who am i?

"I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself." - CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I am Special....


I am special! I can’t even begin to fathom how special I am. It’s the kind of thought that sends a shot of tingle through my body.
Have you ever stopped to think how special and just so precious you are? It doesn’t matter if you wear better clothes or drive a better car, It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen running water, or don’t know what it feels like to be treated like royalty, it doesn’t matter if no one has ever called you beautiful or given you a loving hug.
There are signs of how much God loves us all around us. But nothing beats the fact that we can always rise when we fall over and over again. It’s hard for our neighbors and even family to forgive us sometimes, it’s hard to get back to that place of rapor that you cruised in together when you’ve had a fall out. But with God, when we fall, we can get right up again. He doesn’t snub us when we rise again, he doesn’t treat us less, he restores us to where we were.
We take it for granted that we can plead the blood of Jesus, or ask for forgiveness and continue like we never ever fell into sin… just ask satan, the fallen angel lucifer. He fell and he wasn’t given a chance to get back up, to stand again.
Think about it, he was the light bearer in heaven, the attendant of God’s throne, was the big boss amongst the angels… his voice casued a chorus of worship to sound from the other angels as they praised God. Ezekiel 28:12-19(the msg) describes the splendor of him...
 "You had everything going for you. You were in Eden, God's garden. You were dressed in splendor, your robe studded with jewels: Carnelian, peridot, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald, all in settings of engraved gold. A robe was prepared for you the same day you were created. You were the anointed cherub. I placed you on the mountain of God. You strolled in magnificence among the stones of fire. From the day of your creation you were sheer perfection... and then imperfection—evil!—was detected in you. In much buying and selling you turned violent, you sinned! I threw you, disgraced, off the mountain of God. I threw you out—you, the anointed angel-cherub. No more strolling among the gems of fire for you! Your beauty went to your head. You corrupted wisdom by using it to get worldly fame. I threw you to the ground, sent you sprawling before an audience of kings and let them gloat over your demise. By sin after sin after sin, by your corrupt ways of doing business, you defiled your holy places of worship. So I set a fire around and within you. It burned you up. I reduced you to ashes."
But he messed up, he got greedy, he wanted to be God, to have what God had… and he lost it all, he fell and was never given a chance to get back up again.
How many times have we tried to take God’s glory? How many times have we tried to be gods in our own rights? How many times have we worshiped other things and made them our gods? Yet we can come boldly before his presence, and call him father and fall into his embrace, and share in his glory and benefit from his love an endless mercies.
How many times have we taken the path of lucifer? The traits that caused him to be expelled can be found in us; deceit, pride, lust of the flesh etc. We've tried to be god over our lives, making material things the god of us. You would think with the way Lucifer must have praised, in a way we haven’t even come close to, God would give him another chance… and here we are, barely lifting up our voice in praise, and doing the bad deeds and given chance after chance to rise right back up… no wonder satan tries his best to keep us down, no wonder he cant stand us and would do any and everything to keep us from God’s glorious presence and his kingdom. He hates that we are loved so, he hates that we get a second chance and another and another, he hates that that place he was expelled from is freely given to us… he’s on a mission to keep us from the paradise he can never come close to.
I am so glad that Jesus loves me...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

@tilola don born :)


Fellow Blogger Atilola has a given birth to a beautiful baby. We walked with her while she was pregnant and she was so open that she invited us in to view ultrasound pictures of her baby before it's birth. I can't help but be proud of her :)
Isn't she a beauty?

Her name is 'Antonyms Of A Mirage'.
I read through it in one seating. It covers hot topics … from corruption in Nigeria, to the sad joke of godfatherism, the hilarity of sugar daddies, to the highs of fame and how hard it drops you, to domestic violence, a not so gentle poke at mother-in-laws and their determined buahaha, and the misconception of church especially in relationships.
'Fire and brimstone preacher' got me laughing, i'm sure most of us have been a victim of judgment one too many times. I loved 'film trick' too, it talks about the front of 'coolness' we put up on the outside while we burn inside, many of us are living film trick scenes in our lives, and we're so good at it. O, and how can i forget 'Blessing Gbegorun', Miss amebo personified. A couple of rotflmao moments as @atilola takes us down the memory lane of her childhood days and loads of other stories.
Atilola's baby is beautiful, engaging, hilarious, makes you think… and above all a nice, easy and fun read.
A preview from ‘In My Pocket’
‘Goshe – A short form of Shokolokobangoshe
Scenario 2
Mummy Bobo: Olowo ori mi (owner of my head), how was that favourite food of yours that I made for you? I am sure you enjoyed it. I have come to tell you about Bobo, your son. He is about to write his SSCE exams. The other day, I heard my senior wife bragging to her cousin that kola, her son, made all his papers two years ago because he is hardworking and brilliant. She then said she is sure Bobo will do the opposite and fail woefully. Olowo ori mi, please, don't let my enemies laugh at me. I know you can help me get the exam questions on the eve of every exam paper. This is the only way Bobo will be able to prove her wrong and shut her mouth forever. Daddy Bobo, you always say you love me more than my senior wife and if you really mean that, you will not let her have the last laugh over me.

Chief Goshe: Woman! Woman!! Woman!!! I have always warned you about this Bobo of a boy, but you will never listen to me. You spoil him too much, I hope he won't be the source of your downfall in future. Anyway, I will give you what you request, after which he will go to the UK to start his foundation course. You better warn your son to buckle up now, because there is no way I will fly over to meet David Cameron to organize exam papers by the time he gets to the UK. A word is enough for the wise. For now, the exam questions are not a problem. I have the education sector IN MY POCKET!

Scenario 3
Oloyinbo: (Getting up from his two minutes prostration, which Chief Goshe acknowledged by massaging his head with the sole of his left foot, he then starts hailing loudly) Baba Goshe, Baba mi, you will live long, your enemies will not see their children. Anyone that says it will not be well with you, it won't be well with them too.
Baba mi, the time has come. I need your help seriously. It’s time for the councillor election for the local constituencies. As I told you last year, I intend to contest and since I have adopted you as my political father, who else will I run to but you? Baba Goshe, don't worry about my credentials. The minimum requirement is the SSCE result and I have already sorted that out with some boys and now have my results. All I need now is your backing and support. Baba mi, I am in your hand now o.

Chief Goshe: Oloyinbo, my nephew, see your mango head like that of my father. You want to run for councillor, hmm? I thought you were joking when you mentioned it last year. I hope you know the implications of what you are doing? The politics of our time is not for the lily-livered at all. You have to be on your toes at all times. Be ready to make friends and enemies, be ready to do anything to protect your political career and even your life from political detractors. It’s a dog eat dog world and make sure you are ready for all the consequences. You should have just accepted the business I offered to set up for you, but you youths of nowadays have been bitten by the get-rich-quick bug. Since you insist, I will help you. I will take you to a meeting tomorrow, where you will meet some powerful people. But know this one thing, you must not, in turn, bite the fingers of these powerful people, including mine, when you win. You will have to dance to their tunes. Otherwise, the ground will have no choice but to reject you.
After tomorrow, your victory is a done deal. Even if you don't contest, you have won! It’s a done deal, I have the electoral system IN MY POCKET!

Scenario 4
Sisi Peperempe: (After a steamy sex session) Honey boy, cookie crumble, sweetie, darling, sugar! I need your assistance o. You remember my youngest brother, Dodoyo, he's in Anti-graft commission’s custody. He was arrested last week
(Kissing his fat filled pot belly). They said he posed as a minister and defrauded some companies. You know the story of my family and how Dodoyo and I had to see ourselves through life by all means possible. He's the only family I have. We have gone through so much and he doesn't deserve jail time or to lose all he has worked for. (Pouting her lips, with permanent red lipstick on) Baby boo, you must help Dodoyo or else ehn...

Chief Goshe: Sisi Peperempe! C'mon, rest your little head. Why are you worrying yourself over nothing? I am disappointed in the way you keep worrying and emphasizing on this issue. After the three years of us playing this 'love game', you still worry about these little things. Before you start your rants again, don't worry I forgive you. I guarantee you that it is settled. Give me a maximum of two days, Dodoyo will get out of custody and all his frozen assets will be returned. Plus the anti-graft commission, plus the person that created the anti-graft commission, I have them all IN MY POCKET!

Scenario 5
Mr. Sinwonje: (Smacking his stomach during a meal of Suya and bottles of Lager beer at a popular elite club in Abuja) Chief Goshe, what are you going to do about this latest development now? I think Mr. President is serious about this power thing this time around o. If those Japanese people dare sign that contract of the electricity overhaul in this country, that line of business is over for me o, and you know that means you will also lose your regular cut. Hmm, Goshe, this is not good news at all. That is my major income-generating business and I use it to keep body and soul, Princess and Priscilla together. Imagine that this whole country, Nigeria, will not need generators or diesels to make their life easier. This is serious disaster. I will do anything to make it fail….

Read the rest of this and a lot more in your copy of Antonyms of a Mirage

Here's the book trailer...


You can order your copy HERE..

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just a thought...

"Love covers a multitude of sins..." So does infatuation and lust. Theres a whole pile of dirt lounging comfortably underneath the rug of lust and infatuation. With love, theres a discomfort that makes you want to dust the dirt and be a better person for the one you love/the one who loves you.




Sent from Samsung tablet

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jireh...


I lay down to sleep at about 5a.m, my heart was heavy… I usually stayed up till 3/3.30am to pray and study and watch an episode of Joseph Prince on TBN before crawling into bed. But on this day, I went online after JP’s ‘Destined to reign’, I sat in the study browsing and daydreaming about a trip /holiday my heart yearned for. I knew it was more of a luxury than a necessity, but I needed a break, and I was broke. Before I drifted off to sleep, I sent a sigh up to God “daddy I really want this”
My phone rang at about 8am, the name on the caller ID was nothing short of a miracle… it was my uncle. The one who is ever so busy and hardly ever calls, the only time he gets to show that he cares is on one on one visits, which was rare cos we lived in different towns then. The one people would scramble to get a call from… and he was calling me. I knew it had to be God. The sleep was completely wiped out of my eyes as we spoke that morning. I mentioned my trip and that’s how I got the money for one of the best holidays I ever had, I even came back with change :p
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I prepared to travel to London. I had planned my trip with the profit from a deal I was trying to broker; I even had a mental list of the things I would buy and places i would go. Everything was going so well… at the last minute,(refer to previous post) after my hope had risen to it’s peak, everything crumbled, the deal went flat. There was no source for a ticket for me.
I refused to let myself get weary, I told everyone who asked the date I was leaving. One night, about a week to the day I was slated to travel by faith, I got a call from my bro-in-law to meet him in his study, he was online booking his ticket, and he asked when I was traveling, I told him what date i planned to live, but I didn’t have the cash, my deal didn’t go through and he said he’d buy my ticket along with his… Yayyyy!!!!
I traveled for Christmas without a dime. I refused to make the calls that’d give me the cash; I refused to be that person scrambling or begging for money to travel. I was at God’s mercy. He provided the ticket; he would take care of me. What was more important to me was that I’d be with my nieces for the holiday, all other things didn't matter. I went with nothing, and I wasn’t depressed about it. I don’t understand how, but I always had my needs met, I always had cash and I always shopped. I shopped so much, I even had extra suitcases when I was leaving, just like when I travel with extra cash... I call it feeding of Elijah by the ravens experience. I don’t know where all the cash came from, it didn’t come in bulk, but it was always available for me. God used people to bless me.
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Today? I’m preparing for a trip, it’s a friends wedding. We all know how expensive it is to attend weddings these days, from air tickets, to car hires to hotels. My bank accounts aren’t smiling at me; neither is my wallet romancing me. I was almost getting worried about it all, then I remembered how God came through for me in the past… he got my tickets to go abroad, why would I even imagine that he wouldn’t provide for me for a trip within Nigeria? Am I high on something or what?
I remind myself of the Israelites. How alike we are. We see God’s mighty hand in our lives, but we’re so little in our thinking and in our faith that we never let ourselves remember how he came through in the past, meaning he can and will surely come through again. You would think after witnessing all the plagues in Egypt, after seeing the red sea part and seeing the wind bring it back together to drown their enemies, after bitter water turning sweet and drinking water from the rock, after seeing God’s mighty hand work for them, they would never doubt, they would never fear. But they never stopped mumbling and complaining with each new challenge... that's why they underestimated God's power in their midst and missed out on entering the promised land when they should have.
How we break his heart when we doubt his powers. When we forget the greater things he’s done and make an idol out of our worry for little needs that have to be met.
Here’s David, he faced Goliath, but he didn’t allow fear to drain his strength… instead, he remembered the lions, he remembered the bears, he remembered how he fought and defeated them with his bare hands, he remembered how God always strengthened him to protect his sheep… thus he knew he could tackle the giant as well.
May God deliver us from that attitude, may he give us a heart of remembrance.
So imma just chill and believe… and by the time I get to the wedding all dolled up, no one would ever imagine I let myself think long and hard about making the weekend a great :P

Friday, April 13, 2012

Encourage yourself... Hustle real hard.

There’s loads of opportunities flying around in Lagos… you’re sure to catch one if you know the right people, or you're at the right place at the right time. I have caught deals out of the blue by hanging out with a friend and bumping into an acquaintance. You could be anywhere and find yourself talking deals the next minute.
Those million and one deals have lucrative life pimping effects accompanying them. The catch is, not all the deals go through… You have to be patient and STRONG!!!! It’s like holding three live fishes in your hand... there's always a struggle and no matter how well you hold on to them, they would wiggle out of your hand and you may be left with nothing or be lucky enough to hold on to one.

There are loads of frustrated people in their range rovers crying… hitting it big on one deal and living the life, but chasing some other to maintain it and it just doesn’t work out.
I’ve had hundreds of deals practically seating in my palms, some I choose to ignore, some I choose to pursue with passion. I have gone through the pain of long meetings (some I seat in not having a clue but pretending to… the profit is too big a deal to act uninterested), emergency meetings when I'd rather be sleeping, composing emails with language i have no business using, phone calls that make you broke (but then you don’t mind cos the profit…oh that profit) And just at the last moment, after everything has been agreed on, something goes wrong and one party (probably sent by the villagers who hate you :P) bails out because of some bank issue or the other, getting BG’s can be a pain, and our banking system and lack of trust makes it difficult for the business environment. Or some party at the last minute realizes he can’t do business with the other party just because he got some mail from some country(you wouldn’t believe the pettiness in it all)... All the holidays I planned and first class trips come crashing down in a mean mean way… talk less of the money invested in my hot pursuit.

It’s never easy… and if you’re not strong enough you would faint, you would give up, you would dust the hustle off your shoulders. I enjoy broking deals for people. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, If I get a call, I’d get excited and energy I never knew I had comes bursting. No deal has clicked in quite a while. Like I said, you see the money, sometimes you even smell it and mentally book your trips and do all you have to do with the money, but it just turns somewhere when its time to hold it. It’s easy to get discouraged and ignore the next call. But I still stand strong and excited when the next call comes in…

Sometimes I wonder how David must have felt… there he was, anointed the next king by Samuel, you would expect an instant change in his life. But everything seemed to be stalled, he moved to the palace, not as a king but as a helper of King Saul, he killed the giant and won battles for Israel, he even married the kings daughter, but he wasn’t the King he was anointed to be …  he became a fugitive, living in the mountains, in caves on the run from king Saul. It was easy and even somewhat acceptable to think the anointing was just a freak show, a joke, it was easy for him to give up. For every battle he fought for survival, it was easy to throw his sword and choose not to fight anymore. He didn’t. He encouraged himself.

Once, he came back from a mountain top experience, won a battle with his close allies and supporters, trusted men whom he loved. He got victory only to come home to Ziklag to see his house in a mess, the wives and children of he and his friends had been kidnapped and their homes burned down.
These men who fought with him turned against him, 
"David and his men burst out in loud wails—wept and wept until they were exhausted with weeping. David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail widow of Nabal of Carmel, had been taken prisoner along with the rest. And suddenly David was in even worse trouble. There was talk among the men, bitter over the loss of their families, of stoning him."I Samuel 30:5-6(msg)

How many times have we felt betrayed by those close to us? How many times have we felt victorious on one end only to find the other side in total shambles? How many times have we gotten a signed deal only to hear the Banks wouldn’t assist you? How many times have we failed at a task?
This was David a man who was anointed as the next king some years ago, but living as a fugitive here, not sure if or when that promise would come. David who must have been tired of trusting, of waiting, of hoping, of fighting, of running…

David weary from another one of the many battles he’d been fighting to stay alive…. Now he had an internal one, like he didn’t have enough troubles… every one had turned on him. And so like any human who has had enough would do, he broke down and cried in frustration, the bible says they cried till they were exhausted with weeping. As he cried, he realized he could do no more In his strength. " ...But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God " 1 Sam 30:6
He reminded himself and God of all the times God had rescued him.

"Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad" Proverbs 12:25 

When all feels like it’s lost. When we really have no idea…. Then we’re left with the simple task of encouraging ourselves in the Lord. He’s promised us he would never fail us, lets remember that and begin to speak... “I am more than a conqueror in Christ. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I am beautiful and wonderfully made, whoever finds me has found a good thing and obtained favor from God, before I was formed he set me apart. His plans for me are for good and not for evil.... the promises of God to us are spread out in the bible for us to grasp at whenever we feel down.

"And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all."1 Samuel 30:8

I guess this verse is why I'm ever perky when my phone rings with a deal... I draw strength from God, asking for favor... if it doesn't go through, well there's always another phone call that would come, the failures are not enough to stop me, especially when i have had a taste of the success. Like God instructed David to “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
I'll keep pursuing, knowing I'll surely overtake and recover it all soon (all those trips that came crashing down… I’ll recover ☺).

Whatever you're waiting on God for, a promotion, a breakthrough, marriage, a job, a deal… keep pursuing, keep applying, keep dating, keep working hard… don't give up easily, If David could wait, then you can... you'll overtake, you'll recover all you lost in your waiting, Stand on the promises on God and know that he is God indeed.

Sometimes it's hard to see God's plan in the midst of our concerns, but in these times we must remember "Great is Thy faithfulness." @Materwilliams




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Domestic Staff... Some households do 'ave em.

When it comes to domestic staff, it takes a whole lot of will power and self control to stop yourself from hitting your head on the wall continuously. They know how to frustrate patience out of you.

It was about ten thirty in the evening, and mum made me drive out with her to drop off a house help that's been with us for a couple of years.
She came with barely nothing, not even an understanding of English...
I remember coming home for a few days and meeting her for the first time, i drove her out that weekend and she was scared, she wondered how we were going to get back home... i was amused.
I guess i should have involved myself and told mum to calm down and give the girl a chance. I always thought mum complained a lot over nothing, and exaggerated her woes... that's till i came home and i understood.

I tried to talk to her on the side, put your head down, you're going to a good school, wearing nice clothes, eating whatever you want as opposed to being in the village. It's a good life, don't mess it up. But maybe i spoke too soft, maybe my sisters joked too much... or maybe we over did the clothes? Cos all of a sudden, the skirts were shorter, there were boys, phones and attitude. Oh well, she's gone, i miss her, but i guess there is a wisdom in all this.
And they advise the men to marry a woman from the village? Good luck good Sir.

I was on my way to the bank with the driver. We stopped for about one minute at a T junction, a traffic warden was directing the traffic. There were two cars in front of us, my head was bent, reading a book when i heard cars honking and the warden staring menacingly at our car, the cars in front had moved and the driver was sleeping... not dozing, sleeping. I was too shocked to say anything, then i screamed his name and he woke up, confused for a few seconds before moving. He proceeded to explain himself, apparently he wasn't sleeping, he saw his friend at the other side of the road and he was waving at him, thus he didn't know when the cars in front moved. I couldn't believe the lie, and the fact that he was smiling at how good his excuse was made me mad... i was too mad to be mad at him. It was a hot and tiring day, i couldn't afford to dwell on that or call him out on his lie.

This driver, is a far cry from the previous who stayed with us from my primary school days to my final year in uni. He isn't as smart as the last and sometimes i think it's only favor that has kept him on this long, i wonder how mum copes with him.
I remember sashaying out of Hilton in Abuja, all i wanted was a quick trip to the salon and back. He brought the car to the entrance to pick me up, and just as i had my precious 'joy girl' moment, you know like in the joy soap ad where everybody stirred, i got into the car and i noticed him trying to reverse, i couldn't figure why he had to as the front was clear and he could just drive off, but i guessed he was smart enough to know another car had pulled up behind him... my bad, he wasn't. He ended up bashing the car. It was embarrassing as i had to get down from the car to access the damage, luckily the concierge of the hotel knew i was a guest and sorted it out for me, the Oga wasn't in the car, thus i ended up giving the near frantic driver the money for repairs.... instead of the driver apologizing he kept mumbling, i should have left him to sort the issue out.

We came home early the other day, mum and i, and i noticed one of the house helps run from the security post when she saw mum was with me in the car. Mum was mad... she asked the security man what he was doing with her? "have you now married and kept a wife in my house?" I wish he just said sorry and ended it there... but he denied having anything to do with her, apologised and said he was lonely and asked her to come and keep him company. That killed me. I let mom do all the raging for both of us.

There was another house help who gave me one of the dirtiest slaps of my life... he saw a mosquito sucking on my fresh mosquito haven skin and couldn't bear to let my precious blood violated. That slap gave me sparkles... the good thing is he killed the mosquito. I know of people who harm themselves all in the name of killing mosquitoes only to end up with an empty palm.

And one of my classic domestic staff moments; I was about fourteen i think. I slept with my sister on this night, and in the middle of the night she woke up to a sight that still makes me cringe when i think about it. The house boy(best imagined as Ugwu in half of a yellow sun) sneaked into her room and was all cuddled up with me in bed. I don't know how he made it to the room, i don't know what he was thinking... all i know is that he climbed into the bed and held me and we both slept, a deep peaceful lovers sleep :|
It hurts me to think that i didn't notice anything weird or wake up to notice the atrocity before she did...Yuck!

There are others... with Ripley's believe it or not sort of stories. I just can't!!!!

It takes a whole lot of patience and grace to deal with domestic staff.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Oh what Joy...


He gave me back my life. Took me from the miry clay and placed my feet upon a rock. He loved me for real, loved me beyond my flaws.
I had not felt love since the day I began to listen to the voices in my head. I tried to fight them off when they started. I tried to ignore them, but the pressure was more than I could bear. I started listening to them, I obeyed their commands, I grew insane with the conversations they made in my head and the bitter laughter they sounded through me. I was their slave.
I stopped feeling love, not the day I let any man who would, have access to my body, not when I grabbed at mother and scratched her, leaving a deep scar on her beautiful face, not even on the day I flung a jar of wine at father… or when I beat cousin Anna to a pulp and tried throwing her down the well. I stopped feeling love on the day I took a knife and tried to pluck out the eyes of my little nephew, his innocent eyes made me feel like he was listening to our conversations, and mocking me, his innocent eyes made me angry.
The voices in my head… they were active and cheered me on when I obeyed them, and just when the deed was done, they would go quite and leave me to feel the shame of what I just did for a few minutes before taking over again. What torture. I roamed the streets, I was a street dog, one to be ignored and avoided where possible. I ate from the scraps of peoples left over. I fought with dogs for a meal; I shared the floor of street corners with rats.
My life changed the day I walked through a crowd that gathered in my town of Magdala, I saw a man, the one everyone seemed to be listening to, with eyes like that baby, innocent and filled with love, but interpreted by the voices as a look of mock… I rushed at him, I going to pluck out those eyes with my nails, a big man caught me before I could reach him… and then my prey looked at me and said, “get out of her” in a strong authoritative voice, he wasn’t speaking to me, he was commanding the voices within me. And for the first time in years, the voices shut up in fear, and i shook violently as they struggled to leave me, I spun round and round as I felt them leave, they were seven demons I was later told. After the last left with a deafening scream I fell on the ground weak and exhausted but as light and glad as ever. The master Jesus picked me up himself, and ordered the big one who stopped me earlier to get me something to eat, his name was Peter. It was my first real meal in years.
I never looked back from that day on, I followed him wherever he went, and not even Peter’s sternness could scare me. Out of Magdala we went and everywhere we went, he healed, and performed miracles so great. All I wanted to do was be around the one that gave me back my life and my dignity. I found a new family, people who loved me beyond my past. I got to have normal conversations with the women in the group, Mary the mother of Jesus who treated me as her own daughter and Joanne the wealthy woman who had no trace of pride in her. I helped in cooking and cleaning and mending… Nothing excited me more than seating in the corner and listening to the master to teach. Without the voices in my head, I was able to take in a whole lot of mysteries and proverbs he told. He opened the eyes of my mind to new possibilities. His words gave me new life every time I listened. I was blessed indeed.
Nothing shocked me more than the moment when he was arrested and sentenced. It was a bad sight. My master, my teacher… the one filled with love treated with such scorn. I walked with Mary his mother, unable to comfort her as I was beyond broken myself. I held on to John the disciple. I looked around for Peter, I wanted his strength at that moment, I wanted that part of him that gave me the scare to be close by, and maybe it would scare the vultures perching on my Lord too. I wanted my Lord to do something. He is mighty, I knew that for sure. I willed him to call on the angels, for every step we took to the crucifixion; I had an expectation, an expectation of something extraordinary happening and those who scorned him struck dead. But nothing of that sort happened.
Seeing him on the cross, between two convicted criminals brought on an animal rage within, it made me desire my past, the torment of those demons were better than the torment of seeing him on the cross, seeing him suffer to death for nothing.
My life seemed to have ended the moment I heard him scream his last words and take his last breath… The darkness that fell in that hour took away my hope… my heart was left in darkness, pitch-black nothingness at the death of my rabbi. I was a sheep without a shepherd. Where do I go to, whom do I follow? Who will love me like the love of the master? The words spoken to Job rang in my head “curse God and die” I will curse him, and I would die… right after I anoint my masters body. We watch in silent grief as his body is taken down, wrapped up and carried to a tomb for burial. We would be back to anoint him after the Sabbath, and then I would die.
I couldn’t wait for the others and so I went ahead, at the crack of dawn. The stone was rolled away from the entrance. My heart stopped at the sight, would they deny me this last joy too? Who would do that? The thought carried my legs faster than it’s ever gone as I ran to inform the disciples, John the beloved, and Peter… Peter who I was glad to see back in the fold went to confirm my claim. I ran behind the two back to the tomb, I was half expecting to see that I made a mistake, that my eyes had failed me. But alas, it was still wide open and empty, the look on the disciples faces took away my last strand of strength. I fell at the entrance of the tomb and wept. I refused to go with Peter and John as they walked back to where the others waited. I would crawl in and lie down where he lay for death to take me, and so I knelt to look into the place I would breath my last. Inside  sat two men dressed in white one at the foot and the other at the head of the place I wanted for me. How did they get in there I wondered. Or were the spirits back to dwell within me, was I hallucinating again?
Their question jolted me back to reality, they were real after all “woman why do you weep” they asked. 
Why wouldn’t I weep? I was a woman broken beyond repair, a woman snatched from the belly of life and joy into darkness and emptiness. I was a woman who watched love destroyed on a tree like a common criminal. I was a woman who had been denied her last meaningful task of anointing the masters body before I entered my own everlasting sleep. I let out a sigh when I realized they were waiting for an answer “They’ve taken my master, and I don’t know where they have placed him”  I replied amidst sobs. I felt a presence behind me as I spoke, I turned around to look and another stranger stood there and weirdly asked me the same question “why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
My patience is running out. I can’t keep talking to strangers, I can’t keep telling them the reason for my sorrow, who would understand? Maybe this one knows where he is, I’ll confront him and give him no choice but to lead me to the masters body. "Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him." I demanded of  him.
“Mary” the stranger replied, in a familiar tone, ooh what joy… how could I have missed this? It is my Lord.
“Rabonni” I cry out and reach out to hold him. But his abrupt response stops me.  
"Don't cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'"  
He smiles after his words. This is him indeed. How it has come to be, I know not. For I saw him myself, I saw him hang from that tree, I saw his side pierced, I saw him buried, but here he is, I am standing before him, he is smiling at me, I can’t touch him as much as i want to, but I can feel him, my eyes drink him up… My heart beats again, the light of his presence has driven out the darkness, hope has been restored, I have not been forgotten or abandoned like I thought. There is a reason to live… I feel alive again, I died at the foot of the cross, but I have been brought to life by the tomb and the sighting of my lord.
I don’t want to live him incase I never get to see him again, but I know I have to, my excitement, the new life bursting in me, wouldn’t let me stay longer. I have a task, me, the one with the unclean spirit, the reject, the one who planned on cursing God. I, Mary Magdalene,  I was the one chosen, the one to bear this great tidings, the first to see my Lord alive again. I smile at him, I almost tell him to promise I’ll see him again… the twinkle in his eyes tells me he knows what I’m thinking, it tells me I will always have him with me.
I have good tidings, I run even faster than I did this morning. My Lord is risen. He’s alive, not even the grave and the scorn and vileness of the people could hold him captive. He is lord indeed. Praise the Lord God of Israel. Oh Mary, his mother… I want to jump up and down with her as I share the news, I want to hear Peter’s scary roar of laughter, and see Johns twinkling eyes, I want to see Joanna, and the other Mary and all the other disciples laugh again,  I want to see their life restored like mine has been by the risen Christ.
Glory.
(John 20)
****
He was broken that we may be made whole. May the power of Christ's resurrection work in us and bring to life ever part of us that has been dead in sorrow. May the light of his rising shine in our hearts and give us a light of peace and joy.
Have a happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Popeye...

[singing] "He's Popeye the Sailor Man. He's Popeye the Sailor Man. He's strong to the finich cause he eats his spinach, he's Popeye the sailor man"

I'm not sure i loved the old cartoon character 'Popeye'... he freaked me out(he was ugly and he ate vegetables... yuck).
From his build, to his slurred speech and his walk... everything about him was dice to me. Even his heroism.

Every episode featured a clash between he and his arch enemy, the big mean villain Bluto, who was just so mean, he even proudly sang about his mean self "I'm so mean, I had a dream of beatin' myself up. 'Broke my nose, I broke my hand, I wrestled myself to the ground and then, I choked myself to death and broke the choke, and woke up. Aaaarrrrrrgh. I'm mean. You know what I mean. If you know what I mean, you'll know what I mean! I'm mean! Meaner than... , I sure am mean. Yeah, mean. I'm meaner than that. You know what I mean. I'm so damn mean! I'm mean!"

You see, Bluto loved Olive Oly, who happened to be Popeye's love interest, and always attempted to kidnap her.
When Popeye ate the can of spinach... he got all this strength and the world was just a little crunchy nut to him. Bluto was always defeated, although he gave popeye a fair amount of thrashing before the he got empowered by the spinach, and beat the pulp out of his oppressor.


As unappealing as it is, i guess we have to see ourselves as Popeye (yeah, you're cuter than he is i know.) The word of God as written in the bible is our spinach. Most times, we're all just a pile of muscles with no strength in us... a bunch of larger than life Christians with no substance in us, and so when we're attacked by the devil, when he tries to kidnap our Olive Oly, which is our faith, our righteousness, peace and joy.... we're weak and helpless and fall prey to his trap, getting easily discouraged and falling into temptation.
If only we remember to take a regular portion of spinach everyday, we would have strength enough to fight off every weapon formed against us. Jesus used the written word to fight temptation. We can too.

Times when we get weak and discouraged, prayer is perfect. But then, what is prayer without the word? It's like watering the ground without planting, we just make the soil soft, but there's no seed in there to grow... its all dead. A constant supply of the word in us is where our strength lies.

I'm still a little stubborn when it comes to eating my spinach, Bluto gets the upper hand sometimes, because i let myself  get so distracted and end up with an unbalanced diet... Then i start to feel weak and realize i need my meal to defeat the Blutos' in my life. When i do, just like magic, strength is restored to my soul, there's a confidence in me and a walk of reassurance with Olive Oly resting peacefully in my arms. Bliss!

Remember, a spinach a day beats the hell out of Bluto. I pray for grace to eat our vegetables, to be refreshed and strengthened by the word of truth daily.

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