Mother…

Mother…
If there was any other better word to describe you, I would sail the seven seas, climb the highest mountains, and search the deepest forests till I could find it.

Just calling you MOTHER brings the sum of it and the depth that only those who have truly experienced you can truly appreciate.

You have never tried to be anything else. You have never been anything less.

You are one, and one of a special kind.

Just to tell you today that I LOVE you for all of life and eternity…

#MothersDay2018

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To My King

my-king
Image credits: http://www.sikestonfirst.org/multimedia-archive

It has been years and years…
I remember walking down the street so many years ago
Thinking about how You had worked things out at that time
And marveling at Your ability to put things rightly together

You are the very substance of my existence
Master Orchestrator of all events
Closer than the air I breathe
You make my world full of meaning

You are my glory, my shield and because of You
I can lift my head and walk tall among the people

On occasion, it had been terribly rough and tough
But looking back, I realize that in those times, underneath me were the Everlasting Arms

I have not always been as good as I should
But not for once have You closed Your arms to me nor turned Your face away from my prayer

They say You are the fairest of ten thousand
But considering that the English language is limited
How could anything they ever say ever begin to describe You?

My deepest desires
My greatest longings
Yearnings that words cannot begin to express
But when placed beside You
Nothingness, emptiness…

In You, I find nothing lacking in myself
When I sense Your hand upon me
Nothing in this world is difficult to achieve

The joy You bring
I have not seen the like anywhere else
I know that for a fact, cos many a thing I have tried but…

My greatest pleasure is to kneel before You
Lifting a song that declares Your glory
Sitting behind the keys and gently playing an unwritten melody
That only You can provide the words for

You are the love of my life, Jesus
My hope in this life and so much more
My King, You make all the difference in life
To You alone, on this day
I pledge my whole existence

Ah, if not for You
If not for You…

Cuddled in Heaven…

Jay2

On the 10th of June, 2016, my second son, Jeremy Chikasi Chinedum, went to be with the Lord after a rather brief illness. He was only 19 months old. I stood there and watched his transition. Never have I felt so helpless, so unable to do anything, so… As he struggled to breathe in those final moments, especially in the face of the gross inadequacies in our healthcare system, God knows I would have done anything to keep him here.

Pain!!! Soul-searing, heart-wrenching, mind-curdling pain!!! The tears flowed freely. It was not just my eyes crying, it was every part of me – spirit, soul, and body! So difficult to comprehend…

I said to myself in that moment, that this is not an experience that anybody should ever have.

Jay, as we fondly called you. You are sorely missed! It has been a month now but it all still seems like yesterday.

I was saying to your mum a few days ago that it was though you knew you were not long for this world and so your zeal and zest was to explore as much of it as you could in the time you were given.

You climbed everything. As long as it could be climbed, it had to be, and possibly sat on.

Jay4

All our barricades, even the ones that worked for your elder brother, did not work for you. You somehow found a way to get around them. For you, the television was one giant iPad, and I used to look on in amusement at the confusion on your face, when the screen did not respond to your little touches. The bookshelf was a wonder maze for you. You had learned quite early the art of moving side-stools to whatever was out of reach in order to reach them.

Here are the things I so miss…

The scream of ‘Daddyyyyyyy…’, when I get back from anywhere

The successive world wars that were each episode of trying to feed you cooked food, especially when you knew mum and dad were in the house.

The ‘Jay’ Dance. Ah, your feet were meant to dance, and dance you did. With little provocation and at the slightest opportunity, you were off in all sorts of jiggles, twists and turns, as far your little legs could carry you. You danced with glee and with the cutest giggles.

All your expressions: kikar (when you wanted water); caryi (when you wanted to be carried), yight (when PHCN decided to grace us with it), AC (the generic term for all switches), tanku (thank you), iPar (to indicate when you wanted the iPad) and then there is your favorite song, ‘I love you, you love me…’.

Ah, Jay!!!

You were the quintessential ‘gum body’. For you, body contact was everything; whether it was me, your mum, and especially your brother, once you were with any of us, you just had to sit on, lie on, or sit by the person. You also did not care whether your brother complained or not, as far as you were concerned, that was the way to stay.

The AC switch will definitely miss you. It was like a magnet for you, and the best of toys. Off on, off on, off on … you went with it at the slightest opportunity.

Like your elder brother when he was the same age, putting off the TV while we were all watching it, was a favorite sport. Picking up the remote control was essentially to change whatever channel anyone was watching. It was as though your little mind felt that staying on one channel for prolonged periods was bad for health.

Your brother is still trying to get to grips with it and misses you sorely. Sometimes, he inadvertently makes it difficult for us when he starts asking about you and wanting to see you. He and I were going out once, and it was about to rain. He said, ‘Daddy, it’s about to rain’. When I asked why, he said, ‘I do not want the rain to fall on Jesus’ head when he is bringing Jeremy back’.

You were everyone’s darling. Jerry Okoye was a popular appellation in Church. I still see you running around the whole place and being carried by everyone.

Jay, we miss you so. The last five words are a pitiful expression of the current reality.

I have never had to pray for your brother as much as I have had to pray about you. Some of the revelations concerning you were quite scary. There was just something about you that made the enemy so afraid, and he had tried to hurt you several times. It would appear that he has succeeded, but as usual, he cannot comprehend the big picture. Just like it was said concerning our Lord, if the princes of this world had known (fully understood God’s plan), they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. If only he knew… for I know there is always a plan. God does not do arbitrary things.

God has helped us tremendously through this time. He has surrounded us with love and people, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It has not been easy. My heart still bleeds, the occasional tear still escapes, but I know it is gradually mending. More times now than in the past few weeks, I remember you and a smile comes to my face instead of tears to my eyes. I choose to focus on God’s grace to us this period, rather than focus on the pain.

I draw comfort from sensing that the Lord Himself personally supervised your passing. Your brother said a few hours after you had passed that he was happy that you are happy (how on earth he knew and sensed that, beats me). Jesus is taking care of you now. I sometimes imagine you playing with the angels and having fun exploring the reaches of heaven, frolicking on the streets of gold, having the time of your life and eternity.

A part of me is in heaven. I have one more reason to make sure I get there. A part of me wonders what you would look like when I eventually see you, if you would still be a little boy or a man fully grown, if you would still call me Daddy or (do not know what else), if…

You have joined the cloud of witnesses cheering us from the grandstands of heaven. Seeing you once again is a great impetus to run this race even better.

This is my tribute to the 19 months we had you. Left to us, we would not have let you go but this is the reality we now have to live with. If we did not have you, we would not have such pleasant memories.

Jehovah…, You are God and Father. I bow to you now and always. Though my heart and emotions feel like they are in shreds, yet I submit to You. Everything that You do is good (may be painful in the interim) and always works out for good. My trust is in this and that You are constantly with us.

For all who have stood with us during this period (family, friends (close and distant), colleagues, and  church members), may God be with you and I pray you never experience such pain. Your love and care is most appreciated. The title of this piece was taken from the title of the poem written by the Junior Church of The Stone Church, Abuja (which I must confess, I have not had the courage to read).

At the graveside, I said I will see you again… We may have buried you, but God has not buried you. How that will work out, only time and eternity will tell.

Adieu son. Sleep well. Have fun with Jesus and I am sure He is as excited to have you as we were when we had you.

Praise God.

Loved forever,

Dad

Tribute to Friendship – 20 Years and Onward

One Family Under God
One Family Under God – Reunion 2013

I cannot say exactly how it all started, but when I count some of the good things that have happened to me, being part of this great circle of friendship ranks among one of the best.

Our origins date back to 1994, to those days in Prelim Science, our first year in the University of Ibadan. I cannot now say what triggered it all, but in retrospect I think a passionate love for God was key to our coming together.

That first year in Ibadan was particularly interesting. Lectures at the Faculty Lecture Theatre (FLT) and New Lecture Theatre (NLT) and particularly, rushing from the one to the other in a bid to get good seats due to the huge number of students in the class. 7am lectures. Some of us keeping seats for some of us… tsk tsk tsk.

From that first year, some our ‘traditions’ were set. We met every Friday evening to pray. We prayed almost every Friday from that point onwards (as long as school was in session) till we graduated in 2001. Ah! We prayed. Those prayer meetings were one of the major highlights of the week for me. From pre-clinical to clinical school, from beside FLT to the University College Hospital (UCH) football field, we prayed. We realized that Medical School was a daunting challenge and survival required strength greater than any we could muster. Writing this, I am a bit overwhelmed with nostalgia. I recall some of those meetings, the singing, the prophecies, the intercession, the worship…

We dined. We had gourmet cooks amongst us and generally, we had no lack of culinary skills. Many of us (mostly the guys) could hold their very comfortable owns in that department. So, from room to room, we shared alimentary fellowship. Saturdays were devoted to these events. I cannot now recall the frequency, but it was another thing to had looked forward to from time to time. I also recall that somewhere along the line in clinical school, this particular aspect of our social lives fell by the wayside…

We studied together. We had some serious ‘eficos’ (bookworms) among us. We had regular discussion group meetings which tended to increase in intensity as the different MBBS exams reared their ugly heads.

If you are reading this, I guess you have basically realized that the majority of us are doctors.

We are Ibo, Yoruba, Itsekiri, and some we cannot directly classify. Yet, despite our cultural diversity and sometimes very obvious and strongly held differences, we have remained as one. Our diversity and level of intellect also mean we do not always agree, especially considering that it easily gets quite hot under the collar for a few of us; however, we have weathered the literal storms and are still together.

We are Nigeria and an example of how its people should live; where cultural identity does not matter, love and acceptance rules the day, looking out for one another is vital, and praying for each other is critical for survival.

We are Christian. We believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and hold Him so dear to our lives.

We believe in the sanctity of marriage; that the family is the bedrock of society; and that having homes built on the foundation of love and faith in God is vital to bringing about much desired change in society.

We are not all here though and I would like to use this opportunity to pay tribute to Dr. Samuel Adejumo. Your passing was a great pain and loss to us, but we know that you are in a much better place, and we all look forward to seeing you someday at the feet of the Master.

So many stories to tell, some experiences that may sound stranger than fiction to some people. There have been joys and there has been pain and there have also been nights under the almond tree… wink!

So, before this begins to get very boring, this is my celebration of over 20 years of dear friendship and my being thankful to God for bringing all of us together. I love you guys and you are simply the best.

As I end this, I say to us all that there is always a reason. God brought us together for a purpose, both for our collective benefit but majorly to bring glory to His name through something much bigger than us all. Selah!

God bless…

PS: Funny that it took over one year to write such a short piece…. Hmmmm….

Can You?

From the Yesteryears Series Collection

Can you fill the loneliness of my heart?
Can you occupy the seat of my innermost desire?
Can you touch the deepest parts of me?
Can you reach the real me, reaching to the place where it really counts?
Can my pain be your pain?
Can you feel exactly what I feel and would the feeling be strange to you?
Can you stand by me and be there for me always
Can you uphold me in the face of my greatest weakness?
Can your strength be mine?
Can your heart make room for me?
Can you cause me to fully mend from the abuse and exploitation of my past?
Can your balm soothe my soul and bring a healing my way?
Can you sustain my hope and fulfill my joy
Can you satisfy my deepest hunger, bringing nourishment to the very core of my being?
Can you be the tender of the garden of my heart, causing pleasant and fragrant flowers and choice fruit to so sweetly blossom and grow?
Can you extract from the ore my pure form, causing me to shine and to glow?
Can you remove from me crudeness, bringing polish and culture?
Can you discern that which words cannot express?
Can you fathom the depths of their intensity?
Can you sate the longing, the yearning, the hunger, the thirst, and my innermost cravings?
Can you wipe the tears from my eyes and plug the fountain deep within?
Can you love me the way nobody else can?

With You

From the Yesteryears Series Collection…

Sunset4

Here I sit gazing at the golden glory that is the setting sun

Beholding it surrounded by clouds tinged with purplish blue and a mosaic of clouds of different shapes, sizes and consistency

This great sight is always a wonder to behold

All my life I have always sat down to watch this great phenomenon, but hitherto have always done it alone

Now, all I want to do from this time and for as long as I have breath, is never to gaze upon this great wonder alone each time it appears

I want you to be beside me at every golden sunset

To be by my side as we appreciate together the splendor of God’s creation

I want to look in your eyes and see the golden tones reflected in them

To see the smile on your face as the sun caresses everything in sight with its warm and golden touch

I want to see the admiration on your face for such a timeless and priceless work of art, the inspiration of many a great artist

And from then on and forever, to look forward to every golden sunset that would grace our lives

Yesteryears

I have written a bunch of stuff over the years. Someone once asked me what inspired some of those writings. Love mostly, to be honest, and as you would see for yourself.

I used to write in all sorts of places – notepads, class notebooks, choir notes, post-it notes. When I finally got my first desktop computer several years ago, I had the inspiration to put them all in a single MS Word document. I have not regretted that decision. I recently came across that file in my archives, and decided to share. Interestingly, it is the things that I have written in recent times that for some reason, I cannot now find where they are.

Reading through some of the stuff, brings with it some nostalgia. I try to recall the circumstances that gave birth to the words. A lot of happy memories and sad ones too. Things that could have been… (pause), and things that should not have been…

So I hope you enjoy reading some of these posts. Please feel free to tell what you think about them.

Sometimes, looking back indeed does help one appreciate the future.

God bless.