Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Friendly Stranger

The bus dropped me off at Jakande bus stop as usual.  The day had been so hectic I stretched on the road not minding who was looking at me, my bones needed that stretch.

I looked left, right and left again then crossed over to the other side.  As usual, there was no bike thanks to the lovely BRF.  The thought of walking all the way home again made me groan physically.  I paused, looked up to the sky and asked the lord for strength to get home in one piece and survive Lagos.

I started walking down the road, I passed by the woman that sold yam, plantain and stew with cucumber, I always bought cucumber from her, but that day, I was too tired to even pause and buy.

“Aunty good evening.  You no buy today?” her daughter asked

“No, Mama good evening o, how market?” I replied acknowledging the girl and greeting her mum.

I kept walking after the pleasantries.  I looked back and saw a black jeep coming towards me.  I’m not very good with cars, so I don’t know what kind of jeep it was.  I only know it was one of those types that looked like a box with wheels.  I remember thinking to myself ‘here comes one of those box drivers again’.  I physically shook my head and gave way for the jeep to pass.  Mile 2 roads are that bad.

Surprisingly, the Jeep stopped and the window on the passenger’s seat slowly came down.  On a normal day, with how tired I was, I would have walked away, but when i saw the guy in the Jeep I was glued to the ground.

“Hi, can I give you a lift?”

“No, thank you” I said sharply and moved my legs.

“I’ll keep following you if you don’t talk to me”

Now that got me.  As fine as they guy was in his box, I sincerely didn’t want him to follow me home. I stopped and looked at him.

“What do you want” I asked.  Hoping my eyes were not betraying me and letting him see the effect his fineness was having on me.  Eyes have a bad habit of not minding their own business.

“Can I give you a ride home” he asked

“No, thank you.  I use this as my daily exercise” I replied.

“Ok, I’ll park my car and walk you home”

Is this guy crazy?  I thought to myself.  “And why would you do that?”

“Because I want to talk to you and since you don’t want me to give you a ride that seemed to be a great option b” he smiled

“Did I mention that I also like to reflect on my day and pray while I walk?  So, I don’t want any distraction” I said hoping to get him to give up and drive away.

“Well, how about I walk with you and not say a word until you get home and can talk to me.  I wouldn’t want to compete with God’s time… he’s a jealous God you know.” He giggled

I couldn’t help but laugh at that comment.  I imagined God frowning at the guy that minute.

“You have a very lovely way of laughing”

I suddenly became aware of his presence again and stopped laughing immediately. 

“We have to reach a compromise.  I am tired and I do not want you to give me a ride or walk me home and you want to talk to me.  

How about I give you my card, so you’d leave me alone to have my solitude walk, you can stay in your car and give me a call later to have that all important talk”

He smiled “That sounds like a plan to me”

I nodded, opened my bag and gave him my card.  He didn’t offer me his and I didn’t ask.  He thanked me, promised to call and drove off.

Honestly, I walked faster so I could get home before he called.  And you guessed right, I couldn’t reflect or pray either because a certain young man with a happy smile, driving a box filled my thoughts and I found myself smiling and looking forward to his call later that night as I walked home. 

When I stepped into the house, my phone rang.  I rushed to the living room dropped my bag and myself on the sofa, ignored my sister’s greeting and picked the call.

“Hello” I said trying to hide my excitement

“errrrm, I’m outside your house.  Can you step out please?”

Before I could protest, he hung up.  Still ignoring my sister, I walked out of the house and literarily ran to the gate.  When I opened it he smiled.

“You were not supposed to follow me home” I said.

“Are you going to ask me in?”

I apologized and asked him to come in.  Like PHCN knew, power came on that minute.  I ushered him into the living room.  My sister had seen us from the window and helped to clear all the mess before we came in… thank God for smart sisters.
When he sat down, I offered him water, but he turned it down.

“Seat down please” he said tapping the space beside him.

I walked over and sat facing him.

“How are you?” He asked.

The sincerity in his voice and eyes made me shiver.

“I’m fine, thank you.  You didn’t keep to our deal.” I managed to say.

He smiled and took my hands in his.  “When you came down from the bus and stretched, I saw you and thought, oh, she must be really tired.  Then you paused and looked into the sky and at that moment the Lord said to me ‘Give her a ride home’.  When you refused my offer, I did not argue because the Lord told me not to”.

His face assumed a more serious look “God told me to come tell you that what you are going through is only a phase that will not kill you but make you stronger.  He said he sees your heart and your longing to serve, he knows your desire to be with children instead of in an office.  Infact, He said that is what you always discuss with him every time you walk home after work.  He says I should tell you that though it tarries, the vision He has put in your heart will come to pass because He has a plan and you are right in the middle of it.”

“He also said he knows how tired you are and how many times you have been on the verge of giving up, but He says you should hold on because He is with you always and is working everything out for your good.”

I was crying because everything he said was true.   He pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped my tears.  “Finally he told me to tell you that He loves you.”  I didn’t follow you home, He told me where to find you and said I needed to deliver his message to you personally and not via a phone call.    Oh and yes… He said he has given you strength to survive in Lagos”

That made me laugh, I was still crying though.  He allowed me simmer down while he looked around the living room.

When I was calm, he said “You have a lovely home”

“Thank you.  You haven’t told me your name” I said.

“That’s not important my dear.  You’d probably never see me again.  Just call me a friend”.

“The friendly stranger?”

“That’s cool”

He stood up to leave.  I stood too, but I didn’t want him to go.  I didn’t want the moment to pass, I wanted to hold on to all that he had told me, I didn’t want to forget and he was the only tangible thing that would help me remember the message.

“What I just told you is right here” he touched my heart.  “You won’t forget it.”

I smiled. 

We walked to the gate and he said goodbye.  Then I realized he wasn’t even with his box(the jeep).  “How did you get here” I asked.

“Never mind” he smiled.

I thanked him for coming all the way to deliver the message. He gave me a hug and walked away.  When he was out of sight, a certain illumination flooded my heart and then I realized I had just been with an angel.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Knight in Shinning Tuxedo

Every time I pictured this moment, I always wondered what would be on my mind.  This fascination always made me stare intently at other brides I had seen take the walk.   I mean, their minds could not be blank during that long walk; they had to be thinking of something.

I stood at the door, watching as everyone tried to arrange my train; I only had a little bride and ring bearer.  I have always had a soft spot for little brides, maybe because I had done several in my tender age, but every time I saw this moment, I only saw a little bride.  Her dress matched mine except for the yellow wings she had and a halo on her head, she looked just like I had pictured her in my many fantasies.

As the organ began to play the hymn “Lord give us Christian Homes”, to usher me in, I started my journey down the aisle.   I thought I’d be thinking of how beautiful I looked and how green with jealousy all the ladies around me would be.  I had imagined my heels breaking in the middle of the aisle, missing a step and falling flat on my little bride and dragging my dad to the floor too (poor old man).  I’d thought I’d be worrying about making a huge mistake with my decision.  I had even imagined myself getting scared and running out of the church screaming for my mummy.  I thought I would be thinking about the fact that I was giving myself to a man and would have to take care of him for the rest of my life, and how my life would no longer be mine.

But I was surprised because my thoughts were far from these, instead, with every step I took, the picture of every guy I had met in my life flashed before my eyes.  All the guys I had been in love with, the ones I dated, the ones I had not dated, the ones who broke my heart and the ones whose heart I shattered, the crushes and the flirts.  One after the other, I saw all of them and each scene played in my head; the pain I felt after each heart break, the foolish things I had done to get their attention, the ache that followed after each rejection.  I felt all these emotions at the same time, I relived all of them.  The struggle to let go of the guy I thought was my life and my world, the pursuit of what I thought was the best thing for me.  Like a slide show, I saw everything flash through my mind.

I thought I’d faint from all the rush of emotions.  Just then I looked straight ahead and saw him, my knight in shining tuxedo.  He smiled that smile and all the negative emotions dissipated.  His smile felt like cold water in the hot summer, his love washed over me, I could literarily feel it drip from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet.  It felt like an electrical surge flowing through my veins, pumping into me strength and courage.   

Suddenly I felt the strong urge to go on my knees and thank God for not making all others work out.  The aisle looked like a tunnel and my Knight looked like a light at the end of the tunnel.  All other memories of every other guy faded into the shadows of his Love. 

I was tempted to look in the crowd and search for the faces of the guys who had walked away from me (if they dared to show up) and whisper a thank you to them (actually the initial thought was to stick out my tongue in their faces).  As painful as it was, truth is if they had not left me (or if I had not left them as the case may be) my Knight would not have found me, if I had not felt the pain of heartbreak, I would never have known what real love felt like.  Tears threatened to fall but I had to pull myself together lest I incur the wrath of my makeup artist.

When we reached the altar and my dad placed my hand in the hands of my Knight, he gently squeezed them and looked straight into my eyes and like the days leading to this moment, I read his unspoken words… the feeling was mutual.

“I do”

I could not imagine myself saying that to any other man.  His love had been a healing balm to my wounds and though I knew this journey we were about to begin would have its ups and downs, I was assured that we would pull through together just as long as he was beside me… his presence was all the confidence I needed.

“I now pronounce you man and wife.  You may kiss your bride”
He gently unveiled my face and as our lips met, the tears spilled.  I was overwhelmed with joy.  When we turned to face the congregation, I silently whispered a heartfelt prayer to God for the pain in the wait, for it was worth it…

It was in that time my Knight found me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rat-tled Forgiveness.

I had been fuming about the damages the rats in my house were doing, I was already thinking of a way to get rid of them and you will not believe I actually thought of using Ariel washing powder mixed with something else (I may still try it as soon as I get the other ingredient to add).  I’m kinda cautions about rat poisons because these rats lick my spoons (yes! they are that bad).  I guess you now have an idea of the wickedness that has been in my heart towards these rats.  

This morning I walked into my kitchen and as usual, they had licked the plate I left on the table (I set a trap with no poison).  I shook my head in disgust and annoyance tightening my resolve for the Ariel experiment when I heard a noise by the sink.  I walked over and looked into the bucket of water and behold, there was a rat in it trying to get out.  It had obviously been there probably all night cos its fingers were white and its face too.  Its tummy was a bit bloated which meant it had drunk enough water. 

I instantly felt like God.  I could determine its fate… die or live.  But when I looked at its eyes, I could bet I saw it pleading with me (No seriously!)  I walked away to do something else while trying to decide what to do with the rat then I stumbled on the bucket I keep beans and they had eaten into the cover and made a hole in it.  I was instantly pissed and walked back to the bucket and looked at the rat with utter disgust, accusing it of eating into my bucket.  I also remembered my bucket of wheat which they ate into last week.

When I looked into the eyes of the rat again, all my anger dissipated.  The poor thing was fighting for its life and here I was, I had the options to free it or kill it for its sins.  But I was sure I didn’t want it running around my house again.  If I let it go, it would just scurry to the next hole, if I let it go outside the house, it would find its way back.  And as much as I loved cartoons, this was reality.  At least in those Tom and Jerry episodes I had watched, when Tom is nice to Jerry, they become friends, but that rat was certainly not Jerry.  It wouldn't just go and tell all its fellow rats to leave my house because I saved its life.  Or would it?

I thought about all this and decided that I didn’t have the heart to kill it.  So, I took the bucket to the gate man(I know, very wicked)  Immediately the guy saw the rat he said ‘God don catch you’ and proceeded to kill it, I turned my face away, but saw him smash the rats head on the floor like twice.  As the lifeless body of the rat lay on the floor, a terrible feeling engulfed me.  I was a heartless woman, how could I have let him kill that rat after it pleaded with me? 

I couldn’t shake off the feeling even while on my way to work.  I felt very sad.  I felt like I had failed a huge test.  If Jesus stood over that rat like I did, what would he have done?  One thing it taught me though was Forgiveness. 

God’s mercy is amazing; this simple incident opened my heart to this truth.  I imagined myself as the rat, being in a ditch and God looking down at me.  I wondered, would he be remembering all my past faults?  Times when I have called his name in vain, taken His glory and mercy for granted etc.  Would he even be considering his options and thinking of the risk he would be taking by rescuing me?  Truly, lots of people that are in deep trouble run to God with lots of promises of what they will do for Him if He rescued them, but ones they are free, they go right back to their sins. 

Or would he look on me with Love, reach out and rescue me?   God took and still takes the highest risk on all of us.  He sent his only son to die for us even when He knew we would not appreciate it.  Can we do the same for other people who have deeply offended us?  Even when we know they would commit that same offence again and again?

Jesus command was for us to forgive 70 x 7 times.  And his life was and still is a very good example of the command he left us.  Jesus did not just say it, he lived and still lives it in and trough us every minute, every second of every day.

Think about it, we consistently disobey him, destroy His world, do evil to one another and yet He looks on us and forgives us.  When we are in danger and call to him, he does not strike us dead because of all our past unrepentant sins, he saves, forgives and releases us and then sometimes, we go right back to our filthy sin yet he keeps forgiving and embracing us.

This is hard for many to handle, forgiveness is one of the hardest things we are called to embrace as Christians, but if Jesus could do it, so can we. 

The world will be a much better place if we lived in Love and forgave one another.

So help us God.

Toodles. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Sometimes we think God isn't watching with interest what we do, one day I saw him laughing through the eyes of a child and I wondered what must have tickled him so much.  Many of the things we do makes God ‘LOL’ on his throne…  God has a sense of humour, this much I know.

He showed me once again one morning after my quiet time.  He had given me an instruction which till today even as I write this article I am still fighting.  That morning, he reminded me again and I said to myself “I will not give in, Lord it’s too hard and I can’t do it”.

As I told myself this, the Lord said to me

“Do you know what you are doing?”

I could almost see the glee in his eyes as he said that to me.

“No” I replied

“Let me show you”. 

Then he proceeded to play a picture in my head.  I will attempt to explain the picture, but if you are what they call “Aje pako” and you went to a public school, or if you were born and bred here in Nigeria you should get the picture.  You remember those days when two people want to fight and then people gather.  How one or two of them will be telling his friends to hold him lest he kills the other person, and then keeps looking behind to ensure his friends hold him back from rushing to tear his opponent apart. 

“Hold me o! Hold me o! I go kill this man o! Hold me o!”

If his friends catch the drift, they would save him from shame and oblige him by holding him back, but if they don’t, he either stays back to continue boasting while stretching his hands backwards to emphasize the need to be held back or goes ahead and gets beaten to a pulp.

Now, I laughed so hard at that image because I knew He was right (sometimes we forget that the Lord can see our hearts and all our hidden motives). Yet, the fact that the Lord had used this picture made me laugh even more, i tell you, he notices everything even this simple act of cowardice.

He told me I know what he expects of me, yet I am moving in the wrong direction silently expecting him to hold me back by some miraculous intervention like Jonah and the whale or the glorious appearance he made to Paul.  At this point, I pictured myself on the wrong path stealing backward glances and daring the Lord to stop me if he really wanted me to follow his instruction. 

He went further to tell me that he wasn’t going to stop me anyway, and I should know that every man has a choice and he has given us freewill.  He will not trample on our freewill by forcing his plan on us.  He said I should remember that not everyone was graced to have been stopped in his or her tracks.  Moreover, those that were given that grace could have also chosen not to follow through, Jonah may have chosen to die in the belly of the fish and Paul could have chosen to ignore the vision and die blind, but they chose the right path.  He said even if he did stop me in my tracks, I could still wave it aside and continue on the wrong path, like Judas.

“So my child, why don’t you save yourself a lifetime of misery and follow my instructions, it is for your own good, not mine.”

I can tell you that I had a rethink after that, and what the Lord said was true, even as I fought his instruction, secretly in my heart, I wanted him to stop me in my tracks with some miraculous sign, just to prove that he was serious about the instruction.  How many of us are like that?  We know what the Lord expects of us, yet we dare him to stop us from going the other way and most times, we don’t get stopped and we just follow through with our own plan while telling ourselves that maybe it wasn’t the Lord’s instruction after all.

As I write this, I tell myself that following my own path is much easier than the Lord’s will for me, and I still struggle with the thought of it, but I hate to waste my life shouting “Hold me o! Hold me o!’”  I will rather follow through on his instruction and live a happy life and when I see my Lord face to face; he would hug me and say, “Well done child and thank you for not silently screaming … Hold me o! Hold me o!”

Sunday, April 29, 2012

To my future son

Dear Son,

I have thought about you ever since i thought about getting married.  You know why?

its because in every man that has asked for my hand in marriage, i have seen a little version of you.  I want for you a father and a daddy. A father that will teach you patiently and a daddy that will love you with all his heart.

i want to listen with pride when you say to me "i want to be like my daddy when i grow up". and have no fear of how you will turn out.  So you see my son, you determine to a large extent who i will marry because i want you to be just like your daddy.

A man who loves the Lord with all his heart. A man who can stand on his own and who is not afraid to cry. A man who will place his family on the top of his priority list. A man of valor, strength and a strong character.  A man who will never compromise his good character to get the seemingly beautiful things of life. A man of genuine integrity. A man who knows how to treat a lady. A man who is as bold as a lion but with the heart of a lamb.  A man who is not afraid to love.  A man so full of wisdom, he is able to provide for his family and keep an inheritance for his children. A man who would treat his wife like a queen, he's daughter like a princess and make his son the prince of his castle.

All this and many more i desire for you my son, but i know that you can only fully learn them by walking in the footsteps of your father.  Since i want you to be like him, then i must choose wisely.

My greatest joy will be to see you and your daddy walk and work together in harmony. To see you both talk and when i ask you to tell me what you have been discussing, you'll both say in a chorus "its men's talk".  To see you go out together and play ball or go fishing.  It will be nice to see you argue with your daddy and watch as you settle it with a "chop knuckle/ handshake". 

I promise not to get jealous of your strong bond but will be there through it all cheering you on and stealing hugs while i whisper in your ears how great you will be. And when you need to cry and don't want your daddy to see you, come to me, I'll give you open arms, a handkerchief and a cup of tea.

oh my child... you will be great. You will do and achieve far greater things than your daddy. You will be fearless and strong.  I see it all.

And when it is time to build your own home, i hope you would have seen in me an example of the woman you should marry and in your dad an example of how to be a man, a father, a daddy and a husband.

Your big sister sends her regards, she is very excited to meet you and i can tell that both of you will be best buddies.

Mummy loves you and no matter how much you grow, know that you will always be my little prince.

Loads of love.


To my future daughter

Dear Daughter,

we haven't met but i have the strangest feeling that you know me.

I look forward to meeting you someday and holding you in my arms. I have a name for you already but i will keep it as a secret and look forward to the smile on your beautiful face when i whisper it in your ears.

I look forward to looking at your face and seeing a reflection of me in your smile and laughter.

I look forward to the days when you'll start walking and we'll play catch me if you can in our living room.

I hope when you say your first words it will be mama because that would be a huge reward for me after carrying you for 9 months.

i can't wait to see the look on your father's face each time he holds you in his arms, i know he'll love you a lot because I'll never marry a man who would treat u badly.

i look forward to the days when you'll be a teenager and you can gist me about all your crushes and new lines guys use to toast ladies in your time and I'll tell you what they used in my time, I'll even tell you how your dad toasted me and we'll laugh and promise to never tell your dad.

I can't wait to tell you about a man who loved you first and would always love you, who gave his life for you and would do it again if he had a chance. i know you would have met him in heaven, but loving him down here is different. By the way, say hi to Jesus for me while you are there and thank God for giving me a gift like you.

The world is full of evil my love but do not be afraid because I'll be right there beside you when you need a shoulder to cry on. Through all the heart breaks and failures, I'll hold your hand, and embrace you.

i promise to never throw negative words at you, i promise to always tell you how great you are and that you can be anything you want to be. I'll give you courage to walk the paths God has destined for you and celebrate every milestone you make.

i will allow you make your own mistakes and learn from them, no matter how tempted i am to shield you, i will let you live and only step in when i absolutely need to. i hope you will make me your best friend and we can discuss over a cup of Chapman and juice all your challenges and worries.

I look forward to watching you walk to the altar with a man who loves you dearly. I will quiz him, be sure of that and i know your dad would not spare him too, but be sure that we only want the best for you.

...and when you have your own kids, i hope i would have been i good example to you.

I Love you dearly, even though we haven't met, i feel a deep connection to you already... someday love, you'll be in my arms.... someday.

i need to write to your little brother too...

see you soon.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Mathematician, the Boxer and the Evangelist

A man’s life is laden with different paths and choices; he must choose which path he would tread.  A few days ago, I picked up an article about Pastor E. A. Adeboye, a man who has served in Humility and Excellence, a man whose life has given others the permission to shine, a great man.(Sorry for the digression, but i needed to do that)

As I was saying, I picked up an editorial about him, there were quite a number of things about him in the papers, but this particular article caught my attention because it described him as the mathematician, boxer, and evangelist.  It amused me to know Daddy had trailed a number of paths before choosing the path he is right now.

I could not help but think about my own life, I mean, if I were to describe myself right now, it will probably be; Temitola Ojo;  the writer, singer, lover of children etc, but what path will I eventually choose to tread?  Truly, I think I am juggling all three of

Seriously, though, think about your own life, if you were to describe yourself, what would it be?  Where are you now?  Are you still in the middle of trying to define your path in life? Reality is that only one of these paths will lead to us fulfilling our God given purpose and destiny.  I wonder what would have happened if Daddy G.O had chosen another path, maybe a boxer (hmmm...) where would he be now?  No doubt, he would have done well but would he have touched as many lives as he has now?   No matter the path you choose, chances are you would do well, but will you be satisfied with just doing well or doing great and fulfilling purpose?  If I decide to wax an album now, I’m pretty sure I will sell a few, but would I have done better loving the children or writing great novels? (Still praying about that)

Somehow, I doubt Daddy GO would have achieved all that he has if he had followed another path.  Obviously, only one factor can make such a huge difference; Choosing God’s path for you.  If you can wholeheartedly pursue God’s path for your life, every other thing will follow you.  The pressure of life and hot pursuit of money/wealth has led many to choose paths that seem the quickest to making money/quick wealth but are you really happy?  Are you causing other lights to shine because of yours?  Think about it. This is a sure way of knowing if you are truly living the life God desires for you, he wasn’t kidding when he said you are the light of the world, neither was he trying to fill the bible with more words to make it bulky, God meant what he was saying when he inspired those words.   Regret is the most awful feeling in the world; you really do not want to end up there.  Look down that road you are on now, where would it end?

You are a candle, a light and by living your true purpose, you give other people permission to shine too, you can cause other dim candles around you to light up.  It could be your courage, your music, your words so many things that can cause other people to come alive.  However, you must choose the right path.  Some have hidden their light in the banking hall or some other profession that has limited their light and hidden it under a bushel, come out of there and SHINE.  What if Daddy G.O had stayed within the confines of a university’s lecture hall or within the boxing ring?  Some people are making impact quite alright, but not the right kind of impact.

This is my prayer every day, I want to walk into a room full of darkness and light it up, I want even my name to build courage in people’s hearts to pursue their dreams.  I want my life to light the lives of people who are in darkness, the path that will lead me there is right within me and by God’s grace I will tread that path and so will you in Jesus name.  Amen

Meanwhile, Thank you Daddy for giving me the courage to pursue my dreams, for letting me know that it is possible to live like Jesus, to be powerful and yet humble.  Your life has given light to this little article and I pray that many lives will light up as they read each line.
Happy Birthday in arrears Daddy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Conversation with a tree.

Yes, I spoke to a tree, it may sound weird or even impossible, but it did happen to me.  I like to think of it as one of those moments in life where God stops you in your tracks, stops time, touches the place of your greatest need, and then tells you to move ahead.

One early morning, I took a walk down the street, heading home.  I dug my hands deep into my pocket to keep it from freezing in the cold winter breeze.  It was a beautiful morning; I could not help but wonder how the sun could be smiling in the winter.  Anyway, I walked down that road thinking about the next phase of my life, asking myself the would I, could I, should I questions. Questions like “What am I doing here? Should I stay or should I go? Will I make it? flowed through my mind.  I thought about the past one year and all that had happened, it was sad, but I knew with a sense of finality that my journey on this land had ended, I needed to move on.  Things didn’t seem to be looking good, all the words God had spoken to me, the promises and all came rushing through my mind, but I had to admit that I didn’t really feel like I had achieved anything in the past one year.  I felt like I had given so much but had nothing in return, no reward.

The Tree.
Then I lifted my head and saw this big and magnificent tree, however, it had lost all its leaves, it stood bare and naked.  I cast my mind to a few months back, when I had stared in awe of the beauty of the tree with its green leaves and beautiful flowers; I had even taken a picture of it.  The tree looked nothing like it had been in summer, I wondered if the tree had feelings too, the words of Pocahontas song came to mind “...but I know every rock and tree and creature, has a life, has a spirit, has a name...”  Maybe the tree felt worthless too, having lost all its beauty and magnificence.  I walked past the tree shaking my head and returning to my own thoughts and misery

Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder; I looked back but didn’t see anyone.  I thought one of the dry sticks from the tree had fallen on my shoulder.  I mindlessly dusted off my shoulder and walked on,

“Hey you”

I looked back but didn’t see anyone, my brain immediately told my legs to run.

“I’m talking to you young lady”

I turned and saw the tree move; I instantly wanted to pee in my pant.

“Why you giving me that pitiful look and shaking your head like you ain’t got common sense?”
The tree had the African American accent or was it the constant days of watching Madea movies that was finally getting to me? I couldn’t utter a word.

“You lost your tongue?”

“I’m sorry” I finally said, “I didn’t mean to”

“Is that all you gat to say for yourself? It used its branch to push me closer to it “Come closer, I aint gonna bite, can’t even digest you”
I moved along with the push until I was standing right in front of the tree again.

“I know you, I always see you when you walk past me.  I saw you take me a picture the other day which you never showed me, but I ain’t mad”.

I still couldn’t talk, I really needed to pee.

“I’m gonna teach you something today young lady, don’t go looking at me with pitiful eyes, I know how magnificent I used to look and can imagine how I look like now.  I ain’t bothered, you know why? Cos I know it’s the changing of seasons, it’s natural.  But what I wouldn’t want to happen is to be looked upon with pity.  I have my glory days ahead of me.  Let me tell you something, God knows what he was doing when he created every living thing and he wired in everything he created the ability to function in any situation.  Now, take we trees for example, when its summer, we’re all beautiful and stunning, in winter, we’re all dried up on the outside, but not on the inside.  We are working within to nourish ourselves so when the seasons change, we’d be able to spring out more fruit and beauty, it’s our preparation stage and we need to work on our inside.  Why do you think the next season after winter is called spring?”

I was getting really interested in where the conversation was headed.

“You remember the story of fig tree in the bible?” The tree continued.  “That’s the most foolish tree that ever existed and we other trees have made an example out of it.  It probably played out the season it was meant to nourish itself from within and when the seasons changed, it had no fruit, just wasn’t nourished enough to handle it.  Do you know what great privilege it is for the master to take a fruit from your tree? and it wasted it, oh how I wish twas me.  Anyway, whats my point?  Y’all humans have seasons too, when y’all get dried up and act all miserable when you should build strength on your inside and prepare for the next season”. 

“I know you are feeling all dried up now, the past one year has drained you of all you have and right now, if you were a tree, you would probably look just like me...maybe worse.  But you’ve got to pucker up gurl and grow your spirit man.  I tell you, the season is changing and you certainly don’t want to be caught unawares when it does and be like that foolish fig tree.  Stop thinking your life is over and spend time growing from within”. 

“Did you just read my mind?” I asked foolishly

“No gurl, I just told you my mind.  Now run along, I gat to get back to my nourishing, I gotta look even better when the seasons change alright.  Now you don’t go blaming God or thinking he has abandoned you, go grow your spirit and strength young lady, the season’s changing, be prepared, don’t be like that old foolish fig tree, you don’t want a curse on you now do ya?  You never know when the Master will pass by.  Now, come back in Spring and take me another picture, I’ll be looking out for you.  Now run along”.

I stood staring at the tree for another 2 minutes, not sure what I was expecting, maybe I thought it would shoo me away again.  I walked back home with a new knowledge of my situation and a determination to grow from within during this period.  Thinking about the fig tree made me shiver, the Master passed by and needed it’s fruit and it was ill prepared, the thought of missing my moment of blessing with God made my resolve stronger.  I would stop complaining and being miserable and grow my spirit and when Spring comes, I’ll spring up much more beauty, love, kindness and so much more to offer to God and everyone around me.
So help me God, Amen.