In the waiting room…(1)

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No shortcuts

2yrs to the day, my mom passed from here to the other side where time ceases to exist. A side where the hope of eternity is finally made manifest. Devoid of drama, pain, disappointment and anguish, what could come close to comparing. She’s gone and yet a piece of her remains, not to spite us but hopefully to guide us through memories created together and shared. I am a Christian and come what may, I pray the first words out of my heart in every situation is “I want to give thanks to my personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Now just before you rush off in righteous indignation, my choice is to thank Him IN (not FOR) EVERY situation.

So today just seemed like a good day to get back into the saddle, having been incommunicado for like forever, and for that I apologize. And in retrospect, a tea party can be better than writing a dirge depending on what the outcome is. Again, much wisdom is learned in the house of adversity. This is me taking back what’s left of my life and pushing away the depression that so eagerly awaits, ready to submerge me in a litany of woes. It never really is about how much you have but what you do with what you have that counts, and I’m talking about the long run, people!

There are no waiting rooms for short cuts, and it’s the waiting room experience that I’m going to dwell on just a tad longer than a pensive note in a musical drama. It’s been a long time and still I am unaware of where or when the end will come however instead of just passing away time dwelling on frivolous tasks, I need to apply one of my own lessons – there’s truly nothing as frustrating as spending energy on stuff that’s beyond my control. So with each new day, I am thankful that God’s not done with me yet.

A couple of days ago, I came across the well documented story of the exodus of the chosen people (God’s very own) from Egypt. This isn’t the first time I’m reading it but something was just different. There are mysteries to the life we are passing through that will never be understood. It’s a mystery that some have already been foredestined for destruction, why? I don’t know however I know I’m not one even though every waft of breeze seems to have a contrary opinion. So, here’s the most powerful leader that existed at that time and for some mysterious reason (which in this context was God hardening his heart), he just refused to see reason.

Now I’m talking about a rod turning into a snake (and for those of us who understand that there’s more to life than meets the eye), you can sit back and say other rods too turned into snakes…..but hold on just a second longer; the rod now a snake swallows up the other snakes and then returns to being a rod. No girth added, even after swallowing up other ‘ro…snakes’. Now that sure would catch even my attention but not Pharaoh’s. That snake exercise was just one of several extraordinary events – water turning into blood, frogs competing with the entire populace for space, painful boils, flies and still Pharaoh was unperturbed. Just another day in the office? Now permit me to interject this, “woe to anyone who decides to be God’s adversary”……there’s no coming back from the dead on that one.

And then it strikes home, his son (the heir apparent) is recalled by His Maker and then suddenly, it’s no more a negotiation exercise. Rather it is about how fast can you get out of our land so we may have some appearance of peace and stability? Now I truly can relate to the next part, those who had been marginalized and oppressed for centuries, left richer than they could ever have imagined. They were ‘paid’ to leave and then right after their exit, Pharoah as though waking up from a trance, asks himself, “what have I done?”. For me, the uniqueness of the situation, is that there was no history of mental illness on Pharaoh’s part and so I would categorize that question as being rhetorical.

So as most would, he reacts to the situation by countermanding his own authority, to save face. Now, while many are enthralled by the actions of The Sovereign God, Pharaoh embarks on trying to save his face and re-establish his authority, which at this point would be clear to any rational mind, that it is subject to a higher authority. He puts together the largest, most elite army at his disposal and gives chase. Reaction is equal and opposite, but wisdom teaches that it’s best to respond in the face of challenges because a response is borne from a process of careful thought and sought counsel rather than acting impulsively.

It is so much easier to be part of the crowd because being different is not an easy path…..

From Venus…

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Admittedly, resentment and bitterness only hurt oneself, so I may be a little bit unsteady but I’m still holding on because I don’t think He’s done with me yet. I’m not capitulating as I watch but it seems like something is unraveling and I just might have the power to slow it down because inevitability cannot be stopped. It’s mother’s day and the least I can do is share the memories we made together that I’ll forever cherish till we meet again. There’s some irony in God’s playbook because He made man from dust and woman from man’s bone. Now metallurgy not required, we undeniably rely on fact that bone is stronger than dust but there again in full display is our inability to grasp divinity.

It’s been close to 2years since you got called home however your legacy still lives on. Everything I am today, I owe to you in some way. I recall rolling my eyes when you inexplicably went into the tale of my childbirth to my friends but that’s the beginning of just how amazing you were because you made a choice, you had me. I tell people that I wasn’t your favorite but despite that, you poured your entire being into raising all 7 of us, 3 of us felt your ire directly however, that’s why I could contribute in those after me and that’s how I am the father I’ve become, ill-health or not. So thank you, because raising 6 sons is not a feat for the faint hearted especially when you factor in the cities we lived and grew up in.

We have always been dog-lovers but as a young kid, you bought me a night shirt that I still remember and it had the picture of a cat with the words, ‘I’m just PURR-FECT!’. That in itself marked the choices I made and still make because nobody’s perfect but I strove to be as close to it as I could because you showed me how. You taught me to acknowledge that I was in charge of my life’s story; you taught me to believe in myself. Nothing couldn’t be surmounted as long as I believed in myself and today, I pass that message to the next generation. You had your own flaws but when it came to us, you laid it all out and even though you banned fighting at home, I still got into it outside because the streets crush the feeble and I will never describe or be described as feeble.

You bought me my first tie, even though it was to placate me and little did I know that wearing ties would be a signature. My childhood pictures are replete with images of me in bow ties and I look at them today and appreciate the big picture you saw of me even then. Dining was a formal affair especially dinner because you had already committed to teaching even before motherhood and so dinner was always a family affair. With you, there was no defined roles determined by gender and I’m thankful for that. Notwithstanding the fact that we grew up with house helps, you always said, “I will never raise up another’s child to the detriment of mine” and so there was no distinction between what I or the house help could do. It was confusing back then but now I understand.

You took me to purchase my first pair of grown-up shoes (driving was still years away), standing by the side while I made my selection knowing there was a budget to abide by. And when peer pressure came, you never buckled because you taught me that it was more important to be different and true rather than being part of the crowd. You taught me that contentment and self-esteem was a choice, because the road less traveled was usually the better route to take. You taught me to treat ladies with respect even before I had a sister, a trait that’s fast disappearing in today’s world. Chivalry is still as important and more needed today where the battle of self-identity has been flipped on its head; what’s right is right regardless of time.

You took the time (how?, just another pointer to who you were) to teach me driving at 15, intricately weaving in the need to be responsible at the same time. Reading your crime magazines ensured that I could deal with fear and also understand that the heart of man is desperately wicked. Striving for excellence, I knew you were in the auditorium when I got my first award/scholarship as a freshman in high school, because even though I didn’t see you, I could hear your car keys jingle each time you applauded – that was your thing; wearing your car keys on your pinkie. Your ability to effectively utilize the network (and undervalued profession) of teachers ensured that I sought the straight and narrow even when the exuberance of youthfulness came calling with whispered lies and well conceived folly. You were strict and harsh when the occasion called for it and just the memory of the last ‘whupping’ was enough to keep the foolishness away for a season.

You nudged me to understand that salvation was important and essential, making my personal walk with God a decision I made entirely on my own. Acknowledging that there’s more to life than meets the eyes was the foundation of my Christianity and yet I’m still learning and paying it forward till date. Discarding ego, I learned crafts (it was your standard) that positioned me well enough to understand that being your own boss was better than being the best employee. I learned culinary skills from your glossy magazines and catering books as well as being in the kitchen with you. You taught me that adventure was good because curiosity could be a villain. You taught me that freedom was not the absence of rules but rather the opportunity to be disciplined and control myself at all times. You taught me that vulnerability wasn’t a weakness however, building relationships that bettered me would always keep me growing.

Thank you for being the best mother that I needed and happy mother’s day! Till we meet again in Zion, continue in your rest and I hope I made you proud.

Adieu!

The Loss & The Pain…

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Wear it well

It’s still so unreal…31 days ago precisely I received a call with information that could have been phrased better (but semantics aside, we get to choose to be kind or mean, compassionate or manipulative). 31 days exactly and my life has forever been inexorably altered, not knowing how scarred I am, I do know I’m not the same person.

For 2 decades and 4 couples, I’ve always asked myself ‘what would Jesus do?’. Now I can’t seem to do that or mebbe my ears have copped out on me (something on this body seems to give in every other day currently) and I just need to be louder. He is sovereign (and was man too) and His reason for calling you home is not one I’d think of asking. Nonetheless, it’s pointless cos I know my mind lacks the ability to comprehend His reason but still I trust. As the veils start coming down, I still hear you say, ‘Edu, you’re my son. Everyone can’t be like you.’

Mommy, I tried! Wiped off the derision spat at me in the last decade, ignored the haters and toiled as much as I could. You represented the glue, you walked the talk even though you were far from perfect like everyone else. Mommy, I forgave cos I was forgiven. I addressed needs when I saw them despite your reproach, ‘You know you need all the money you can get!’ but I’ve always lived by a different set of rules anyway. You taught me to be kind and compassionate but you also made it clear, each life has its own path.

The friends I was contemptuously told would abandon me are still here till this day, and I’m grieving hard because I erroneously believed my heart couldn’t be broken, pandering to the false notion of machismo. Nose to the grinding mill, I persevered like the orphan with no one to call family. Through the darkness, there was always the flicker of a candle spurring me not to give up. Now the dam is breached, irreparably I fear and I acknowledge my heart wasn’t ready because even with the odds and limitations, I try to assuage the pain by praying you know that I really tried my best.

Mommy, you said fighting doesn’t make you a man but the truth is that as a man, you must fight. And even though I’m confident that He who began the work in you has perfected it,, why can’t this gnawing hurt and sadness ease so I can breathe? Even as I look at the unbalanced scale, I hope I made you proud. I hope you see the plans, God willing, I had for you. I hope that even as I grapple with your tragic exit, you’re alive in me. But even though I was able to tell you how much I loved you, it still doesn’t bring the relief I crave.

Your wings were ready, my heart wasn’t so I still struggle to give peace a chance, that was your final mission. And forgive me if I don’t turn the other cheek because I see how quickly the vultures and hyenas lie in wait. Know this mommy, the wicked will have no peace and for the sake of He who hath called me, I will yet look to the hills for strength and I pray that I’m not consumed by this unrighteous rage. Rest in peace because you earned it but nothing can fill this void caused by your exit, still I will trudge on and ask that you guide me lest I give in to the darkness that beckons to me.

Thank you mommy, for making me who I am and teaching me that knowing the ‘who’ will always trounce the ‘how’. Adieu mommy and rest from your labors. I love you but miss you more, Edu.