Cowards aren’t we ?

Cowards are said to be the yellow livered scamps that take flight at the slightest indication of fear or trouble. Their surmise is based on the understanding that if they flee trouble then trouble and its woes will give them a wide berth. How wrong.

In this life that I have lived on this earth I have learnt that running away from problems might defer their bite but like the proverbial demon, they always come back seven fold. I have learnt that postponing what I can do now is basically upping the price that I will eventually pay when I get the courage to do the avoided task.

Cowards are not the only people who pay the price for our cowardice. Even those we are supposed to reach out to , those we are supposed to free by apologising to , those that we are supposed to forgive etc., all suffer untold pain because we are cowards scared of taking the bold steps and make things right.

At times we run miles , run up serious bills , cause irreparable damage when all we could have done is be courageous enough to eat humble pie and apologise. Instead we build legal facades, stonewall, hedge ourselves and build ourselves into an imploding summit that will eventually bury us.

At times we prefer to talk about people than with the people. We are so cowardly that we will go ten miles to discuss the woes of a neighbour whose ails just need our shoulder to cry on and a prayer to sooth their pain. And we boldly attest to being brave!! Cowards aren’t we?

We watch relationships die, marriages die and all we do is talk and gossip about what we see instead of walking across and sharing the pain and providing answers. We are scared of sitting down our troubled brothers but will rack up bills talking them down to our transatlantic kin. Cowards aren’t we?

We watch our friends die and we can’t offer to take them to a test station but we will gladly stand up to offer an obituary and tearfully and accurately state all the stages of their demise. We watch kin burrow themselves into alcohol and drugs and we marvel at how clean we are.

In this life I have lived I have learnt that one that will not speak to me about their concerns is a coward. Life’s cowardry is drawn from the fear of facing ourselves. It is centered on the fear of rejection or repulse, but I rather be rejected and repulsed on the basis of a courageous truth than to be welcomed and adored for plastic and fake loyalty.

Cowardice and pretense do not only affect the actor but also the poor soul being misled. Show me a man bold enough to bell the cat and I will show you a man who goes to bed with a clearer conscience.

Cowards. Aren’t we??

Hannah’s first morning sickness

This writing was inspired by Francine Rivers’ book “SONS of ENCOURAGEMENT”, it has given me a deeper insight to understanding God’s voice and it would be a treasonous sin if I did not acknowledge that fact.

Hannah was a woman in a dilemma: loved dearly by her husband but she could not bear children for the Lord had closed her womb (1st Samuel 1v5b). I am convinced that she was Elkanah’s love of the heart but since a man had to preserve his name a second woman (Peninah) was brought in to produce the children and boy did she produce!!

I am somehow convinced that if the issue had stopped with the production of children there would not have been much anguish but as with most bigamist homes, pain was inevitable. The good book speaks of her rival provoking her in order to irritate her (1st Samuel 1vs6-7). This went on every year and even distracted her from her annual spiritual sojourn.

I am somehow convinced that Peninah conceived as many times as she could (probably every year) so as to spite her rival. I imagine Hannah’s feeble attempts to send one of Peninah’s children to bring her water and the riposte that would follow couched along lines that were simply telling her to give birth to her own children who would run her errands. More pain. The pain was so much that Hannah would always be weeping and refusing to eat. Even the husband’s effort to commiserate with her did not help.

I am not sure what happened that year when the family went on their annual pilgrimage to Shiloh. Maybe the rival overstepped her taunts; maybe the rival fell pregnant immediately after giving birth, whatever happened, it triggered in Hannah a desire to offload to the Lord.

Finally it dawned to her that if the Lord had closed her womb then the only person to contend with was the Lord and not misdirected tears and refusing to eat delicious meals. It dawned to her that the source who could plug the river of pain was the Lord and like a drunken woman she offloaded her burden to the right place and source- the Lord.

She stopped concentrating on the pain the rival was giving her. She stopped listening to the henpecked husband’s endearments which were hollow as they did not stop him from siring more children with the pain giving Peninah. She made a vow to the Lord, she did not want a number of children equal to her rival, she did not want a child as a relic, and all she wanted was a child of remembrance who she vowed to dedicate unto the Lord.

Having come to the right source , having closed the receptacles that were allowing her rival’s pain into her life , having stopped shedding useless tears- she found the right source- she unloaded to God with a vow and went back home with a lesser burden.

Because she did not allow the pain to floor her anymore I am convinced she was able to concentrate on important issues that ply the link between a man and a woman. I am convinced that because she now had a pleasant aura around her (she was now eating and smiling more frequently) Brother Elkanah found himself in her tent more frequently!! The man had justification: he had rediscovered the vein of love that had initially attracted him to Hannah.

I am convinced that after one of the tent visitations Hannah woke up feeling queasy. Despite an effort to hold it down she woke up with a start and rushed out of the tent toward the ablutions but she did not reach them as her stomach heaved in a massive manner and she threw up in a massive trumpet. The unburdened woman just had had her first morning sickness!! Now the rival was quiet, she had no experience she had undergone that Hannah was not going to taste. Gone was the pain, gone was the scorn, gone was the acidic tone of voice for God had remembered Hannah.

So whatever Peninah situation we find ourselves in our focus should not be on her scorn and the children she spawns every year to spite our moment of infertility. Our focus should not be on shedding tears and starving ourselves. Our focus should be on taking our burdens to the only capable hands. Our focus should be unloading at the right platform and you have the greatest assurance the morning sickness will come!

Tomorrow, as the sun rises, count your Peninahs and laugh at them for their pain will not hurt anymore as you now know where to take your burdens.

count my scars

I still recall how I got my first major scar. An aunt had come visiting and wanted to polish my shoes for me. (She was going to be taking away her shoe polish). In the excitement and haste of an eight year old boy I stood up under an open window and the sharp corner made a crunching contact with my skull. Next I was all red and bawling like there was no tomorrow. I still have the scar up to today and I am very wary of where I seat and how I stand up.

Twenty six years later my scar was revisited. I was deep down in a foreign country on assignment and staying in one of those tourist resort towns where all roofing is natural thatch that overlaps the sides of the lodges. In a haste to get to a waiting car, I miscalculated the clearance height of where the roofing pole ended and I stood up under it. I saw red again and for some moments it sounded like my five senses had lost coordination and were all jumbled. I bled and had to use a facial tissue to stem the bleeding. A visit to the barber a month later revealed a scar that was about three centimeters long. I still have the scar and now know to stay away from standing up or exiting under roof ledges.

And so we all have scars. Scars have one thing in common, they bring pain. They are a constant reminder of what we could have done better or what was wrongly done to us. The remembrance of pain in most occasions is good enough to deter us from similar ventures that earned us the previous scars but at times it takes a second scar to jolt us back and heighten the significance of playing away from the scar zone.

Scars leave permanent marks. It could be gory slashes, disfigured faces, bumpy skulls, limps etc . . . . these are marks that show the presence of a scar. These marks tell a story of pain, a pain that when given a chance the bearers would not have opted to undergo.

But the worst scars are the invisible ones. Those that we cannot mask with mascara, those that we cannot pull woolen hats over, those that we cannot put long-sleeved items over- emotional scars. Scars of the emotion are dangerous because they do not have marks. No one limps because they have been hurt emotionally, no one wears a sling because of an emotional hurt and so the emotional scars are carried back and forth until when one explodes and in retrospect it is found that they had emotional scars.

We all have scars. How we handle our scars determines how we will move. Some carry scars like trophies to be admired by everyone, some lug their scars along to seek sympathy and piety and some will use their scars to justify their shortcomings. All these are on the losing trail.

One who learns from their scars and seeks to avoid getting more scars is the one who will live to tell a tale and see another day. So count your scars, learn from them and walk more circumspectly from thereon.

my monologues (3)

The christening tale must wait a bit. Something struck me as I drove past the rail town of Plumtree this afternoon. I saw a group of expectant ladies (actually, when is a lady a mother? On conceiving or on giving birth? – that’s another monologue for another day). So, back to the ladies, they were trooping in some line on the road leading to the Plumtree District Hospital. On their heads they carried bundles of firewood of different lengths and weight.

The long and short of it is that these ladies come to stay at the hospital waiting to give birth. Due to certain circumstances they cannot get access to electricity to cook and heat water at their awaiting quarters, so every day they troop out to get firewood and I guess everyday they have to walk a longer distance to collect the same amount of firewood.

This got me thinking, it means that the expectant lady who will come to wait to give birth at the hospital in three months’ time will walk more kilometers to get fire wood than the lady who currently is expecting and is already waiting at the hospital. This happens just because they have made a choice to want to give birth in an assured environment or certain developments have caused them to be referred to go and await delivery at the hospital. Whatever the situation, the birth place of their children has been determined and short of giving birth while gathering firewood, the birth cards are going to reflect Plumtree District Hospital as their children’s place of birth.

This made me to think deeply, nobody is born in a wrong place or at a wrong time. The circumstances might not be permissible but the time and the place is right. Even if birth is by inducing, that is the right time and place. Even if the mother goes into labour by being head-butted by an imbecile that is the right time!!

So, I was born at the right time. No other time could have been better. The environment might not have been the best but the time was the best. Any time less I would not have had the same circumstances, any time beyond I would have had complications exiting the womb and entering the Mother Earth. So I aver my birth was at the right time and at the right place for the right reasons.

Whether born in a sewer alley, or a rubbish dump, prison cell, palace or plane the fact does not change. The birth was at the right time for it is the successful birth that matters and not the success associated with the place of birth. Whether born out-of-wedlock or out of an act of rape is not the issue, the import is in the successful birth that began a path to be the best one can be irrespective of the place, circumstances and time.

The right time implies a right reason, purpose, destiny and blueprint, the circumstances do not matter but the resolve powered by the success of the birth should be fuel for all future aspirations, goals, visions and battles.

Next, I monologue the christening.