Often when we are in a position, we fail to see how far we have come. It is often the case that when a man is climbing a mountain and looks down, he does not appreciate the heights he has attained but is afraid of what would happen if he falls.
I have learnt to take a few things; to embrace the tears of others, whether in joy or sadness. It has been a year like that. 2017 was. I have grown tougher, and yet, softened too. I am not the man I was at the start of that year, or the man the year left. I have learnt to love more, but to also note, that even those we love have great flaws. While it takes nothing to be loyal and it is allowed to be blind, we have to be wise to listen when people point out errors in us and in those we love. No need to defend blindly or to be angry when we are told the truth. Importantly, there is no weakness in being sorry. No matter how far gone or how early, once we find our wrong, we should right it in what ways we can while acknowledging our guilt. We can change what we can, and should change it if we have to, and if it will make things better. What we can’t, we can’t and we can only find ways to assuage what damages we can.
Life is what it is – kind and unfair, in differing measures. We have to accept this.
I learnt an important lesson: to have a chest for happy memories where I would save treasured moments, to use in times of torment. There are those days when the skies get too bleak and it is only those memories that become the light to help us through the darkness those times bring. In simple English: appreciate every moment and store vividly every time of joy. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
There’s no time to be too bitter, let things go. Time is fickle and life too short. I know this. I lost two uncles (brothers), two cousins (siblings), a cousin’s child and a younger sister. To mention only those in the direct family. Just in a year…and all, in the second half. That same season when I did my nuptials (apologies to family and friends who I couldn’t get through to or thought I got to in my state of being overwhelmed… You still mean much, and we are still collecting gifts 🙂 ).
Vern, the treasure of most of us, was only 28 years old. She died on the 1st of December. She was buried, as is the tradition with young ones, a week later on the 8th, a day to my church wedding. I had thought I had lost the gift of my tears as I would experience the deepest of pains without an outlet to shed away the tears. For her, I cried non-stop for hours. And in my heart, the wound of her loss still bleeds, and will, for very long time. The trauma for my brother, James Blaze, and my other siblings, is perhaps more but we all mourn differently, pain being a private affair always no matter how shared. In the same season I got to share of the loss of the child of my good friend and adopted brother, Saddiq Dzukogi. It got me thinking on much too. A whole lot. And just when we thought it was all over, another cousin lost his daughter on the 31st of December, 2017. #sigh
In the spirit of the New Year, I am starting life afresh and thinking of things in new lights. I have my family, my co-driver, Agatha, with whom I am navigating… I don’t know where these roads would lead but I am hoping to be a better man in every ramification. I raise a toast to us all and ask, that in all our ways, we also take that step to be better than we were everyday. At the last second, life’s battle is not a race with others but with ourselves. May we smile, fulfilled whenever the curtain calls, and may life always treat us kind. Amen.
When love beckons to you follow him,
though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses
your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
so shall he descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread
for God’s sacred feast.
All these things love will do unto you
that you might know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace
and love’s pleasure,
then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness
and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
into the seasonless world where you shall laugh,
but not with all of your laughter,
but not all of your tears.
For Love gives naught but itself
and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not
nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
And when you love you should not say,
“God is in my heart,”
but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
Think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must have desires,
let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
to return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise upon your lips.
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
About Kahlil Gibrain
Kahlil Gibrain (1883-1931) is one of the world’s most popular and best selling poets of all times. He was a Lebanese-American poet, philosopher, artist and writer. His writings are deeply prophetic (he actually has a book titled The Prophet ) and deep. Google his poetry and if you get the opportunity, buy and/or read his books. His words are transforming if you let them sink. Now, let’s end this with a quote from him:
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Poetry is hope; hope is life; something beautiful.
If you would listen, it is a promise.
If you would listen, quietly and get those codes that gently unveil themselves to us like dawn unfolds to day; like the caterpillar to a butterfly.
It is the look of waters
– on a cloudy night; wait a few seconds for when God’s hands pushes those clouds –
With stars and the moon dancing in a million glitters across several miles;
Can you see the diamonds bobbing up and down as the waves sing promises and freshness to your soul?
It is transformation from bleak to bliss.
It is the sight of beauty, the sound of desire, the smell of hope, the taste of victory and the touch of greatness… It is so much more…
It is your heart in words the mouth cannot utter; your soul in codes your flesh can’t decipher. It is the air and it is the earth – you can feel it without touching; you can grab it in your fingers yet it carries you.
It is dawn – the sun smiling when you wake.
Dusk – when the sun dives back below the earth’s belt.
The moon shining in shapes from a calabash to a banana, on any given night – with its stars glittering and dotting the skies, precious gems lighting the souls of the weary…
It is those words that tell us, who are heavy laden
– lovers who struggle to find the spark of fires that now seem like smoke
– a writer weaving words no one seems to care about
– someone looking over a sick one, in anguish
– people in recession, finding a single meal
– a father who looks to questioning eyes that ask ‘why?’
– a mother, forced to go to a trash can to pick meals like a lunatic, not caring about eyes that stare, as she puts food in the mouth of her baby
It is those words that tell us to look up in hope, even on those nights when the clouds come around to bring a sense of darkness
As you struggle through dusk, note every night gives birth to dawn and day, brilliant rays that will sparkle your existence
When it seems like the end, remember just when the caterpillar thought it was over, it became a butterfly!
The river that looks dark on a cloudy night, inviting you to taste of its depth transforms to a mirror of diamonds with a small push of Aôndo who takes all the clouds away
True. Those clouds…
They never took away the moon and stars. The clouds would slowly float away… but would you be waiting?
That is poetry. That is hope. That is life.
That is you.
You are verse. You are hope. You are life.
Too beautiful to be explained. Too deep to be deciphered at once, yet full of so much and more.
You are beautiful.
If they would listen, you are a promise.
If they would listen, quietly and get those codes that gently unveil themselves like dawn unfolds day; they would see the diamond that hid behind the rough.
You are the sight of beauty, the sound of desire, the smell of hope, the taste of victory and the touch of greatness… You are so much more…
Listen slowly to what the universe just whispered to my heart,
hear it everyday in the voice time should never make you deaf to:
You are the best verse that life ever wrote.
- Copyright ©Su’eddie Vershima Agema, 2017
And when my Joy was born, I held it in my arms and stood on the
house-top shouting, “Come ye, my neighbours, come and see, for Joy
this day is born unto me. Come and behold this gladsome thing that
laugheth in the sun.”
But none of my neighbours came to look upon my Joy, and great was
And every day for seven moons I proclaimed my Joy from the
house-top—and yet no one heeded me. And my Joy and I were alone,
unsought and unvisited.
Then my Joy grew pale and weary because no other heart but mine
held its loveliness and no other lips kissed its lips.
Then my Joy died of isolation.
And now I only remember my dead Joy in remembering my dead Sorrow.
But memory is an autumn leaf that murmurs a while in the wind and
then is heard no more.
Maybe we should learn to hate.
Not to love everything, like our heart would have us do. Not to compromise on things that are more of lies, for the sake of – peace.
When they piss on the centre of our souls, quenching the one thing that keeps us going –sanity.
Maybe we should learn to hate.
To rise above the cries we have sobbed, smiling in distress, swallowing sadness while lingering pain stabs us deep in the heart where no one can see… Even in love, we offer another plea…
Maybe we should learn to hate.
Shout at the arrogance of asses that fart noises to our noses, entrenching deeper stripes into our skin as more wipes are lashed by those we throw our hearts at, as they target carefully aimed darts…
Maybe we should learn to hate.
Maybe hate should grow. Slowly, a spark at a time till it flames and enrages our being, burning every fibre to shout at every evil, stare every stupidity and not be trampled by those who live that we may die…
Maybe we should learn to hate?
- Su’eddie Vershima Agema
(put your trust in Aondo and nothing would ever surpass you…
…for Su’eddie Vershima Agema on the 20th…)
So the day breaks into a new year,
Usually it’s a cock, but today, lots of texts.
Greetings from loved ones to you
Happy birthday, t’is the refrain they chant.
Unruly greys will begin to show,
Reassuringly, they can be dyed.
Sedulous scribbles from Sibbyl to Su.
Hoping to put a smile in your heart.
Almost like I have known you for ages
That is not meant to be laughed at, Mister!
Even so, feel free to blush.
Rarely do we find one with such sunny disposition.
Always, a smile could be heard,
Over the phone, spreading cheer through the lines.
Never one to be stuck on something sad.
Designed by Aondo, you’s an awesome package.
Oh! We shall ne’er forget mother;
Keeper of this babe for nine,
Wherefore, she birthed, and gave you to us.
Ardent lover of literature.
Hopefully we wait to read what books you write .
Even so, I am sure you wouldn’t brag.
Meekness; you shall inherit the earth for sure.
Bearing gifts people come to you,
As they once did for Him,
Understandably, they are not the Magi.
Go with God, a prayer we all say for you.
At last, each letter of your name counts.
Happy Birthday Sibbyl Whyte and may Aondo bless you for everyday. Cheers!
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
About Kahlil Gibrain
Kahlil Gibrain (1883-1931) is one of the world’s most popular and best selling poets of all times. He was a Lebanese-American poet, philosopher, artist and writer. His writings are deeply prophetic (he actually has a book titled The Prophet 🙂 ) and deep. Google his poetry and if you get the opportunity, buy and/or read his books. His words are transforming if you let them sink. Now, let’s end this with a quote from him:
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Different dawns come upon us and the sun we see today, though the same that appears tomorrow is different in many ways – maybe in intensity, or just in the manner it sends its rays upon us. It is the same thing with affections, emotions and a whole lot more. Today, well, yesterday was a funny day. I got to remember much about family, and lost ones. It started with a movie, Lukewarm. The sub-plot was about a father-son relationship. It took me on a long journey; life.
Later, as the day wore on, as I walked the road with a friend and got to meet with family, and talk to other friends in different areas who needed a little help or the other, I got to realise that a lot of people are going through so much pain. So much pain, that we often do not note. It has been a learning period for me, these past weeks. I have learnt and am still learning much about friendship, about family and being grateful. Also about God who is always there for us too and Jesus. There’s always much to be grateful for. Always.
But back to this night, I watched a certain series about some girls who stood for their friend when a teacher tried to victimise her over grades (sex for grades). At the risk of going to jail, these three friends stood up for their friends. I was deeply touched, and I had to wonder what was wrong with me as I felt some tears.
Many times, even when you cannot give the specific help needed to aid a person out of pain, give an attentive ear, letting go of that seemingly important thing that you think you might have to do. Being there and saying the right word, just might be all it takes. Sometimes, even without those words, just being there, really being there… It takes a lot for some people to tell you their tales, and if you are privileged – for it is a deep one – please, be there.
Who knows where our tales will end – or how? You can be a hero and shine a light out of someone’s darkness…
On whatever roads life takes you this day, and even in the days ahead, I pray the roads will be safe, and that you will always have God’s grace to lead you, peace in your heart, then joy. And a friend.
The piece is centred on certain views to gender change but more importantly, motherhood. In beginning, your permission is sought for just a little detour before the main gist…
So, what does one say about them – women that is. They are indeed the essence of everything that the world is. It has been said that there is nothing new under the sun; everything has been done in one way or the other. In essence, there is no inventing the wheel no more; it is just modifications. This is true of women. To talk about the values of women would be to just babble and repeat clichés that have been used from time immemorial. Do we talk about their physical qualities? Lovely hazel eyes; face that shines like the moon; lovely physique; figure eight… Is it their persons? There are descriptions to almost all the ladies we can come across, descriptions that we might want to personalise but have been used over and again. These descriptions come in personages of others who have lived long and granted names to the whole group; there is the great sweet mother of eternity that each one of us professes; Jezebel; Delilah; Mary; … what description?
They are delicate and complicated, true talk. They are different; soft and gentle but in most cases getting all the sympathy. Reminds one of the case of the house where every night the wife would be shouting ‘You would kill me today, you would kill me today!! Ahh! Ahh!! Ahh!!’ In the end, the neighbours tired of the rant and hoping to rescue the lady on this night before her wicked husband killed her, broke the front door of the house which was locked. Behold, the woman was on top of the husband plummeting him with series of blows that would have gained her the heavy weight if she had decided to join the boxing profession. The amazed neighbours in the normal style of doing things, turned and left without helping the poor man who could hardly shout from the pain… So, forgetting the humour, we get to look at the fact that in man cases, when a man is involved in a case and it is the woman on top, he is left to suffer his fate…
Well, that is the case of gender equality. Gender equality has come to mean women getting equal rights in all situations as men and in some other cases, having more rights than them. It was employed in several sectors ranging from governance where there has been an increased call for more representation of these on boards of administration and governments. In Nigeria, President Jonathan promised that in his new government, there would be far more representation, has he lived up to his promise? You should know the answer. Then, there is the other aspect of women trying increasingly to become more like their male counterparts or even better…
What is wrong with all these? I don’t know. Perhaps, there is no wrong to it, perhaps there is. It must be noted that it is amazing to find great women of character and will. They sure can transform any place. Honestly, any lady who stands up and means it, somehow gets to be outstanding…meaning most ladies hardly fall into average – just greats or failures. The admiration of many for these sort of women is beyond compare.
More and more, the number of professional women rises to the detriment of even mere mothers. The world seems to be losing so many mothers and getting by this extension, many way-ward children. The main compensation these women would give would be to simply give treats of hang-outs and the like to their children or something of the sort. Now, in saying this, one is not unmindful of the exceptional few who find a balance – they are to be praised! But there is the increasing number of women losing themselves and being to become more like men and less than themselves…
One problem rises though, what happens when our women totally lose themselves? Gender roles would naturally attribute mothering and such to women. What happens when they neglect this role and leave it all to some paid or gotten assistant or in some situations, fathers? Hmm, it could be terrible many times. So, what are we driving at? It is good that women are striving to be greater; it is good that they are being given all the attention they are given… but it would be better if they remembered one of their primary roles which is the home or to be more particular, their children. Experience has shown that children who have more care from their mothers turn out to be greater than those who didn’t. By this care now, the watchword is not to spoil but rather to pay closer attention to one’s children. It is the greatest thing that a lady can do.
Forgetting all the attention given to women, or the strives at gender equality and all, the true essence of a woman – and now, we are looking at mothers – is mainly how and what her children would come to be. This is what distinguishes the mother from the father. True, the father is needed to make things right and to give the firm position but the essence of the mother cannot and should not be mistaken or underestimated.
It brings to mind the words of a great lady, Hembadoon Angela Itakpe, ‘A strong successful woman is not one that has built a career only but one that built her home alongside it. Not an easy balance, but we can try. Many times, you will seem to b running one side of this equation only. I guess the main thing there is realising it & trying 2 pull the neglected part back into orbit.’
It is only right to salute all the strong women of the world for their strength and for everything they stand for. It is possible that this piece might have been a bit back and forth but it’s main essence is a call to mind of the changing values of time and the evolving lady who strives to make the world better and more importantly, those mothers out there… There is the plea at the end here now that mothers find time to be mothers for therein would the world get better…
In closing, this piece and indeed my being for this month is dedicated to those professional mothers; whether selling akara or working as a Manager somewhere; shuffling between different jobs; or even struggling with school, exams or doing any other business and finding time to get back to the children. They are indeed miracles that nothing can explain. They are indeed the greatest. No gender equality or comparison can ever be used to measure their worth or put them in a state that would be as just and right as most feminists or others would want. These are the angels that we can’t do without. Thanks for every effort, every tear, every worry and every sacrifice… May the world and even whatever world after they believe in or not, bless their every effort and give them the reward that they truly deserve.
And to us all else, God bless. Amen.
(First Published: 22nd October, 2011 HERE)
- A Rise in Female Breadwinners Does Not Mean Gender Equality Is Inevitable (theatlantic.com)
- New reforms to tackle gender inequality (bigpondnews.com)
- The struggle for gender equality (lucetteeastbourne.wordpress.com)
- Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner: The Elephant in the Living Room (huffingtonpost.com)
- Sexism, misogyny, gender equality: what does it all mean? (teamoyeniyi.com)
- Five minutes on the bible and gender equality (christthetruth.wordpress.com)
- Women’s economic empowerment offers a win-win scenario | Naila Kabeer (guardian.co.uk)