Wednesday, 24 September 2008

loosing fate in faith

As a child I went to a boarding school. My school was in a small village… it was next to a church (and its graveyard)… both were surrounded by woodlands. This meant my school was isolated from all... especially boys which was just the way my father liked it.

I remember one Saturday night, we watched a film called ‘It’ ... for those who don't know, ‘It’ is a horror film about a sadistic balloon wielding clown... an adaptation of Stephen King's book of the same name. Anyway... the next day, I went with Aoife to collect my hymn book for church from a deserted school building… let me just say that I knew of many stories that seemed to suggest that all our buildings were supposedly haunted which is why I didn't go alone.

As I took my hymn book from the cubbyhole, I saw a red balloon fall from nowhere and drift to the ground… Aoife and I looked at each other… to us it was a warning that signalled the arrival of Pennywise‘It’… but neither of us were part of the Losers’ Club so there was no fighting ‘It’… the thought of the clown getting ready to marinate me as meat freaked me out so much so that I left my friend for dust and I ran for my life…

I don’t know how much adrenalin kicked in but it must have been a lot because by the time I stopped to catch my breath, I couldn't see Aoife behind me… as I was trying to figure out if she had fallen foul of some atrocity, her voice somehow pierced through the deafening sound of my racing heartbeat… just like the Doppler Effect from an ambulance siren, the shift in her pitched scream was clearly evident as she approached and she ran past me; heading straight to church. At this point I started laughing.

Looking back now I think our reaction was a reflection of our childish fears interpreted in a physical form… or was it? A sign is still a sign… maybe it was God telling me not to watch such films. To this day, I will not re-watch that film or read the book.

My first introduction to impending messages of doom was the bible. I think it was the story of the shepherd... soon to be prophet... called Moses. He saw a burning bush that would not be consumed. As he stood watching, he was told by God to go to the Pharaoh and tell him to set the Israelites free. (This Pharaoh is not Rameses I or II btw because evidence of the exodus was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb and he pre-dates both Kings... plus Rameses II lived to a ripe old age).

Anyway... the Pharaoh... lets call him the Pharaoh of Oppression... the Pharaoh of Oppression’s faith did not lie in the God of Israel... he worshipped the gods of Egypt. He continuously chose to ignore God’s words and caused his people to suffer through 9 plagues and then he condemn all the first born males to their fate… death… this was the 10th plague.

Now prophecies in the bible are not all bad… there is Joseph's ability to interpret dreams... Pharaoh's dreams... that foretold that seven years of abundance would be followed by seven years of famine.

However; despite the fact that I am mostly familiar with biblical and/ or historic figures (e.g. Joan of Arc) receiving messages in the form of emanations from the divine… I also know a little of traditional mythologies of yoruba gods. Such as Orunmila… the deity of destiny and prophecy who carried Ifa (the wisdom of Olodumare) to Earth. I guess the embodiment of his knowledge and wisdom are now supposedly distilled through the Priests of Ifa… better known as babalawos (in its singular form babalawo means father of secrets).

Again I am sceptical of such people… I avoid them at all cost... do some have the gift?... or are some just modelling themselves on the trickster god, Ellegua (who is supposed to open the way for Orunmila's wisdom)?

I once lost £300 from my suitcase in Nigeria when I was staying with family… someone else had lost $1000 the week before… cameras etc... had been going missing for a while. The househelp were all interrogated and they all swore to God that they were not the culprit. Their quarters were searched but nothing was found. We couldn’t figure out how they were getting the stuff they stole out of the house so fast and by now everybody was generally pissed at the culprit's confidence to be so audacious.

So it was decided that they would all be sent to a babalawo… let me quickly just say that I was not a supporter of this course of action o!

Anyway a whole heap of things happened to them that day and when the househelp came back, they were all scared shitless. The house girl was identified as the thief and we managed to get back least 3/4 of everything that had gone missing… I got back all my money.

Would I support doing so again?... No. I try and stay well clear of such things. My faith is key.

The footnote on Smaragd's post 'just the way you are' reminded me of a time when I was in University... I was forewarned… no it was actually we…we were warned against moving into a flat.

My mother always told me that 'to be forewarned is to be forearmed'... so my fighting spirit kicked in when I heard this warning and in defiance I insisted we move in... I honestly didn't believe that anything bad would happen if we did... I reminded myself of that line in Terminator 2 … ‘there is no fate but what we make’... I had faith and I knew that this wasn't our fate.

I guess another reason I didn't give into my fears so readily was simply because house hunting was a royal pain in the arse… especially with 4 other Naija girls. When we found a nice 5 bedroom house Busola pulled out. So we had to start again because this time we only needed a 4 bedroom place... most of the good ones had already gone. It was also exam season so I was stressed to the hilt with revision… which meant it was double wahala trying to sort out viewings. We knew if we waited until exams were over we would end up living in a dive.

I will not pretend that I am not fussy… I have certain standards… so when we eventually found a place… I was happy. Midweek after we had viewed the flat I got a call from Bubbles.

Shubby Doo: How now? I’m sorry I haven’t called before but I’ve been revising. Anyway I checked and I can afford my share of the rent.
Bubbles: Me too but rent isn’t the issue… it’s Chixster.
Shubby Doo: I don’t understand… you say rent isn’t the issue so what is the problem?… shebi we were all there when she said she it was ok.
Bubbles: She said she felt something strange and sinister when we were there… her spirit is unsettled… basically she got some sort of premonition that something bad would happen to us if we moved in
Shubby Doo: You’re not serious?
Bubbles: I am o…

Bubbles was serious... because Chixster was serious… I was seriously not convinced... maybe because I have always chosen faith over fate whenever they differ but I couldn’t quite dismiss her gift which had revealed this unknown foreboding future… why?

1stly - Chixster was a strong Christian.

2ndly - I had heard that it was a bad thing to ignore her advice on such things… she was gifted like her mother… it was her mother’s gift that had prevented the death of Chixster’s father… as I recall the driver had died in his place.

I called and spoke to Chixster and tried to appease her fears… no joy… but I wasn’t willing to give up on the flat despite the fact that Chixster wasn’t willing to move in.

I weighed up my options… like Busola, I too could break away but I’d already done so with another group of black girls and opted to move in solely with naija babes… hmmm... if I pulled out from this group then my only choice was living with Jay… how was I going to explain living with a guy (even though our friendship was purely platonic) to my folks? I wasn’t... so Jay wasn’t an option.

Determined, I spoke to Chixster again... she gave in a little this time… she said that the only way we were living in that place was if we waged a spiritual war against the premonition and won... No problem I thought... my fighting spirit was ready... I would put on The Armour of God (as in Ephesians 6:10-20) and go with her… Chixster said we should start by sprinkling holy water in every single room and praying... if her feelings against the place diminished we'd be winning. As I held the phone to my ear, I started to ponder how exactly we would get a priest to come with us on a 2nd viewing... hmmm... at that moment Chixster interrupted my thoughts & let it be known she had holy water we could use.

We went back.

The 2nd time I was there I felt ‘it’ too… but it so happened to be the room that I had chosen as mine that was particularly problematic… you see my room was the only one with a built-in wardrobe (I told you I had standards). When we opened it, we found a small skeleton…

Like Aoife… this time I started screaming.


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

me, my health & I

Last week I turned down workingon a project which meant I’d have to commute to up north every Monday and return back to mine on Friday… the drive is about 6 hours each way…I politely told them no thanks & then added if they chose to keep on taking work up north then they should hire competent folk that live in the area…

This week I got coerced into being the Engineering Consultant for a new bid and I’m not inspired at all…5 days of my time is all I’ve agreed to… I just hope 5 days of work will NOT turn into 3 weeks…

I can’t seem to concentrate at work this week… I don’t feel well… I think I might be coming down with a coldwatery eyes plus my glands are slightly swollen... my own is that if it is a cold it should just come and pass quickly jo…

I'm blaming my Principal Consultant because he came in with a cold this week... also blaming him since he is the one that keeps pointing the Engineering Managers to my desk to ask me to work on projects that he cannot work on... despite the fact that we are BOTH fully loaded my name is still the automatic default from his lips.

Saying that he has just snuck off to 'The Boat Show'... he was trying to keep it quiet from me but I heard him whispering and acting shifty... not like him... then I saw him turning off his computer early... very unlike him... so I walked up to his desk and was like... ‘er... erm... what are you doing cos you better not be dashing off? btw what is all this I just overheard about a boat show?’... the poor guy looked like he'd just been caught with his hands in the cookie jar... lol

Despite the fact that I was amused, I met his stuttered reply with a stern look... at which point he just laughed... I wasn't too hard on him sha because he was here until about 7pm last night... COB is 4:30pm... I left at about 6:30pm yesterday but it was a longish day for me because I was in for 7:30am.

Anyway... back to my health... I have a pain in my neck… I ignored it over the weekend but it is still there… I know full well it is hurting in the same place as it did 4 years ago…

Good Shepherd just send one of your angels to hold me… for now that’s all I ask.

Maybe it is in my head but at the moment… about everything… I am thinking of this passage:

‘…For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,' declares the LORD…’ Jeremiah 30:17

So be it, in Jesus Name.

What was I saying?... oh yes... 4 years ago I found a very small lump in my neck… I searched around at the time and found another…I have to thank God for small mercies because neither have grown since I showed the doctor back then… but I never went back like he suggested…

I will register with a doctor's surgery tonight… I should have done so when I moved up here but hey 21 months is an improvement for me… last time I moved it took me over 2 years to register…actually it was probably closer to 3 years.

Hopefully they’ll quickly transfer my medical notes from the old doctor's practice so I can make an appointment for next week… else I’ll pick them up next Tuesday when I drive south to discuss my Russian work.

Must remember to call the HR dept and take up the private health care option that I’m now entitled to have…no disrespect to the NHS.


Monday, 8 September 2008

juggling act

I’m so very busy… apparently women are better at multitasking but I’ve always hated having to refocus my attention from an overall goal towards multiple subsidiary tasks… but at the moment everything seems to be major which means I’m juggling so many things at once… too many things at once…

I read somewhere that the act of juggling is the human ability of moving objects, usually through the air. It is done mainly for entertainment. But this is my life… and it ain't no joke so I’m scared that if I loose concentration for a second, the balls might fall to the ground… I don’t want that.

Lemme explain…

1stly… career ball… I’m busy with work… In addition to what is already on my plate, I think I might have to start going to Russia soon. My company are working on getting me a multiple visa for trips to Moscow, Murmansk and Saint Petersburg… but mehnnn…the idea of trying to acclimatise to the cold over there (especially at this time of year) is not meshing with me one bit... not at all.

Work is kind of doing me a favour with the visa thing as I’ve always wanted to go to Saint Petersburg. The music, culture and cityscape are something to experience apparently. Did you know that the name was thought to be too German, so in 1914 the city was renamed Petrograd? I’m fascinated with the revolution that ousted Tsar Nicholas II and forged the legend of Anastasia. She is the daughter that was supposed to have survived despite the fact that her and her siblings were speared with bayonets. This was because the amount of diamonds they were wearing apparently rendered them bullet proof (to some extent). Anyway after the revolution against the Russian Monarchy, Lenin came into power. Then he died and so they re-named the place Leningrad just 3 days after his death in 1924. However, in the 1991 referendum, 54% of voters chose to restore the name Saint Petersburg. I digress…

Anyway, fellow Nigerians keep telling me that Russians don’t like black people but I’ve known a couple of mixed raced people... as in the Russian and Naija combo (I'm sorry if that sounds like a meal deal but you know what I mean)… anyway, they never complained about being discriminated against when there… but the idea of that curve ball does bother me sha.

2ndly… family ball… I’m busy with plans for my mother’s bday… my brothers and I are trying to organise the celebrations for her 60th next month. My task is trying to sort out the thanksgiving church service... and the cake... and the finger food... and the champagne & wine well as the music for the reception. I'm really starting to wonder what the others are doing... lol... I'm not sorting out the dinner so I'm happy about that sha.

Also we are not sure of what to get her… we think it should be a collective present from the kids but no one has a clue… anybody that read half will know my mother is fussy… the saying ‘it is the thought that counts’ doesn't wash with her… it is BECAUSE we love her we MUST get it right! lol

3rdly… love ball… as in the art of contact juggling… hmmm… that is the ability to manipulate the object (of my affection of course... not that I do manipulation mind you) through constant contact with the body…hmmm…*blushing*… er… not for this post…

4thly... friendship ball... my friend Nailah had a baby today... I didn't even realise she was due... I felt so bad... anyway, I called her as soon as I got her text. She told me she was still at the hospital and that she'd given birth at 1pm today to a beautiful and healthy baby girl... ***ok, so I admit that I added this bit to the original post at about 6pm***... anyway, I am so happy for her. I will try and visit her as soon as she gets out of hospital.

Today is a blessing indeed because it is also one of my closest friend’s birthday. Let's call her Maizah. I called her in Abuja to wish her happy birthday. She told me she was having a lovely romantic dinner organised by her boyfriend and they would be joining their other friends for her birthday get together later.

Lastly… party ball… I’m busy planning my bday in November… my friends and I are off to Nevada. All flights and hotels are booked… I’ve told everybody that no husbands or boyfriends are allowed…

I’ve sorted out most of the special stuff sha… but I’m really surprised that everybody coming to celebrate with me wants to play with the adventure ball… as in go skydiving with me… as in naija babes will jump out of a plane and start free falling at 120 mph (miles per hour) … but only for about 60 seconds…then we get to parachute down for 5 to 7 minutes… can you imagine it?… 5 to 7 minutes of gliding in quiet peace.

Apparently when I free fall I will feel ‘… a sense of weightlessness and wind… it will feel like I’m floating…’

Will be saying a prayer before I take my leap of faith sha!!!


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