I FINALLY DID IT

Today I got to home group late. Late enough to almost be assured I was going to be asked to give the closing prayer when I entered. Late enough to walk into a simmering debate with the Pastor trying to quell, calm, rationalize and stabilize faith and emotions. It appears the group had pointed out how difficult it is to forgive when people hurt us. A senior mother remarked to the Pastor how difficult it is to forgive the woman who stole your husband, happiness, love, joy and at times your health.

But the Pastor was adamant that we ought to FORGIVE as the Lord commanded us to. Everyone pitched in with their non forgivable scenarios done to them and the man of God was on the verge of being swamped. When we thought we had won, he raised his head and clearly stated that in as much as we would want to vaunt our bitter nesses and inability to forgive, the onus is on us to proffer the forgiving hand and move on. 30 minutes pat dismissal time it was still difficult.

But something struck me. It is his last sentence before we left for home. He alluded to the fact that to fail to forgive is akin to harboring an acidic bitterness in our hearts and it is difficult for God to pave a way of light through such darkness. It reminded me of the favorite saying that draws parallels to bitterness being similar to drinking poison and expecting someone else to die!

When I got home, his words really struck me and I finally got it. I picked up the phone and dialed a number I had erased in my phones (but from bitterness it still obtained in my mind). I called the number of a person who hurt me so badly that my faith took a detour. I called a person who cost me so much I cannot quantify in all available terms. I called a person whose pain to me made me at one time to believe that God would forgive me if I took a gun and blew their brains out. I called a person who at their best still saw it good to do me irreparable harm.

I called a person who hurt me so badly it still physically hurts today and most likely will do so till I am interred in the ground barring of course, the occurrence of a miracle.

When they answered I only asked for two minutes and explained that I had come to the realization that my being angry with what they did to me was holding me back and festering an inhibiting bitterness. I told them that despite all the pain, the hurt, the harm, the losses, the humiliation etc I WAS FORGIVING THEM AND THEY WERE NOW FREE TO PURSUE THEIR LIVES WITHOUT THE FEAR OF NQOBILE NCUBE LOOMING OVER THEM AND SEEK REVENGE.

I was met with stunned silence. No slur, no insults, no swearing, no hung up phone. Just silence. 30 seconds later all they could say was ‘THANK YOU’.

When I hung up, a burden lifted. Of course I still bear the physical scars but I have dealt with the bitterness shadow and there is space for more light in my heart.

Tomorrow as the sun rises and as you battle shadows and mountains, pause for a moment and check if the mountains hindering you are not out of bitterness and unforgiving pain. If so, one call, one visit, one sms might heave a mountain away for you. It just did for me.

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OF ARMY FORMATIONS

A few days ago I had the honor of witnessing a change of command at one of our military garrisons. What struck me is the onset of discipline that starts the moment you enter the military arena. You cannot go where you want and do what you want at any given time. Even the program was timed to the minute and one would be tempted to believe that the precision I saw was semi human.

Persona wears off at the gate and rank takes over. Where you shall go, how you are taken there, whom you shall seat with etc is determined by rank and profile. The respect is instinctive, not thought or mused for a moment. If your ranking merits a salute you are saluted on immediate realization and accorded the due respect and attention.

I observed the layers of hierarchy and I saw how easy it is to function when discipline and order are factored into our lives. I saw the formations on parade, the march pasts and salutes, I heard the speeches and witnessed precision. Every man (and woman) knew his place and role. None overstepped or slouched and all turned out brilliant.

As I drove home I was convinced that if I had not been in the service I am in today I definitely would have been a soldier. The paradigm made me realize that all what society at large needs – structure, hierarchy, responsibility and discipline. The military runs on these factors and all we see is a well tuned machine ready to defend the cause of the nation at any moment.

I aver so much physical exertions, drills, lessons, simulations etc take place to fine tune our defenders. It is the same parallel I would like to draw on the aspect of life. An untrained, un-drilled, ill-disciplined life has no direction. The same exertions that our service people go through to be found cap able of standing to the good of the nation are also applicable to the milestones of life. Show me a man who says he succeeded without training, discipline, endurance and the quest for precision and I will show you a blatant liar.

In the same manner that these men and women are presided over by their instructors and commanders in their everyday activities, so should our lives.  Instruction, training, discipline, respect, recognition and commitment are key epithets in their lives in their service to the nation.

The same points apply to a person seeking to walk the path of life and navigate the storms so as to successfully land on the beach without capsizing.

As the sun rises tomorrow and when you meet a well-drilled, clean, respectful, confident service man (or woman) may they be a reminder of the results of great effort, commitment, dedication, patriotism and a quest to serve successfully. The same qualities we need in the marathon of life.

Salute!!

RED ROSES

Now that Valentine day is over, the pretenses can fall off. The roses can wilt and rot and the sms messages be deleted. Those angry for being let down can now forgive. 14 February, for whatever it was worth, is come and gone.  I am tempted to rant and rave at the vanity of the event but I fear being lynched so I will hold my tongue.

But here goes. After all the pink and red illusions are gone, the blemish of pain, betrayal, mistrust, hatred, anger, disloyalty will still obtain. Men will still saunter in drunk and empty in the wee hours of the day. Women will cavort to coded face book posts and whispered kisses, this despite that the hangover of valentine has still yet to be belched out of our human system. The famed small house will still call the shots and homes will still be crumbling. Worse off all those that would have indulged in the valentine arrows would be broke and stressed.

I am all for the good that brings out those emotions that make us all fuzzy , warm and uhm but all that we need to cultivate love is something I believe is outside the periphery , scope and understanding of St Valentine.

To me love can only occur when we die to self and pledge to accept less for giving more. Love is a tree that needs to be watered, cultivated, fertilized and unfortunately PRUNED to blossom and the 14 February shortcuts are to me the equivalent of the famed GMO chickens that we all pretend to hate!!

To me love is an institution which can turn poisonous when wrongly handled but can be sweet when delicately handled. There is more labor to getting good love than the emptiness of shotgun mating and one night stands. I have seen many a man abandon his home and love for the bosom of a wily woman only to return tail between legs to the wife when the coals start burning in his chest.

To me love is a vocation. One that cannot be altered or bought by a bunch of roses in mid-February.

To many love will always be an illusion, a mirage never to be captured and all that many will try to do is console themselves with vain pursuits like dancing the nights away, canoodling with loose cannons, taking in diseases at a great price only to realize it too late that it was all vain pursuit and contributed nought but took all from love.

For those in love, the moment to cherish, value, adore and greatly appreciate is now. As the surely as the sun will rise tomorrow so must your confidence and assurance in your ability to love and be loved.

For those out of love ( for lack of a better word) there is no better starting point than to start by loving yourself first !!

Solemn days

After all the festivities are past and the resolutions have started to crumble, I have discovered that it is also the time that the façade starts to wane. The forced smiles are replaced with target demands and the overdue debts are demanded with venom. It is also at this time that troubles start seeping under the door and the faith defenses start to take a beating after the fortification gotten from the annual ten-day fasts. It is also the time that we get shaken to our foundations and we are found constantly questioning God for our pain.

At times I imagine God to be this big gentle giant seated at top of the earth’s axis on an armchair that rocks to the orbit of the mother earth. I imagine Him smiling away at my ranting and ravings and turning to His Son seated on his right and saying,” see what your hanging on the cross brought us!” This always sobers me up and I am left knowing that whatever storm I am surfing God will always superintend my steps.

So to all the brothers who are taking pain for the good that they stand for – I say chin up brothers. Let us see the good out of all the storms that are blowing. In earnest,  when a storm has swept and raged past a city there remains an overwhelming calm that refreshes and gives ground for rebirth.

To all the sisters going through the pain routine, I say the darkest hour is before dawn. To abandon a race when you can smell the fresh sand is the greatest folly one can make. Rather you be carried over the finish line than be stretchered off 100 meters away from it. The woman in you is stronger than you know and it will take the testing for you to discover the tensile strength of your persona.

One lesson I have learnt in my life time is to always stand back after a crisis, mourn the loss, bandage the wounds and topmost of all, LEARN AT LEAST ONE THING FROM THE EXPERIENCE.  Ever since I took that mantra I have become more positive and learnt to see well and derive teaching even in pain.

So whatever the pain you are going through, brave it, muscle it, battle it and bear one thing in mind : The sun will rise tomorrow.