We’ve been friends even as my mother conceived me. You told her that you love me. You told her that everything that concerns me touches you in the heart. You told her that you knew me even before she conceived me. You said to her: that my expectation shall not be cut off by any man or any woman. You said to her, that you are my pillar and my fortress and my strong tower and nothing is too hard for you to do for me. I know you as you knew me right from the beginning of time immemorial. Then, why has the mountain failed to move?
Why is the pillar holding the world shaking?
Why is the world basking on my weaknesses?
Why has evil triumph over me?
Where are you? Where is your will?
Why are your ears too far from my words?
Why don't you command this sickness out of the way? Why have they tormented us this far like we have no father above?
Why free the devil to use us as he wants?
Why, Why? I ran to mother in the deadly hours of the night, I saw her in supplication to no one else but you.
I saw that Chinedu was still sick. I saw tears in the face of Father, whose mighty hands built the church cathedral. I could remember when he said that you told him to give all his best, he gathered some of his brothers and sisters and sold the whole lands he inherited from his father. He gave the proceeds to the church of God according to the prophecy. He called it a seed, yes, he called it a seed to God and we all believed him because he believed in you. He was mocked by all but he waited. He waited for you to answer him but you were far, far from him. maybe the time has not come, maybe, he might be lucky if he waits a little longer. You were not there to rescue him when sickness came. You were not there to rescue him when he had an accident. You should have averted the accident to somewhere else because he pays his tithe and gives his offering. Father’s favourite line from the Holy Book says that:
“…And you will devour the devourer and the cankerworms…”
That was the lines we grew up hearing him quote each time he was counting his tithe and whenever he paid them. You were not there to heal his second daughter Chikamso. She died in pains of cancer and was buried while you watched from heaven.
Meanwhile, Father trusted in you. You said that those who trusted in you will never be put to shame but he was. Look at mother in supplication every now and then. She has made the kitchen her home. The kitchen where the memories of Chikamso started, where she first collapsed, the kitchen where Kambili died; the kitchen where her dog was poisoned; the kitchen where she birthed Mary, her memories started right here in the kitchen not in the bedroom but here where seeking for freedom is the deadliest thing that ever happened to mankind. Nothing is worth anything to a dead man, not even his money. It is how boys were raped and we could not see you come to their rescue in the midst of many deadly torments and torture. It is how girls were abused and we could not lay hands on the mercy of God rather His words came before the sun of the day to hurt us fiercely on our craving skins. It is how we were taking into exile and the spirit of God was nowhere to be found. It is how our brothers and sisters were killed on the gory land called Nigeria. We could not find God in their midst yet, we believed that he is ever present to us.
Mother is still in the kitchen, Father is still holding on tears just like the society told him that a man must not cry because he is a man, he must not show his weaknesses because he is a man. God, now that Mary is no more here to sing of how great you are, our mouths are ceased of praises. How could you have allowed Mary to leave us here alone? How could you have allowed her to journey alone in the void places holding no one by her side? Who would then sing in this morning devotion? Who would then raise a song of praises to you without holding back tears? We are all dying, and we must all die if Mary does not return home. Maybe death is the safest place to lay down ourselves till eternity. Her smiling portrait rests in the heart of every one of us, capped with a lonely and empty feeling. How could you’ve allowed death to snatch her away from us? How could you have allowed her the freedom to paradise without first consulting her? You further made her pass through pains and sorrow before you took her away. Why?
Now, who will go to church with her Bible to worship you? Who will then clap hands like her in the church if she did not return? Is Cruelty served in your plate? You took her down so bitterly with no complaints; agony randomly blue ticked all her texts. She endured the pains and wished for the best but the best never came to her. Even when the world within her was at rest, no favors, and no gains, just a troublesome quest, but wait, why do we run to you after being frightened? Why do we forget you’re the same God that cares nothing about us in this side of the world? Why do we pray if not for it to be answered? The demons use us here like we were some rolls of paper, like we were a blunt meant to be finished but make sure their feelings were satisfied, they use us like a peddler, only when they need us.
Should I tell papa to go to the altar and take back the money he sowed as a seed for the wellbeing of Mary? Should I tell mother to stop fasting or to go to church and request for her car that she sowed as an offering for Mary’s recovery? Anyways, you are still God with or without those things and us. You are still there as God and no one can question your authority as they rightly said. But, I am bringing this to you that Satan is not at rest and you should not be at rest also. If Mary after all she had done in the house of God could die then life itself is meaningless to every human being. Having this thought all day long makes me think of losing myself to the wind. It makes me want to rest myself in the vacuum of lonely days till the trumpet will sound for Christ to come to our rescue if possible. Tomorrow sounds good and poisonous defining the art through which we were made. Tomorrow is a school of thought with the definition of the unknown and you know you made it so. If only we could number our days here on earth; man will be better than he is now. If only tomorrow is known to us, man would learn how to manage himself to the fullest but tomorrow is unknown.
Papa has been on a wheelchair for the past fifteen years. He had an accident doing your work. Sister Amaka has not given birth for the past ten years but she is among the pastors in the church. She counseled a sister who wanted to abort her child yesterday. Later today, she heard that the same sister has ended up aborting the child. I know your time is the best but she is being mocked by people she is better than. They looked straight into her eyes and mock her aggressively. Even those she called sons and daughters in the Lord mock her also. We were told that the devil locked up her womb because she is a Christian. Is that so? Where are you, God?
Brother Ezeugo lost his job last year because he was caught preaching the gospel to one of his coworkers. We all know that these are temptations to show your supremacy over all things but you are still God with or without all these temptations. And now Ogba is suffering from pile…!
I know you know about this but, when will all this end? Should we switch places and find peace somewhere else? Should we tell them that you are no longer God? Should we continue to plead that we may be called humans? No!
Yesterday, I was in the church again and the man of God spoke about heaven and hell. He taught us about paradise on earth and ensnaring hellfire for sinners. He said there is a Hellfire waiting for all sinners, those who disobeyed God. I was surprised hearing this again. I was astonished of how a lovely father would punish his children in the lake of fire because of disobedience. I was wondering why but I could not get an answer to the question. I wonder how you will feel seeing your children that you created burn and scream for help from the fire. Would you just close your eyes and ears for us to burn till eternity or would you quash the fire when you have mercy on us or would you just allow us to perish? If so, why did you create us, for you to burn us like that?
When Mary was alive, she was a chorister. Later, she was ordained as a pastor and she was up and doing. She did all that she could to put smiles on people’s faces. She won many souls to the kingdom and was called Mother Theresa of our generation. She built many foundations where the motherless and the orphans could be taken care of but after all, she died a nobody.
She died just like a fowl. She asked that I suck her memories away; she asked that I be her eyes, so I began from the beginning of her making until she gave up the ghost— I touched her like feathers on the wings of a seabird on the day she gave up as a human. She floated and ached in my bones but I asked for peace but it was far away from me. The peace which no one could give but only you. I shivered and woke in her skin, I nibbled into her nipples but all was lifeless to the core. Myself, her mother and her father moaned looking at her face lying on the bed. Her spirit taught us how to run, to disallow little demons from telling us how her vagina looks like. I think you know all of this. I know you know them all, God. Life has taught us to wear the clothes of our fathers and that of misery — "riches are never available” that was what misery told us. Life said that we should be scarce; we cannot cut our heart for a river flowing with dismissal. Life is a docile, a doorless room where everything escapes at will. Life is a misery only known by itself.
Let’s learn how to plant our lips only on our mouths day and night so that we could suck out mother and her mother’s dirge and her father's mother elegy before the black goats go into the dark night to look for yams to misuse. Let’s turn our hands into a song from which your mouth ache again and again at your inabilities. We are all humans learning to throw ourselves to the world like our kites dangling to the wind’s songs without holding anything as a common desire to hurt others of their misfortunes. In the terrain of blue skies, we will become tired humans learning to empty our wisdoms through the names of the grave but before then, let’s knit to our father's names to look for why our prayers take time to be answered and why we die and where we could find death. How do you think you carve the name of death after you die? On the sand towers? On the bridge of hope or on the bodies of the skies?
God, do you know I gave myself big eyes, dreams, faiths, and big distance and even bigger heights just like the Egyptian’s pyramid? Do you know that when time becomes darkness we must beat with a torchlight? I may not likely tell you that I am not asking, you know I have been asking and waiting for the answer; no raven remains in the sky to convey my messages to you, none.
I seek the boldness of the wind to take my pleas to you so that life will not make me feel like a fatherless when you are still alive. Just in case I misstep, just in case I no longer dream; just in case I may think of losing it all, just us in separate worlds dancing in the wind.
It is how I, father and mother and the remaining brothers of mine took the stairs in our lives with bowties of everyday barriers because the songs of humans are a case in the courtyard of perpetuity. There are stories in the eyes of those boys who went and never came back to this world. There are somehow prices in the eyes of those women and men who are murdered every day on our streets? There are untold tales in the mouths of those our brothers and sisters who were killed by terrorist groups and herdsmen! There are many stories, dear God. Why were they brought to this world in the first place? Why are we here? To drink, produce and die?
Flinging mangoes against the window netting and making the electric wires hit each other and spark bright orange flames, is how men and women are lured into brokenness, because each time day breaks, it reminds men to work harder and toil more than the veins in their bodies because sweating is how a man poses and take pictures to remind himself of how he started. This is how our stories are told anywhere in the world said to be round and flat. Every day, the human race is scrunched up with the noses at the smell of bloody fresh meat and musty dried fish and their heads are lowered from the bees that buzzed in thick clouds over the sheds of the honey sellers. This is what you made us to be, it is how we became skeletons in our memories and talking to a father who made us became somehow rowdy and sometimes we scream and curse and clap our hands knowing very well that those pastors that were said are called by God told us to do so. It is how men and women became thirsty on the tongues of sweet neglects. Like one time, a boy and a girl were raped like a moth-eaten blouse slipping off from a woman's shoulder just how every day explains how tailored the tears of a boy child and a girl child, a man and a woman become once it drops from their eyes and you were nowhere to be found to rescue them not even their fellow human came to rescue them.
You walked on oceans, I stretched into my body into your eyes, we both wanted to see what it really meant to be called a God; one small, one big. To course through the skin of a sky or float into the windpipe of yesterday when we were still blood and water will have us thinking like we once existed here.
Tell me, Is there really Hellfire? Are there really ghosts? Are there really spirits? Is there really Satan? How did the fight of the growing gods break out in heaven? Who were the judges, Angels? I am confused here just like everyone else. The African traders are home now, all wailing of their lost sons and daughters whom they will never see again. The street has ceased to accommodate us, it’s deserted. What are our offenses? They said human blood had redesigned their bodies. Tell me, why do you allow much blood to spill all over the place? And those who were killed without their knowledge of it, will they still go to hellfire to be burned?. Your skin our iris, it's a monument, it’s a collection of fire of anguish to burn us all till eternity. We burn, you gnash like a father watching his children die silently. This is not what every book called a lover's God should contain.
They said it is not everything I find here that looks like you but you created them all. They said you are white or Pink or what have you, who does Africans look like, Ape? But you created us in your image, isn’t it? I am confused here! Totally confusing but it is a mystery why we are here.
Remember, Ogba is still sick of pile. Yesterday, a prophetess laid hand on him to be healed and gave him holy water to drink but he is still hoping for healing. Remember he must not die on the 4th of May. He must not die just like Mary died. You have to bless him and make him the light you promised. He has to bring his family to the limelight, he has to.
I may not be able to share kola nut with you as it is being done in the heart of Igbo men when they gather to deliberate issues hurting them. I may not be able to render some praises to you at this moment because of the urgency tailored for my voice to be hearkened.
Maybe we’ll switch places and find peace somewhere without the gospel or maybe we hold the gospel waiting for that glorious day of the coming or the last day between death and life.
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