wild. Will she still look beautiful to him? Will he recognize her? What if he doesn’t love her anymore? She looked at herself in the full length mirror, Her body is still in shape, her hair which he loved so much is cut short but it brings out her beautiful almond eyes, her breasts are bigger and fuller which pleases her. She thought about what will she wear when she meets him? She remembered he loved to see her in pink, but it is possible he has changed after 2 years. No, he is still the same person, her heart tells her so. She smiled to herself, and reminisced on how things were between them before they parted.

Lola and Wale met in college and their relationship began as friends. Within a year, it grew into something deeper, though nameless. Friends from each side teased them about it. During their last year in college, Wale kissed her while they were arguing about some trivial thing. She still remembered that kiss after three yrs. He asked her to marry him. She accepted.

Lola was brought back to reality when Anu cried in her crib. She looked at the baby with sadness. How will she explain? She picked up the baby from the crib and looked at her closely. Anu is a very beautiful baby, how she wishes she belonged to both of them. She studied her baby for another minute, Anu, happy to be at her mother’s bosom smiled and rage consumed Lola. Anu had Lola’s features but her nose and smile were that of her father Leke. She remembered the circumstances how she met and married Leke. He had been one of her father’s friends. Even though, he was younger to her father, he was still treated as an equal because of his wealth and position in the community.

When Lola and Wale both graduated from college, Wale got admission into a university in the United States to study his MBA. He was not from a rich family nor did he know anyone in the U.S. He had to come up with money for his fees, room and board. Lola’s family was not financially well off, but because her father was well respected within their community before he died, she had contacts to family friends who are wealthy. One of such friends was Leke Sanni.

Leke Sanni is a business tycoon who is both shrewd and generous in his dealings. He made his wealth through family inheritance but also had the business sense to continue to make more. At the age of 39, he still had no plans to settle down; He is not a womanizer but known to be in company of beautiful women. One day, Leke saw Lola at the entrance of his company, and he quicky ushered her in, not because he recognized her but because her beauty caught his attention. When they got to his office, he was very nice and warm to her, he asked her if she wanted anything to drink but Lola declined

Mr. Sanni, I am Albert Kola’s daughter, Lola. I came to you because you are one of my father’s friends and I need your help” She started refusing to meet his eyes

“What is it my dear” he asked not in a fatherly way

“I have a friend who is so dear to our family, he needs a loan to go aboard and he also needs a job when he gets there. Knowing someone of your caliber will help him”

“Who is your friend?”

“His name is Wale Timi, we grew up together. My father treated him like his son when he was alive.” Leke remembered Lola’s father as a generous man. Even when he didn’t have, he made it a point to give. But how come he never realized how beautiful Lola was? He asked himself. Leke sensed what she had not said. He knew Wale and Lola were more than friends; he conjured up a plan. He pushed his chair back and stood up.

“Lola” he said softly as he walked over to her and gently placed his left hand on her shoulder. Then he continued “I will help you.” Your father was a very nice man and once upon a time, he too was there for me” She was grateful to hear this. She asked him when Wale can see him. The arrangement was made and Wale was given his loan and he left the country promising Lola that he would come back for her.

Four months passed, Lola paid a visit to Leke Sanni to thank him for all he did for Wale. Leke was glad he could be of assistance. He invited her to dinner, and she accepted. When they got to their destination, she realized it was a hotel, a bit perplexed, she questioned him

Mr. Sanni, why are we here?

“To eat” he said. “Haven’t you dined in a five star hotel before?”

Lola felt embarrassed and she smiled. He continued “Don’t worry, there will be other people joining us if you are feeling uncomfortable”

She relaxed when she heard that. He led her into a private suite. Dinner was ordered. Lola began to feel uneasy because they only ordered dinner for two. She questioned him again

“Mr. Sanni, why are you holding a meeting in a suite instead of a conference room and shouldn’t we order dinner for the rest of the group?”

He answered “No, dinner is just for us, and the meeting is being held here because of its confidentiality.” She excused herself to the bathroom. While in there, Leke laced her drink with a sleeping drug. Lola came back, apologized that she had to leave. Leke asked her to at least have a drink before she leaves, she had the drink, something didn’t feel right, and she knew it. It was too late though; she began to feel drowsy. She staggered her way to the bed to sit down and only minutes later, she fell unconscious as she watched Leke walk towards her.

Lola woke up with a headache, she looked around, but could not recognize where she was. She got up and realized she was naked. Could it be? She wondered as her hands tried to hide her body from the morning light. Still doubting, she hurriedly grabbed her clothes from the floor. Leke heard her from the bathroom and he ran into the bedroom to meet her; He was smiling. This is when it hit her, there was no longer need to doubt, his face told her the story of last night; she is a woman, her body confirmed it.
With her eyes welled up with tears and her clenched fists making a thousand promises of pain, she darted across the room and lunged at Leke. She hit him till her hands gave up and her legs gave in; she collapsed to the floor sobbing.

To be continued…

Friday, June 22, 2007

Well said

How many of us feel this way?

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Behind the poem

The Poem

When two separate souls meet
something beautiful can happen

When two different souls intertwine s
omething exotic can develop

When two distinct souls become one
someone somewhere envies their bond

When one soul wars with itself
someone at home gets torn apart

When we are tired, weak and weary of war
somehow we go back to the beginning

When we learn to make our soul work as one
somehow how love grows even more

When two separate souls meet
something beautiful can happen

The train moved violently knocking everyone to the same side. He bumped into me, and muttered a quiet sorry. I nodded without looking in his direction. He moved closer towards me this time without the help of the train. I looked at him and his eyes held my gaze. He wasn’t exceptionally handsome, but everything about his face seemed perfect; his eyes had kindness in them, a “cute as a button” nose and his ears looked like they would be fun to twist. His hair is full and wavy, I felt like running my hand through it. He has thin lips which look like a smile and his eyelashes were long and heavy like that of a woman. All these features, I observed in 20 seconds, and then I looked away. He got off at the next stop, but not without leaving his business card on my lap.

When two different souls intertwine
something exotic can develop

Work was exhausting, but I managed to catch the 8:05pm train. I saw him, again, sitting at the corner of the train reading a book. I had been looking at his business card all week, even picked up the phone a couple of time, but didn’t have the nerve to call. I didn’t want him to think I was easy, frankly I like to be pursued. I don’t know how that defines a relationship, but it is a role society has given me to play, a false sense of having the upper hand. As I looked at him from a far, I saw the book he was reading was the Holy Bible. Once I realized he was readying the Bible, I felt all sense of the rules of dating went out the window; I gathered my confidence, walked up to him and I whispered in his ear “would you like to have a cup of coffee with me”?

When two distinct souls become one
someone somewhere envies their bond

We met regularly for coffee breaks, lunches and other reasons to see each other. We were both eager to share the meaningful experiences in our lives. Our friends came to know of us only by our name. We had so much in common, and those few things that were uncommon were exciting. Friends kept asking “What is it about this person? Who is he/she? Why are you smiling ?” All the questions gave me more reasons to smile. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, what if I had missed that train? What if I hadn’t been bold enough to go talk to him first the second time I saw him? The time came when we introduced ourselves with each others friends. Our friends seemed very happy for us, but as an African adage goes “Don’t mistake the whiteness of one’s teeth for a pure heart”.

When one soul wars with itself
someone at home gets torn apart

Have you found someone?” my mother screamed from the end of the line.

Why? I asked, not bothering to tell her to keep her voice down.

“Because when I talk about marriage, you don’t get angry anymore”

“Ma, I have decided not to argue with you about that matter anymore, there is no point for me to get angry everyday".
My mother continued by saying, “I know you, I am your mother, I have watched you grow the past 25 years, you can be very rebellious if you want to, God knows I did everything right with my parents, I don’t know why he had to give me a rebellious child”.

“Ma please focus…. I have to get back to work in 15 mins. Can I talk to you later?”. She spoke even louder, “No, just tell me yes or no, have you found someone”?

I wasn’t sure if I should tell my mother, this woman is very unpredictable. There was a time when we passed a beggar and I threw the change from my pocket into his bowl, she slapped my hands, complaining that I am part of the reasons these people don’t get jobs by helping them afford their booze. The following month, we passed the same street and a beggar came toward us, she begged for money to feed her children, I gave her a cold look and walked away. My mother shouted at me, for not having compassion, saying “how is it that I gave birth to this girl? Everyone in my family is caring, you must have gotten those traits from your father’s side” Ha!

I decided to tell my mother about my relationship; it’s been one year since I’ve been dating him and I feel it is the right time to share my joy with her.

“Ma I met someone, he is a nice guy with a great personality and hardworking too” I said all this in a rush and bit my lower lip waiting for her response.

“He is also Christian” I added quickly.

“Where is he from?” she asked calmly, but I can hear her breathing heavily

“He is Indian, from India” I said.

“Hm, I will talk to you later”; - - then a dial tone.

I look at the phone and wasn’t sure what to think, my mother as I said is unpredictable. As the thoughts of her calling anybody else in the family to tell about what I said and my doubts of should I have told her, raced through my head, my phone rang and it was him.

“Hey “I said smiling, I love how he calls at the right time.

‘How are u? he asked

“I am fine “

“ Sooooooo how are u? He asked again?

“I am fine” I said again “is there something wrong, you sound a little distracted”

“We have to talk; can you meet me after work?”

“Sure, I hope it’s nothing serious “I said

“No, ok I got to go bye’

We met in starbucks; he picked an isolated place, which got me nervous. He usually sits in front of the window watching people. He asked if I wanted to drink anything, I declined. He was noticeably nervous as I can see; he kept touching his tie and scratching his left eyebrow.

“What is it?” – I asked him in an anxious voice.

“Listen, I told my mom about us last week, and things are not going well. She said all kinds of things which I am not about to repeat. Her blood pressure has gone really up, she is in and out of the hospital, I am sorry I didn’t tell you this before, I tried to bear it all alone, but I can’t. As you know I am an only son and I have a duty to perform. She has been there for me all her life and I owe it to her. I can’t continue this relationship, at least not now. We have to give ourselves time. I Love you, you have been there for me, but I don’t want my mother to die over something like this. Please understand me. I am very sorry.”

I wiped his tears with the back of my hands. His home is in turmoil and God knows what I will face when I get home. I hugged him, said “I understand “, then picked up my bag and left for the station. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I ran all the way to the station with tears streaming down my face. “Oh God this hurts” “why me?” i kept asking but as they say time heals all wounds.

When we are tired, weak and weary of war
somehow we go back to the beginning

I caught the 8:05pm train. I saw him sitting at the corner reading a book. The Bible. He looked up and smiled. He came over and said “would you care to have a cup of coffee with a friend?”

Those words were enough for me to understand we have found a friend in each other, for 3 years of separation didn’t matter. Our friendship begins again.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A proverb 31 woman in this day and age? Is it possible?

Who is the proverb 31 woman? Lemuel wrote that his mother told him about this woman. We don’t know the basis of the story – It might have been who his mother was or the type of woman his mother wanted him to marry.

As Christians we know the bible do not lie. Everything in it has come and will come to pass. The reason for the description of the Proverb 31 woman is for Christian women to be like her...

A proverb 31 woman in this day and age? Is it possible?

Yes it is. Proverbs 31 woman is any woman who puts God first. The ideal woman of Proverbs 31 should encourage all women everywhere. Cultures changes, but this woman’s God-inspired character still shines brightly across the centuries.

Before I began to study the scriptures, I was very intimidated by this woman. This woman is the Crème de La crème of all women. I felt I couldn’t measure up to her. She is too ideal for today’s generation. Every godly woman wants to be like her but also dislike her because of her perfection. We believe we can’t measure up to her no matter how hard we try.

I have since realized that there are a lot of Proverb 31 woman in our generation. We are close to her more than we think. Even though, she is depicted as a married woman, a single woman can also be a proverb 31 woman. We will analyze the passage together and see how we measure up.

I will start from Proverbs 31 vs. 10. Put a Yes or No to every statement.

10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Are you a woman of valor? – a strong and capable woman who can use her intuition wisely and listen to God

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

Do your husband/ family have full confidence in you? Does your industriousness add to the family income?

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

Do you do right even when it’s not convenient and profitable? Are you reliable?

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

Do you shop carefully for clothing for your family? Do you work willing?

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls

Do you get up early to start your chores and make sure you have the daily menu planned for your family? You don't just go to the corner convenience store to buy your supplies. You shop for quality within your budget. Sometimes you let your light shine and give little treats to your coworkers or neighbors?

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Have you been involved in the process of choosing and buying a home? Do you know what rents and house prices are in your neighborhood? Have you even taken some of your money to beautify your investment?

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

Do you keep yourself relatively physically fit and not afraid to "roll up your sleeves?" Looking after a home and family can, at times, be hard work.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

Are you a productive woman? Whether you are working away from the house or taking care of the home and family. Do you know your way around the bank and supermarket? Are you on the growing edge and not afraid to learn new things?

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers

Can you use a thread and needle? Can you mend holes and split seams when it's necessary?

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

Is your family your only concern? Do you have a heart for the needy people in your community? Do you give to the food bank on occasion, and help out when a neighboring mom is ill. Charity is part of God's plan for Christians.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;

for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Do you provide clothing for the family? It is one of her responsibilities. She takes this seriously, and plans ahead. She does not practice crisis management. This woman has high standards and dresses properly for the occasion.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Do you pray for your husband? Do you stand with him in all things...? This man does not have to spend half his time trying to straighten out problems at home and his success in the social world comes partly from her support, just as her success comes partly from his support. The original woman of Proverbs 31 couldn’t phone her husband for his opinion on matters. She made many of the day-to-day decisions about their property and goods. He trusted her to manage the estate efficiently.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Could you manage my own home-based business? This woman runs a business from her home. Her efforts and industry add to the family income

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

Are you confident that God is in control? He gives you strength and dignity. Your relationship with Jesus Christ gives you the confidence to not always be worrying about the future.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Do you speak words that are wise and true? Do your friends trust you to speak the truth? This woman is well read and has the facts. She knows what she is talking about. Whether about her job, her personal values or her opinion on world events, she is able to express herself intelligently, tactfully and diplomatically. People come to her for good advice.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Do you supervise your own household well? Are you an organized, energetic person who carries out her responsibilities?

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

Are the praises directed towards you from your husband and children well earned? Are you trying your best to serve them through Jesus Christ? This woman is not a doormat, slavishly trying to appease and please her family, no matter how unreasonable their demands. She is honored in her home. Here we gain an insight into the character of her husband as well. He teaches their children to respect her and the virtues she personifies. A role model for women of all time

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Here is the key to this woman’s effectiveness. Her priorities are determined by God’s will, not her own. She is concerned about what God thinks, rather than with what other people think. Physical beauty and clever conversation are admirable qualities. But if a woman’s beauty and charm are the extent of her virtues, what happens when time and the trials of life take their toll? This woman does not depend on beauty and charm for her success. She recognizes her need for God.

Do you Fear the Lord?

31 Give her the reward she has earned,

and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Her Christian works bring nice comments from friends and family, neighbors and coworkers. Her reward is eternity. This woman is actively doing, not merely talking. She does not boast about her plans for the future or her successes of the past. They are obvious

So, how did you do? Tally up your "Yes" and I think you will surprise yourself. The lines should now be erased between you and that "perfect" woman of the Old Testament. You are one and the same.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

15 things Me-me

1) Immediately I came out of my mom’s womb there was a black out. The placenta was still inside her. I guess for this sole reason, my mom always think I need deliverance.

2) I bear a man’s name. It is equivalent to a girl named Abraham. Even Nigerians find it weird. Many a times, when we were younger, my female friends got slapped just because they told their parents they visited their friend A*’s house. They thought their children went to a boy’s house.

3) I sucked my thumb till I was ten years old

4) I hate confrontations. It makes me so uncomfortable

5) I observe before I interact. This gives people the impression that I am very quiet, but my close friends will tell you I can’t shut up.

6) I am a neat freak – I will clean everything under the sun.

7) I can cook almost every Nigerian dish. This is an accomplishment for me because I was not allowed to enter the kitchen when I was younger. I was a very clumsy child. I learnt by going to this woman that had a Nigerian restaurant by my house.

8) My name was changed 3 times before I was 3. Thank God I don’t have multiple personalities.

9) Talking about names – I have a weird, unique (at least I think so) and RAZZ middle name. The name has been the “butt” of many jokes. What was my family thinking?

10) I can’t keep malice with anybody. It bothers me when someone do not talk to me because of something they think I did.

11) I can’t relate to my siblings. I have tried several times but they see me as one of their aunties rather than a sister. We are generations apart

12) I have older friends because I have always been the youngest in my class. I was skipped 3 times in school.

13) I have to eat/munch and drink in the middle of the night. I always have a bottle to water and some snacks on my night stand – and NO I am not a WITCH.

14) I am a very light sleeper. I don’t sleep well if someone sleeps next to me.

15) Lastly, I Love GOD. I have a relationship with him that only he and I understand. I want to submit myself totally to him (I am still working on it). He had mercy on me. His mercy was not only to get me out of the punishment I deserve but also to grant me favors that I am not worthy of.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Never Say Never

There is a phrase abi is it adage that says “Never say Never”. I now believe the adage. When someone narrates to me, an incident that happened to them which sounds like something from a Nollywood or bollywood all I do is gasp and say ahhh... eheh… o tio…pele... etc

But something happened to a very careful me last weekend that I still can’t believe.

Ok, last Sunday – I woke up at 8:15am and realized that I will be late for church. The previous day had been an enjoyable/painstaking Whitewater rafting experience (again). I came home in the wee hours of the morning with pain in my shoulders and bum. I had unconsciously told myself I was going to make it to church the next day – ( Mom, see I remember some of the lessons u thought me) – “if you have the power to stay out late last night then you have the power to get up early in the morning to go to church ( my mom use to say)

My church is about 30 mins from home and I was already 25 mins behind normal Sunday schedule. Maybe, I should have just gone back to sleep and go for the 11am service but the angel in me just wanted to get church over with and get back home for 11am so I can have all the day to myself. Hence, I rushed to get ready for church, known that i will miss praise and worship but at least I will be on time for the sermon.

At 8:53am I got into my car. Mind you Church started at 8:30am. I started the car, turned on my AC because it blazen HOT, inserted my ipod into the FM transmitor and Yinka Ayefele voice was heard by my neighbors. I jerked the gear in reserve and off to church. I was on a mission to make a 30 mins drive into 15mins. Normally, on my way to church I usually stop for gas, but as it was that I was REALLY late, I decided to skip this ritual and make it to church before the sermon began. Shebi I can get gas on my way back.

Got to church in 20 mins - Went inside and sat in the balcony - after church, of course some people came over to say hi
“Ah, Allied you came in late. I saw you when you walked in”
“Allied kilode to pe de?” said another (Allied why did u come late?)
“I wasn’t that late – I came in during prayer.” I answered
I remember coming in when the pastor was praying. Don’t these people close their eyes? Emi o mo pe mi lo wa so ni church – (I don’t know if you are here to monitor me in church).

We sha said our goodbyes. I ran into another close friend T. with her beautiful baby. She apologized for not coming to my cousin baby’s naming. She then asked if we can visit my cousin A. Since A lives close to church it did not pose as a problem... That was how T. changed my agenda for the day.

We drove to my cousin house – To get to cousin A’s house, we had to go through the back drop of civilization. That is to say we saw nothing on our way there.

At 4 pm my friend T. left and cousin begged me to stay with the baby so she can go out to dinner and catch a movie with her husband. I agreed. They came back home at 11:30pm. Not to mention how pissed I was cause I have to go to work in the morning (I work in another state – so my commute is an early one). I got into my car at 11:45pm and turned on the AC and switched the song on my ipod to “Why me” - like my spirit knew that I will be asking God that same question in 5 mins.

As soon as I made the turn out of their complex, I remembered that I still hadn’t bought gas and my indicator was already in E (empty) since morning. Not to worry there are numerous gas stations on the highway. (so I thought)

On the highway, the first gas station I saw was closed. Okay – shebi there is another one down the road, I passed the second one and that one too was closed. Omo see how I started praying. I switched to gospel song to see if that would help God remember me – (The bible says enter his court with thanksgiving in your heart)

To cut the long story short – my car stopped in the middle of the highway. I kid you not when i tell you i started talking to the car - "baby, come on now – don’t do this to mummy" “Baby just start so i can get you off this road, you don’t want anybody ruining your perfect body do you?" “God please let her start" As if the car heard me or God pitied me (I will go with the latter) my car started. I changed into the right lane fast enough for it to stop again in another minute. Now I was on the last lane but still it is not a safe place. This highway is christen the 3rd most dangerous highway in the US – I know compared to Nigeria, it is probably the safest. My car stopped in the middle of the dark highway at 12am in the morning. I had no phone (I purposely left it at home because I was waiting for a call that I know will never come – Let leave that for another blog)

To be continued…