A Stage Called Life

Whelmed

The roll call is made; the maidens answer to private vessels categorization-

Ranging from wood to gold

Sometimes I wonder what category I fall into

Other times, it matters not which, as long as I am here

I have been in this great house for so long that

Even housemates take it for granted that I’m having a great stay

They do not know of the phantoms that have become ghosts and the foolishness I tolerate

I often coordinate productions on this sacred stage

I know its many entrances and exits

Whom do I tell of the lurking shadows and doors I never desire to unlock

The director’s notes are tacked to my scripts

But I keep glancing over my shoulders  

I can’t keep my attention on the script long enough

I got the props and costumes, with some rehearsal, I might even get my lines right

Dashing smiles, flashing lights, approving applause

We might get the nod, get a nomination, maybe even win a coveted award

But why does it often taste like ash in my mouth

Why do I feel so bereft

Why do I want to quit the stage

When did duty choke passion

Why has a means of livelihood taken on a menacing mask of antagonism

And why did a quest to step out of the rat wheel only result in a cyclical race

In the beginning, it was not like this

I had been promised a perfect life

The director’s seat is empty again

So I write him a note

I’m done, it says

A knock on my door, a loving presence, a raised brow and I come undone

To live from stage to stage, from production to production

Draped in the facade of a perfect life

That is no way to live, I explain

Empty, scared, deflective, unworthy

Un-refreshed, exhausted, uninspired

Inspired but unresponsive, unsure

I feel like I don’t belong here


“Dear Unworthy, who is your Daddy?”

-Lily

Grace sees the many “un-” and raises me an ace

He tells me perfect is not what perfect does, perfect is who perfect is

At the core, who we are had changed as a result of our acceptance of a long concluded exchange

Our benefactor is perfect and our nature has become His

But nurture takes up case against nature, and the battle is still on

As for stages, acts and audiences, he says

Renew your mind, reverse the order

The stage is no stage, it is reality

What you do wasn’t designed to be a means to an end; it is itself an end-

It is your life

‘Productions’ are not for acclaims or trophies

I am here because of  you

I am your biggest cheerleader, your number one fan

I got you in from the outside and will keep you so your feet do not fail

Your path  will be fraught with trials

Triumphs may seem elusive at times

Life will look chaotic

But I am your friend, your order, your perfection, your director.

  • Lily

P.S: If this were a play, this would be the soundtrack. 

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Miranda Warning and Your Rights

mirandawarninginfographic

It’s quite interesting how invoking your Miranda right in the United States can quickly shut things down and get the interrogator packing – at least until your lawyer is present to provide some professional guidance on how best to approach a legal problem.

According to this legal website, “If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he or she wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease. If the individual states that he or she wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him or her present during any subsequent questioning.”

I imagine countless people have gotten their fat pulled out of fire by having their lawyers present during questioning. Conversely, many could have had it better if only they had used that right. See?
This got me thinking about the many parallels that can be drawn between exercising your civil rights and using your spiritual rights over life’s situations.

In this case, there are a couple of differences, but the principle is same.

Here, I’ll read you your faith’s (spiritual) Miranda.

“You have the right to speak to the situation. Do not remain silent in the presence of oppression, because anything you say can and will be used for your win.

You have the right to an attorney. You couldn’t afford one in your natural state, so the Lord got you the best money couldn’t buy – Himself, aka The Word.

You have a right to be, to live, to succeed, to have, and to be happy.

Whenever life pins you to the wall, with these rights in mind, flip it over and speak the word!

Speak up!”

You have your attorney’s complete support, will you say something?

 

-Lily

 

Photo Credit: Mirandawarning.org

 

Àsàké

This here is one of my favorite pieces that I have written. Got the inspiration from having a long talk with one of my best friends who was hitting me with all these adulting issues and I felt helpless during the conversation. I desperately wanted him to see himself through my eyes, and you know, God’s. After the call, I sat down and somehow this write up came pouring out. I think I was done with it in about 10mins – y’all know those are the best types. It has turned around and ministered to me personally, a bunch of times since. I hope it speaks to you too.

If we looked in your spirit, we’d find:

Power: not just the ability to do work, but the force that sets nature on course; the seething essence of the Holy Spirit coursing through you, dynamic in works & able to set anything, living or dead, on its feet.

Love: An harbinger of power. The single element with an infinite ability to drastically change lives. It’s not love sourced from the scraps and ashes of our past. It’s the heart of the Father. It’s the man Jesus. It’s His passion, His pledge, His unyielding commitment and compassion exploded in your spirit.

Sound mind: A perfect channel for such intense and immense deposit. Appropriating power and love rightly, justly & excellently, with no recourse to depressing darkness.
It’s strength in your soul and a head that’s not bogged down in unnecessary details. It’s clarity, light and lightness. It’s more than learned behavior or muscle memory of how to’s; but how He made you to be, that you, realtime, will be.
You came correct, sound, sharp, unencumbered, powerful and full of love.
There’s no fear here, all the space in this spirit is taken.
Welcome warrior, victor, innovator, world changer!
Truly, you are beloved of God.

 

-Lily

Welcome the Gatecrasher

Be wary of joy without a source tangible, she cautions
You can’t trust a happiness that shows up without announcement, he says


But when lockstep, good intentions and plans shuffle to a side
And happiness decides to betray your professionally curated excuses for misery
Your heart chooses to celebrate without asking permission of circumstances
And your soul goes rogue on the confederacy of gloom, by blessing the Lord

When joy sneaks up on you through doors you didn’t realize were open
And strength shows up after you forget to issue it an invite
With no recourse to facts, it unfurls warmth within you


In unassuming state of bliss, it spites pain
And flat-lines the confusing beeps of life’s highs and lows, ushering in shhhh…peace.

Knuckling through zero-G

Last summer, I went on a neck-snapping roller coaster ride. The ride, known as the voyage is reputed to have been the world’s scariest wooden ride at some point within the past three decades.
For days after the experience, beside being painfully aware of every muscle in my neck, I constantly had the vertigo sensation whenever I was falling asleep and would suddenly jolt back to wakefulness. 
I found myself gripping the edge of my seat in a car whenever the driver would negotiate a meandering road too quickly. And I subconsciously relived the screams from the ride whenever everything around me goes eerily quiet.
Needless to say, I was over the whole thing and desperately wanted normalcy back in my days. 

My friends later joked that I was traumatized by the voyage experience, largely because after the first ride, I refused to get on a few other rides like it, no matter how much simpler they looked or how much fun the riders seemed to be having.  

 

thumbs_Hands-Up-Going-Down-First-Drop_0

Source: Holidayworld.com

 

However, when the year vomited some real trauma onto my path, I knew that although vertigo and kinetosis pointed to a loss of control on prevailing circumstances, they were a far cry from the true symptoms of life gone bonkers.

But unlike my post-voyage experience, I found a daily charter, to help me fall asleep in peace and pry my blue knuckles off the corners of despair. It helped me put things in perspective in small ways and live through a day at a time. 
It was nothing deep, just a sticky note reminder of sorts.
And I’m passing it along, hoping it helps someone that may be going through life’s unapologetic rollercoaster toss or a dark motionless tunnel: 

Don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid to be by yourself. Don’t be overwhelmed by your own company.
Entertain your own thoughts, go one better, entertain His thoughts.

You are not broken, you are in good company; you are in good hands.

Don’t be in a hurry for companionship or love or even close friendships. Just be.

Be healthy, be happy, take baby steps, and then giant strides.
Stop letting the days roll over you with no paths.
Make a record of something, in bits, per day.

Love. In truth. Per day.
Let go of the past.
If you find pieces of worrisome weight on your mind when you wake up, let go afresh, everyday.
Cry if you need to, then wipe your tears and practice a smile.

Pour your heart out to your Father, as often as you need.
Make faces at the puffy-eyed image reflected at you in the mirror
Then laugh: The sound of your laughter is glorious.

It’s okay to feel crushed, but remember, there is not a weak bone in you.
And you have a fighting chance to be the strongest, when you are rocked to your knees.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Breaking Icebergs

Although I have recently become painfully aware of climate change challenges and hope to talk about it on the blog at some point, that is not what the blog title is about.
It is about over 4 years of crickets going off on this page.
The things that can happen in a year, have happened 4 to 5 times over, without some kind of record.
Once I hit the 12-month mark of absence, it became easier to stay away rather than try again and be inconsistent.
I convinced myself it didn’t matter if I stayed away. I lied.
It does matter to me, because I love to do this and it makes my days more fulfilling, when I do. And because this probably makes some difference, however small, in the world.
It takes a lower temperature to keep an icy state, but when it gets hotter, the iciest of them all start to sweat. The intention is to ramp up the temperature (in my life and on the blog, hopefully) and get some writing activity going, break some ice, maybe even pop some cubes into a cup of *gaari, y’know. We’ll see.

And I hope to not just pick up from where I left on the blog, but to possibly take this in a whole new direction. What’s it they say about under-promising and over-delivering?

If you’re reading this, thanks for dropping by. Nice to have you here. Hope you see something you like!

Finally, after an approximate 3-year hiatus, I’d like to say : Hello again, world!

 

 

*gaari – Processed Cassava flakes

Lights, Rugged Hills and Broken China

I first put up this piece as a Facebook note last year, the thoughts expressed persist till date and I still find myself marvelling at the unique dynamics at work in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Do dig in, please. Bon appetit 🙂
Ibadan,
running splash of rust
and gold – flung and scattered
among seven hills like broken
china in the sun.
– J.P Clark

There is a song by a female American singer about New York City, it talks about how the streets of New York make you feel like you can do anything and how its lights inspires.

Whenever I travel the streets of Ibadan(the largest Western African city), the song often plays in my subconscious.

Suffice it to say, in the city of Ibadan, the lights will inspire you.

A different species of light maybe.

Embers of coal from the grilled plantain seller; glowing stumps of carelessly tossed cigarettes and mid-road bonfires; flashlight held with the mechanic‘s teeth under broken down vehicles; and lone commercial bikes in the middle of a darkened road.

The lights will inspire you.

Flashy outfits and sequined dresses on motorcycle; colourful epithets from angry road users; and rows of grand architectural designs with sudden break-ins of tattered taverns.

The lights and sights will inspire you.

Hawkers prodding you in the face with different products, faceless men excusing themselves in unseen disabilities, asking for money; calloused hands, dark faces, hopeful faces, hardened faces, soft hearts; people on roads going somewhere, coming from somewhere, or having nowhere to go.

It has got to inspire you.

A city knit into a mat of peoples, cultures, stories and places delicately interwoven into a vibrant energy.

Ibadan at dusk is a silent opera of light-spangled darkness; there are rude interruptions of expansive darkness by brightly shining bulbs. A vast collage of wealth and squalor; bustling life and hustling lull, expensive light and costly darkness.

Interestingly, the evening merely continues a story that the dawn started, and the noon gives stage lights to, because suddenly:

From the spread of rusty corrugated roofs of ancient ancestry, haggard looking structures that seem like they were hurriedly thrown together, there would often stand the sudden startling beauty of some architectural ingenuity.

Some form of sanely planned and well executed projects make an appearance with no prior warnings in the middle of obvious disorganization, and it warms your heart. It catches and holds your attention; it can go as far as to stimulate your imagination and quicken your heartbeat. It is welcome and welcoming. It is beautiful. It is inspiring (?)

Sadly though, it is often not the lights of Ibadan that inspire as much as it is the darkness. The people whose reality the dark has become, the ones that have been robbed of light by insensitive and unfaithful mansion dwellers holding office- the 100watts bulbs that betrayed public trust; the sirens and endless convoys that go home to generators fuelled by the sweat and blood of the city’s poor.

Souls live in darkness of human making, while people that could have been of help chose to turn a blind eye.

A day for the people and her government shall come. Today is the day to challenge the lights of the world shining.

Howdy Light? How do you affect the darkness that’s around? What can you do (to help) that you’re not doing?

How much inspiration can an onlooker garner from your illumination?

You belong on the lampstand, where city slickers like Mary J. and I can see by your shine, not in hiding. Stop cursing the darkness when you can light a candle!
There is enough light in you to power up the world.

This creation still wait on you to manifest, oh light. Inspire us!

 New york City