Posts tagged stories

'Ambitious Millennial Christian' Kara

Kara as a case study, is a new feature on the blog in 2019. She’s decided to help us in analyzing some matters; se does this by sheer honesty about her life. You’ll be hearing a lot about her 🎉.
Today, Kara is an ambitious millennial Christian. She has good drive about her professional life. She’s in stride to ensure a good plan up till her retirement years. Kara is a a Christian: she loves the Lord and fellowships at a good bible-believing church. Finally, Kara is a millennial.
Dear Kara is prone to facing a problem that some other ambitious millennial Christians are facing today: using her mind, rather than the Bible, to judge.
She’s curious and often ready to learn; she’s an adherent to the blog post – blow your own mind. For this reason, she reads blogs, books, listens to podcasts and watches documentaries. She’s so used to this that it’s imbibed into her daily routine; she either listens while in transit to work, during her lunch break or as she’s falling asleep. Her mind is growing fertile. We are proud of Kara; she has a growing intellect, emotional perspective and a strengthening will.
Physically: Kara eats well ( we’re so proud of her). Kara goes a notch higher by posting all her healthy eating pictures online (for now, let’s ignore how this is a subtle attempt on her part to flaunt her good outings)
Kara’s body and soul are bouncing. What’s left? Her spirit.
On the mornings Kara doesn’t wake up late, she observes her quiet time. Kara remembers to listen to a message from her bible-believing church every once in a while – once a week. She’s not chanced to go for her mid-week service (except when on leave from work) but she goes on Sundays.
What that does to dear K is make her mind and body more fertile than her spirit. Imagine the daily nourishment on one hand and the average unpredictable nourishment on the other hand.
Consequently, she over-rationalizes homosexuality as a Christian, she permits a level of lasciviousness. She creates ‘Modern Christianity’. Her perspective is but a subjective 21st century skewed lenses.
Kara has an open mind, as it is said, to many matters. She considers the many possible sides and she gives varying worldviews a chance. The trouble here is: Kara’s bible isn’t as open as her mind is.

She judges everything on the basis of her experiences and understanding instead of judging her experiences and understanding on the basis of an unchanging God.
The solution is hidden in the whole exposition. Kara, feed your mind(knowledge-lover? Tick). Feed your body (fit-fam eater? Tick)
Above all, seek God’s Kingdom first and everything would be added unto you(Matthew 6:33).

For we fix our attention not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18″

Change your priority Kara.


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With abundant love,

Debby
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The danger of the single story perspective of your life

The single story.
It was the holiday season. The sun had set and evening calm descended upon the neighbourhood. The campus boys in the compound behind weren’t playing obnoxiously loud music. There hadn’t been any football matches during the day either; football matches that often sent their ball flying into our compound which, depending on the mood of our dogs, were licked, deflated or ignored.
My mum and elder sister were the only ones in the house with me. We were at the dinning table, probably one of those days when mum had just gotten back and we were gisting while she ate her dinner. It was a slow evening so I hadn’t told Emil to switch on the generator yet.
The soft glow from the solar-powered lamp illuminated the white walls.
The subject of our conversation must’ve flowed around perspectives for I ran upstairs to fetch my mini-laptop.
I remember setting it down on the table and clicking on Chimamanda’s Ted talk – “The danger of the single story.” – for both of them to watch.
I remember the pride that soared in my heart as Chimamanda’s steady and knowing voice filled the silence in the house.
Chimamanda’s talk on the single story is acclaimed one of the most-widely watched ted talks on youtube with 3.7 million views.
What was she saying in that talk?
How do I summarise that brilliance into a few lines here? I’d rather quote excerpts and urge you to watch the video here:

“I come from a conventional middle-class Nigerian family, and so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help who would often come from nearby rural villages. So the year I turned eight, we got a new houseboy. His name was Fide. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. And when I didn’t finish my dinner, my mother would say, finish your food, don’t you know people like Fide’s family have nothing? So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family.
But one Saturday, we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket, made of dyed raffia, that his brother had made. I was startled. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.”

She also tells of her previous single story opinion of Mexicans.
Also, her roommates disposition to her when she was 19 and new in the U.S.

If I had not grown up in Nigeria, and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images, then I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals and incomprehensible people fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves, and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner. I would see Africans in the same way that I as a child had seen Fide’s family

…all of these stories make me who I am but to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience and overlook the many other stories that form me. The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story”

Why am I bringing this up?
It’s easy for anyone on my campus fellowship who knows me as a spirit-filled sister to think all that there is to me is something fellowship-related once I’m through with classes. It’s easy for them to think I have no opinion on politics or assume I don’t read novels. assumptions.
It’s easy for someone to view the president of my fellowship as spiritkoko and not know that he likes football, a whole lot at that, or that the P.R.O of the fellowship has a sister who models in the U.S. I’m just painting a picture. We have lives, full lives. Those lives are often viewed through the lenses of sister and brother sososo, that’s okay once your lenses admit that generally, everyone is an human being and Jesus is happy about that.
Not the single story of ”I only see X in fellowship, and X is a student, therefore brother X is made up of classes and fellowship time”.
Single story. The danger of this single story is that brother X starts to live an insecure and people-conscious life.

“…The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story”

Essentially, you must know everyone is a person and persons are subject to idiosyncrasies and a full world of ideas and passions. That your prayer secretary may be nursing the ambition to be the next governor of Oyo state(and it might not make him any less spiritual than if he’d been hoping to be the next missionary). Everyone is a person and Jesus loves them like that, Jesus planted a huge number of those passions in their hearts and Jesus is happy to see them bloom. Jesus doesn’t think they should only pray in fellowship. Jesus supports your vice-president going to the gym.
I believe when you accept it about yourself, you’re able to accept it about others too. Then you’ll stop feeling quite ashamed when someone you’ve mentored spiritually discovers you do something other than study and pray. I was self-conscious for a while until God helped me out of it.
Or worse still, you’ll stop feeling ashamed when someone knows a member of your family isn’t born again. I mean, what? Shame?
Dear friend, live, breathe, bloom, blossom. You’re more than one perspective. The single story is just that, – single.
Tell your own story. Be your own person. Own your story.

so that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing over and over again, and that is what they become”.

What do you think? Care to share?

Freedom and light,
Debby

Fiction: Patient Shoulders

She felt it would last forever; the imminent separation. She did not want to face the implication of his leaving. She did not want to address the lump in her throat. She sat silently in the back seat of the car as her father drove steadily to the airport.
She’d thought she was certain where they were headed before now. She hated, with a blend of tolerance, the inability to read Sola’s mind at certain moments. He looked on ahead, sitting at the front seat beside her father, his chin lifted, just as the radio in the car droned on.
To think she couldn’t bring herself to stop liking his personality no matter what. She wanted to cry.
She felt the unease occasioned by her defiant silence shift to wrap itself around her father but Sola will seem immune. Her father impulsively tapped the steering wheel as he began to speak again, stopping to clear his throat
so have you heard any other news about your father?”
No sir,” Sola replied steadily “it’s the same.”
God will intervene” her father said.
“Amen”
She gazed out the window in despair.
At the airport, her father double checked the car security before they walked down to the terminal. Sola checked in his ticket and from where she sat with her father, she saw him speaking to the lady behind the counter in his easy manner. The lady cracked a smile. He walked back to where she sat with her father, looked at them both and nodded. “I’m set to go”
Okay then my son. Keep in touch” her father said and patted his back in a brief hug, smiling.
This time her eyes would not be averted. She looked at him, appearing bolder than she felt. She gave a small smile. He didn’t. He stepped closer and put both his hands around her shoulders to hold them in a comforting manner. She did not want comfort, anything but comfort, as her head throbbed with the onset of an headache. His grip was firm but not hard.
” you take care of yourself. You deserve care.”.
~~~
Three months later and she was walking down her street having bought soft drinks for the visitors they were to host in the evening.
For no reason at all, it came unboded into her mind, what Sola had last said to her: you deserve care.
Inadvertently, she snorted. It had been three ‘almost-relationships’ in her life and she was fatigued. She was prejudiced about relationships and on a whole, world-weary but she didn’t know how to help herself. Her father who knew the level of her closeness to Sola had not known how to, but he still tried to encourage her gently. Iyanu was past words of encouragement. She wasn’t sure she could even enter into any relationship successfully without a nagging fear that it would crash. She felt her own anguish and wished for a motherly advice.
~~~
The visitors they were expecting arrived in two cars. A metallic silver honda accord and a white space bus. She was in the kitchen frying the last round of plantain to go with the jollof rice when Dele, the adopted help, went to open the gate. She took a break to briefly view them from the sitting room before returning to the kitchen.
Her father soon joined the three men and two women. There was a lot of greeting and laughter.
~~~
Iyanu left the door to her room open once she’d served them their food and her father had introduced her as his daughter. With the door open, the visitors voices carried softly to where she was. The conversation after they’d eaten the food she served wielded itself from the upcoming elections to the issue of politics in the church, and then to Christian virtues. It was on this subject: Christian virtues, that they dwelt the longest.
Iyanu guessed it was the tall woman who was speaking at the moment about Elizabeth, wife of John the Baptist.
But you see that with all our bible knowledge these days, virtues like patience seem to have taken the backseat. Some people argue that if you have faith everything comes extremely fast. Quite true, but we must know the exceptions.
That wasn’t the case for Zechariah and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was old before she conceived. ‘Stricken in age’, the bible puts it
The woman’s tempo was going down and Iyanu rose from her bed where she had propped herself against the wall, leaning on her soft pillow. She took her plastic chair and sat by the door to her room for better audience.
…Heaven knew the right specifications for the woman who was to birth Jesus on earth. We were waiting for that Mary and so God kept Elizabeth childless for that purpose. Elizabeth had proven she wouldn’t disappoint him. They were stricken in age but she had come to understand like the three Hebrew boys that Faith is steadfast even if the answer from heaven doesn’t seem favourable at that time.
“Elizabeth was to birth the forerunner of Christ, a very important role and God trusted her well enough that until Mary is ready – that is old enough and engaged to Joseph, Elizabeth wouldn’t lose faith. He knew she would not stop loving him because the promise was yet to surface. It was a reckless trust she had – one not moved by time and season. The beauty of it all is that God could depend the plan of eternal salvation on her patient shoulders.”
In the distance the wall clock ticked a bit loudly.

In other news, Happy International women’s day.
Do share your thoughts and subscribe by e-mail.
As always,
Debby.

Imagination Express

So, it turns out some of the time, I write a few lines of fiction and I just can’t do a follow up, because a follow up appears to ruin it. I’ve decided to do what I please this 2017. It pleases me to tease you the way stories in my mind tease me every once in a while. Flash flash flash fiction!
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Lara ran the emry board over her nails again and allowed her fear to further grip her. She opened herself to every thought that wanted to possess her soul. Better to know the possibilities facing you than be caught unaware.
As the sun set filtered through the curtain into her apartment and her neighbour’s child’s shrill voice cut the air again with a followed “keep quiet now or I’ll beat you again”, Lara allowed the moment to catch up with her.

If wishes were horses

“Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.” Sylvia Plath

Helloooo there beautiful people. Hope you’ve been well. I should get to a non-fiction post soon enough. Let you know what has been up with me.
In other pressing matters, I saw the above quote yesterday. Sylvia Plath couldn’t have said it better. It’s so true about written words both fiction and non-fiction. In any case I decided to share this flash fiction I wrote a few weeks back. That quote prompted me to.
See this story you’re about to read, has some elements of reality in it. Fiction, I have always accepted is therapeutic. It takes a little of us.
What had she gained? Instead her seams were ruffled inside her. She didn’t understand. She couldn’t possibly get it. And the question Uju had asked ” a boy or a girl?”
Aanu knew in that moment that she shouldn’t have told her. There ought to have been a tearing inside of Uju if she got it, the type of tearing that happened inside Aanu the night she found out.
Aanu wished she had kept quiet and nursed the grief in her. It was always best after all not to expose yourself to outsiders. What had compelled her mouth to tell Uju she still didn’t know. What she had hoped to achieve evaded her. She felt like paper; flat and raw.
After Uju heard Toni had a baby, and put the picture on Instagram, Uju’s question was “why did she put it on IG?”
For Aanu that wasn’t meant to be the question. She felt exposed and mocked.  Toni was a part of her.  Opening up to someone who didn’t get it hurt.
She rubbed her palms together in hopes to get rid of the dark gap inside her.
They had dreamt together, herself and Toni. They had hushed conversations till early mornings. They washed socks for each other when that was all they had to wash and the other had much laundry to do. She had exchanged the Friday fish she didn’t like for Toni’ Sunday plantain which Toni considered too soft.
They had snuck to read each other’s diary. And knowing they couldn’t always keep their diary far away from human reach,  they sometimes interwove untrue stories along with the truth. They created a life they wanted by sprinkling their current lives with condiments. Lives more luscious with the boys who stayed around them. So when they snuck and read each others diary they read rich and enviable entries.
Life had happened to them all after graduation. Dispersed them, changed them .
The first time Aanu saw Toni after graduation, Toni had come to unilag to see her aunt who worked there. When they met and their bodies pressed together, Toni had not opened her heart, only her arms. Anu felt a sort of bereavement, and inadequacy. She had opened her heart and her arms without receiving same.
Consequently, they distanced themselves. Whenever she went down her Facebook feed, she would see Toni’s recent photo upload, stare at it then continue scrolling like she had never seen it. Now she wished she had liked it. Wished she had commented. When she had kept in touch. Wished. Wished. Wished.
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