- Sometimes you need to hear someone else speak.
Yesterday morning I sighed many times as I engaged in a vulgar version of a prayer session where I asked why I was stuck and going nowhere. I am not stuck, I know. Progression is not something I can control, but my perception is impressionable, so I might as well have been stuck and I needed an answer, some explanation for this thoughtlessness in matters concerning me. Do you know? I asked God, that so and so–I listed real names, does not desire half the things I desire to be and yet, you give them so freely, and for me, you set traps, you quite literally frustrate me like an enemy. You act like the devil himself towards me, like you hate me. You must hate me, I told God, because there is no explanation for this, none I can understand right now, and I sighed. And I said too that I did not care whose stories were being used as examples of his faithfulness, that they were unbelievable, and I would be the only material to be used to test the scriptures. Not another’s life, but mine, and I sighed again.
I don’t know how many people are bold enough to blaspheme and tell the voice that speaks to them when they are feeling wounded and slighted to fokof, but I do and then I cry and get some recklessness spirit as my reward for a while, until God helps me again. My day progressed, and towards the evening, I was cruising on feel good hormones and studies, till I decided to contact a friend just as I was listening to even when it hurts by hillsong. I listened quietly, sang some words and sent a message to this friend, a former secondary school mate, a senior then but a friend for close to seven years now.I asked waddup?
I’d almost forgotten how much this friend loves to talk and tell me about his life, and how easy it was to not have to respond to keep it going. It was relaxing to just know things and think as I was getting to know them, and I realized too that it’s rare for me to have conversations with people who just present me with life lessons on a platter . I have said before that it’s tiring to always be the one teaching people things, and it would be nice to just get lessons and be a student to someone, and that’s what happened. My former senior prefect from secondary school schooled me just by telling me how his life was going, what he was learning, and how God was teaching him to let go of things he could not control, how to make his internal solitude converge properly with his outward life, how to forgive people, how to let God lead you and how to follow blindly, and all this while I’d asked for nothing specific. Something was leading him to talk.I don’t think my friend realized how much I feel that conversation was like an answer to my morning sighs, how speaking about his own life was inspiring, because it was, and I told him it was and thanked him for sharing. I realize then that nothing is random. Not my morning sighs, not the pressure to reach out at that time, even when we don’t speak as often, not his lessons which were brimming and in need of someone else’s eyes and mind. Maybe God does orchestrate after all.
What I was reminded of by him, was my sores can be forgotten. I have a choice to focus on that or remove my mind from them. I can do this. I can have grace and can do this if I want to. He also said it would be very hard, it’s very hard to be a fool and turn the other cheek. It’s hard to let go and just let God lead. He also said that sometimes we don’t understand even with the information. Look at the disciples, they knew Jesus would be killed, he told them many times, yet when it happened, they were perplexed. They had no understanding even when they had information. Same with us, we have been told it will be hard, yet when it is difficult, we ask questions and doubt. We are like those without understanding. I realized again after this that speaking about God with a living friend who is living the Christian reality is something I miss. It’s always more relatable when someone you actually know and have known for a long while can display living like Jesus for you, not someone in America, some vague place living in a blog post, but a real human with struggles you’re familiar with, with a name you can trace. That was my coming down to earth moment. I don’t regret asking God to explain what he’s doing, and I don’t regret asking him if my life would be a good measure of his faithfulness to anyone looking for an example, because sometimes my faith needs to be strengthened. I need to know too that this is not a farce, and I’m not being a stupid believer.
Why do you think so?
Because everyone is slow, stupid, crass, just like you made them.
Either that, she said, or they are on their way to attaining all that.
And what will you do?
Tell it to stop. I will tell it to stop, she said.
What? Tell what, asked the glowing thing.
I will, she said, tell it to give it a rest, to not bother.
Why? You keep running, said the glowing thing.
I feel, she said, that it has it’s own problems, some trauma, she said.
Through it’s lenses, it views me, she sighed.
You don’t want that to happen? The glowing thing asked.
No. I try to avoid it. It doesn’t understand. They never do.
They want, demand, and paint me with black.
Like a well, they sink deeper in the mud.
Their ankles, she smiled, are always bruised.
So, you will avoid? Asked the glowing thing.
Yes. I will avoid it.
I will tell it, it’s either this way or nothing at all.
Its hard for you, the glowing thing murmured in sympathy.
She shrugged. It’s hard to be excited for it, to be who it wants.
But, you will just be you, said the glowing thing.
Yes, I’ve got my back. As always.
Be there. For you.
For me. She left.
I wondered how God feels when He sees and knows that the majority of people who are living this wonderful thing He created called ‘ life’ , do not want it. They don’t enjoy living it and how even amongst his people , the sighs and aches are enough to negate the good things they have seen about it. How do we reconcile the goodness of what has been created, it’s perfection with how badly it has turned out to be?
I opened the psalms to read and read psalm 25 four times. I read it slowly, hoping to see something in new light, to find hope, to find shelter from the looting, from Nigeria and from myself. I read the words hoping that through them, an explanation would sink in, that I would be able to go on in spite of what appears to me as too much for a God to ever handle. Psalm 25 verse 16 says; turn to me for I am lonely and afflicted. I watched Michael Ramsden speak about God and suffering, a familiar theme. Love, he says is an agent. I remember hearing or reading something about the nature of love. That it is only where it is lacking that it can be needed, so ideally, it is in a world of suffering, as this one, that we can express love. But God is a triune God and exists in loving relationship already. What does God need? Why doesn’t He suffer to experience love? These questions remained with me as I watched.
I find it off putting when people think their lives are harder than mine. Some lives might indeed be very difficult, but no one has the right to judge another persons life as less. Just because they work physically more does not in any way negate the emotional and mental troubles of other people. It’s with great restraint that I do not want to call such people names. On a daily basis, I suffer from flash backs, I remember too many things from the past that I would rather leave there but can’t. It might seem as if I am sitting down in peace but inside I am dealing with memories like a fireman, extinguishing them one after the other, and finally distracting myself with something as I cope.
I have been sad, really sad because I know that every action is a ripple effect in some way. The distance this travels and what effect it might have maybe limited, but it is there all the same .there are things too heavy to mention ,so in order to maintain ones sanity, we keep mute and block everything . This is how I feel concerning the terrible thievery by the Nigerian government. The 500 million dollar scandal is a big cause for alarm. I watched a clip of people thrown out of their houses on water and cried, because the world is just as it has always been. There is no law and order, the poor have always been trampled upon and there will never be complete redemption, or will there? For some days , I decided to watch pulse tv to laugh and to get to feel once again a country towards which my feelings and thoughts are divided. Its difficult to say what I truly feel about being Nigerian, but Nigeria cannot be wiped away from my life. I am a product of the country. But as it is always with me, after a few laughs and happiness that we are just a different set of people, interesting, gullible, wise, I became sad again, because behind all these is suffering, wasted lives, long days and hardship and it feels like a very long way to change.
I don’t know what psalm one has to read to shake off this feeling or if it is , as they say, because of these feelings that someone like me ends up drawing nearer to God for answers and to calm me, but Michael Ramsden mentioned too that it would have been a problem if Jesus had said the world would be different from what it is and if we did not see it. This is how He said the world would look like in the last days, it is all going according to plan, sadly. What we should do then is try to understand what it means for it to be this way, what we should do since it is the way it was meant to do and live.
At the end of it all, we need courage. Zadie Smith says in an interview that if we live in a society that believes in the afterlife, then life is merely just a continuation of personhood(rephrased) , but if we believe this is all there is, then life and what the individual was is incredibly important. I know that it is this daily grinding against peoples with different world views about the after life that has created so much conflict. There’s so much wrong and little to forgive, harder in fact when you believe that here is where it all ends. So much anger when a better life does not happen for you within the span of what should have been your one and only life. So, while people like me who believe in an after life and are rather lax about their hold on certain things are combating the anxiety of needing to be everything and have everything in this life, the opposite group is fueling this. Part of this is why I disappear to find rest where I can. Peace before I feel entirely hopeless.
No pictures today. In a way, I should call them postcards, and it’s not everytime that words have to sit meaningfully, so I don’t know what swerrt means and I hope if it means something, in the nature that urban dictionary tries to mean, that it will all be forgotten as oh, it was just one of those things. You know, I have felt like a lamp shade, all covered, I’ve been so filled that I could talk just about anything. It’s usually when one has a lot to say, that one cannot speak. It’s just like waiting for godot by Samuel Beckett, which I have finally read, where someone—a reviewer— mentioned that a good review of the book would be none at all. I feel like I have worn so many personalities so quietly as I immersed myself in the biographies of men who belonged to the 19th and early 20th centuries. I should not say they belong, belong there–not in the sense of I should put them there and keep them all shelved. No. Not in that sense at all.
To call this an existential excitement or… No, really, trust me, I think the statement is a total fail as well, but I have to use it anyway—the isms have completely gotten me. This week, I have been able to read through most of what I consider to be decent coverage on the topics of realism, naturalism, impressionalism, the decadent movement, the theatre, streams of consciousness, psychoanalytic plays, the philosophy of NIetzsche and Schopenhauer and influences on Thomas Mann. Its not that I planned to make this a show off of the acquisition of names, but I feel at this stage I can’t help it. It’s something to be able to know the majority of these works and to no longer want to skip them on a page. It’s now a pleasure to want to see how contemporaries related with each other, something like so Emile knew so and so? Wow, I wonder what that association must have been like and so on. I believe I’ve created another world, one which the present one feels alienated to.
There’s so much to say. There’s so much to say. Really, there is, but as I have already mentioned, it’s difficult to know where to start from when knowledge is bursting out, and you want to say all at once but can’t because that would be sacrificing coherence just to let it be known that one does indeed study, and that one does indeed know things.
I don’t know where we are going to as humanity. Literature is wonderful, but hasn’t it been wonderful a long time now? It is a way, for sure, a wonderful leveller and quite powerful. You know this already, but the journey has been long, the movement of the eras seems to have progressed with one foot forward, more backwards, like a swing, maybe. The currents carry us. I don’t know what I feel about writing anymore. I feel I cannot even explain and analyse properly the things that have influenced me these past days, or the things currently influencing me. But there is the question of how I should write, what I would write. I feel those things have changed. They must have. It feels different, even where the subject is elusive. I mean the subject it. I feel I could not write for many days and be happy, I could draw, I could sing, I could just read, I could just not care, I could tweet, I could do just about anything ornothing and still be happy. I don’t know what to call this level of quiet attainment or I should say quiet pursuit, but I feel I have found myself, or maybe I had found myself already and now I am knowing myself better. I must confess I think that I am my favorite company these days, I think I really am such an interesting person to spend time with and want to know more about myself.
I didn’t plan to write in an unconventional way, if at all this could be classified as such. I feel like saying bleh to all the rules. I must be conforming to a rule of comfort and well, this should be shelved under what it is to write selfishly, and maybe defiantly, since the word came up as a suggestion from my auto correct whatever. 🙂