Of Salvation

I’d said I’d write today, for no genuine reason, just because I haven’t in a while. I hadn’t even considered what I’d write about till now.

I’m on the last bus home and the oh-so-familiar line everyone who buses in Lagos knows, pops in just before the bus even starts moving.

“Praise the Lord”

I am a Christian (oh! I fall every now and then, but the Lord loves me so hard!) and I cannot overemphasize how there is all the difference when you trust and believe in Jesus. I want to tell the world about this relationship and get people to come experience the goodness, but somehow, these preachings never ever resonate with me.

Here is why;

We need to move from telling people to come to Jesus because of the existence of hell. Motivation to accept Jesus should never be of the fear of hell. Like jeez! It makes me cringe everytime. Hell is real, yes, but it’s not a good enough reason.

People need to be told of love and sacrifice and how a “man” came only to die for them, even before their being and how he loves them so unconditionally!

If that’s not good enough reason, I don’t know what is.

A Glimpse of God

I’m one of those people who went cashless even before there were enough ATMs and POS terminals around. I just conveniently forget to withdraw. Somewhere in my head, it helps me spend less. In real life, it ruins my budget plans and makes me spend twice as much! Nonetheless, you’d still catch me with insufficient cash four out of seven days, and yes, today was one of those days.

I didn’t withdraw last night – conveniently forgot again. I’d thought “I’d just ask someone at home to loan me a tiny bit plus some more for emergency“. I had the thought till I slept for the night. Still had it when I woke up this morning. For some reason, I did nothing about it. My mum had put me in a bus already before I realized I hadn’t gotten any money from home and I had just a fraction of the total amount I needed to get to work.

The thing about this morning is it’s about 5:30am, it’s raining “elephants and horses” and the distance between where this bus would stop and the next ATM is probably 5kms (I do not really know what amount of distance this is though) away. I couldn’t believe my life. 

Somewhere in the middle of not believing my life… the bus guy asks for our fares and from absolutely nowhere, the guy beside me reaches out and says he’s paying for two; for both of us! There had been no prior conversation or anything. He just paid.

***

I like to think that there is a glimpse of God everyday, in the most mundane day to day activities that we experience. They are like tiny little miracles that we didn’t even ask for but we needed and they’re His way of letting us know He’s here. I live for those moments.

24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear – Isaiah 65:24

No Stranger, No!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Middle Seat.”

‘Cuz I like to paint the perfect picture everytime;

If you know a bit about Lagos, Nigeria, you do know it’s largely divided into many sects; the most profound division being the Islanders and the Mainlanders.

There’s this mini sect between the two, we’re the “betweeners”

We basically dwell on the mainland, but we spend the most part of our weeks on the Island. I like to think that we’re simply waiting for fate to take it’s course and we’d move up! Literally!

So, everyday, I take a bus to the island, to get to work.

Now, I’d like to cue in again, that in some unexplainable way, there’s some sorta communal feeling when you’re on a bus in the wee hours of the morning. So, we catch the last bit of the sleep we missed together, our heads falling on each other’s shoulders unexpectedly. Then, we wake up and have devotion together; the unexpected preacher starting off with “Let’s just zing diz worship song together” after which we get off wishing each other perfect days.

Mine has an extra twist to it, ‘cuz I take the same bus from the same spot every day, so at least 70% of the people on my bus are the same, everyday! All that’s left is to pack lunch boxes for everyone, in the spirit of communal living. Really.

On random days, roughly between the traffic and the fatigue, the person sitting next to me just glances my way… It’s always my cue to plug my ears and start nodding enthusiatically to sometimes  no song.

I’m not a snob. I’m just following instructions and avoiding a weird play of events.

On a given day, some months back, for some reason, the person sitting next to me and I were the only two awake. When he glanced my way, I reached into my bag quickly to avoid the conversation I was sure was coming. I had no earphones. :(

He waited a bit till I was settled and then began his onslaught. The conversation went thus:

Stranger: I’ve been seeing you everyday, you work on the island?

Me: Yes

Stranger: Where?

Me: Karimu Kotun

Stranger: No, I meant the name of the office.

Me: You wouldn’t know it

Stranger: Oh, Ok. I work on the Island as well. You might not know it too. 

Me: Ok

Stranger: Ahn ahn. Won’t you ask to see if you know it

Me: No

Stranger: Why?

Me: Nothing

Stranger: What’s your name?

Me: ‘Deola

Stranger: That’s a beautiful name

Me: Hmmm

Stranger: You won’t ask for my name

Me: No

Stranger: Are you always like this? Giving one word answers and all…

Me: My parents said not to talk to strangers

***

*Conductor screaming “Obalende bole o*

I shuffle off quickly, leaving Mr. Stranger bewildered :(

I’m not a snob. I’m obedient. 😀

Silver Linings

Yesterday,
Commute back home

My friend buzzed me on Skype with a link to a video comparing Siri, Cortana and Google now. Attached to the link was “Since you seem to like these things”.
My first real smile broke out.
Then he asked “How are you?
And this one time it felt okay to say “I’m not okay”

I’m not.
They say the first step is awareness and the next is acceptance, yes?

OK.

***

When I got to the bus stop, a random girl walked past me and said hello with a really cheerful smile.
I couldn’t ruin her day, so I gave it my best shot and said hello with a good smile too.
We ended up in the same Keke.

When she got to her bus stop, I took it further. I smiled and said “Ba-bye”
She gave me that irresistible smile again, walked back and paid my fare.

I didn’t get a chance to say thank you.
I got extra money to buy Chipsy!

***

I got my favorite seat on the bus – by the window.
Didn’t get a good sitting partner :(

I spent the entire journey trying to ensure his clammy skin wouldn’t rub against mine.

Still, I didn’t miss the sun setting in the sky!

 

Silver Linings - Sunset

<3 <3

 

***

I’ve been seeing some really huge mangoes everywhere, recently.
They’re literally as big as my head  and my head is very big.
I stopped over to make enquires.

A small girl walked up to me, said it was a hundred bucks and asked how many I wanted.
I said one, and asked what kinda mangoes they were
She said they’re called “Jekoyo”
Transalation: Eat and be filled.

I had the heartiest laughter in that moment

 

Silver Linings - Mango

She was right! I couldn’t finish it!!!

***

There’s this woman on the way to my house who sells the most unhealthy puffpuffs. Like they’re so oily and sweet at the same time, you’re literally crying about your fat destiny while you eat them. :(

With our fists held up with grit, my sister and I said “We shall indulge”
We hop on this bike and we (the bike guy and us) had the best convos ever! (see in following paragraph, this paragraph is dedicated to the puffs yo!

The puffpuffs were oily as ever, but they were good, so good. <3

P.S.: That woman is probably the only person who sells puffpuff at night. Freaky!

 

***

So, to the bike guy;

While my sister was buying the puffpuff (I’m too posh to be stretching my hand to buy that stuff flicks hair), the guy was peering intently at something.
I venture; “What are you looking at?”
He says; “That paper, I think say na 100 naira, I wan go take am”
I’m like gasp “But it’s not your own, your money isn’t lost!”
He says; “If you see money on the floor, you no go take am?”
I said; “No really. The only reason I’d pick money off the floor is if I am stranded and penniless. Somehow, I’d think it was God’s intervention” (No, I didn’t speak all this English to him
He said “Ah! Be there! Even if I get 10 million naira, if I see 1000 naira on the floor, I go still carry am! So far I no slap somebody collect am or break inside someone shop take am, I go carry am! Na Lagos we dey o!”

insert inspirational quote about these things, ‘cause I just can’t find the words right now

***

Still on the bike guy;

We bought him puffpuffs too (yeah, we is nice kids)
He was holding the nylon of puffpuffs and riding his bike yeah, and suddenly at some point, he flings his hand –the puffpuff nylon hand – in the air to shout at some other driver.
I had a mini panic attack. I’m like – in my head – oh no! If you do not want the puff puff, give it to me!
So he wouldn’t do it again, I said “What if someone snatches that nylon?”
He laughed and therein begun this speech; (pay attention)

He said he never locks his bike when he parks it for the night and that no one can ever steal it.
That even if he put dollars in a nylon on his bike and walked away, he’d meet it intact when he returned.
He’s like; “You no fit go to a mad woman say you wan check wetin she dey carry, so nobody fit touch my thing.

After a moment of silence, he said;
“That thing wey I dey talk, na like this you go get am.
Find female dog, when she born, one day after, carry one of the pikin, kill am. You go put the blood on anything/anywhere wey you no want make anybody steal”

He then proceeds to swear by the name of my Heavenly Father!
The chump!

(Thank you God for your merciful kindness!)

***

I got a call from a friend I had promised I’d call and didn’t. While I was going on and on apologizing, he says “hush, just wanted to check you’re fine” :)

 

There’s a lot of beauty in the world, it’s up to us to find them and make them our happy pills, our own silver linings,  no matter how hard it gets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parable of the Talents – Retold

This isn’t clear-cut “retold” like Maleficient or Cinderella, it’s how I picture the scenario every time I walk by…

I use the overhead bridge in CMS at least 3 times a week, on my way to work. I’ll walk you through the journey.

I’m walking from Marina road to the other side of the road where CMS bus stop is.

From the moment a passerby hits the path that leads to the stairs up the bridge, you’re faced with 5 to 6 or even more small children. They’d swarm around you like little ants to sugar, arms stretched upwards begging for alms.

If you’re able to walk pass without budging, there’s more ahead.

On the filthy bridge, filled with unexplainable liquid sipping downwards by the side and wrappers of all sorts of junk eaten by pedastrians, there are no less than seven adult beggars. Their disabilities are mostly “unspottable”, blind and one; obviously crippled. The kind of crippled that has limbs smaller than arms and has his butt permanently on the ground as his fixed position. He’s the servant with ten talents.

He sits on the bridge with a broom in hand and a yellow plastic bowl somewhere close. He sweeps the bridge to make it comfortable for us to pass and for him to sit. He moves with his hand on the floor to move his body and he sweeps the dirt off the bridge to the end of the stairs. He feeds himself off the proceeds that come from his yellow plastic bowl.

The first time I saw him, my heart thud with something I can’t explain. I walked past and kept turning back to look at him. No, he’s not sitting there to beg to survive, he’s working for it. I see people file up the bridge with something in their hands already, waiting to drop it in the yellow bowl. There are at least 6 others on that bridge, none of them look as sorry and helpless as he does. And none of them do anything extra to make a difference.

Call me sentimental, but seeing him makes all the difference for me. I said good morning to him today and he responded with the brightest smile and added “have a good day”.

He spoke clean english :)

Read the Parable of the Talents here… I’m suddenly not sure there’s a connection x_x