Sunday 30 December 2018

Transition and the Fading Lines

Crossing Over
I was thinking this morning...... about transition and the fading line between. Days ago, my young wife and I were faced with the dilemma of attending two events back to back that require us to wear two different outfits and emotions. The first was a funeral service for one of the ordained workers in the church that went to be with the Lord at 56. The second was another ordained worker celebrating his golden jubilee on earth. Interestingly, the burial was for 10am and the birthday was 12 noon. How we are to transit from a countenance of sobriety to that of celebration within a minute was a challenge to us. Because there was not enough time for change of clothes, we decided to dress midway, combining black and some colours. As we departed from the graveside for the birthday party and settled at gaily decorated tables with lots of music, my thinking gear went into full throttle. Life is but a transition but the lines are getting blurry.

Think about it. There is a reason Ecclesiastes 7:2 says 'it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting.' Shouldn't there be a clear demarcation of emotions between burial and parties? I thought there should, but that line is fast fading, because what we now have is burial ceremonies converted to a big party and called 'Celebration of Life.' How do we celebrate someone's life in his absence? If you don't understand, go watch the Nigerian movie 'Chief Daddy,' now showing in cinemas.

Truly, the transition is getting blurred. When we went to school and you are done with Class 5, you either go for A-Levels or go straight to the University. The difference between college and University was very clear. Now, there are all sort of bridging or pre-university programs, that make the last year in college look like the first year in the University or the first year in University look like the last year in college. The transition is getting blurred.

In the political space, we should be expecting a major transition in 2019 because it is an election year in Nigeria. The incumbent should be on overdrive trying to fulfill promises made to justify a second term, while the opposition should have their sleeves rolled up working hard to win the hearts and minds of the masses. But we have been disappointed so many times in the past. The politicians care less, they need not campaign regarding any ideology nor fulfill promises made in the past. They know what to do. They whip up ethnic and religious sentiments and if that fails, they buy the votes of the people either in market places before the election or by sharing dollars on election day. There is supposed to be a clear difference between pre and post-election, but the transition is getting blurred.

In a couple of days, the curtain of 2018 will be rolled up and 2019 unveiled. Millions will be attending crossover services across the world, but is the purpose merely to cross over in time? As we transit from 2018 to 2019, please keep the lines solid, let the difference be clear. Don't enter 2019 with the same 'legbere' attitude with which you are ending 2018. Focus more in 2019; keep expectations high, pray more and achieve more.

Happy Sunday and New Year.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday 23 December 2018

The Smell and Taste of Christmas

The Smell and Taste of Christmas
I was thinking this morning...... about the smell and taste of Christmas. What does Christmas smell like? Is it like fried turkey or like fresh flowers? I really do not know. As we walked back from lunch days ago, there was this gentle breeze on a dry, cool and slightly sunny afternoon. It was unlike the usual harmattan day. There was something different about this period, or so I thought. Just then, my colleague spoke out saying, 'why can't we have this Christmas season twice a year? Really? But what exactly does he mean by 'this Christmas season?' I queried within me. Could he be referring to the smell of Christmas?
As I got back to the office, I heard some colleagues discussing pay day. Is it the end of the month already? One said a sister company had paid their staff on the 15th, reminding me of the news I read recently that Cross River State paid their civil servants their December salaries by the first week in December. This can only happen because it is Christmas season. It must be why this season smells like Christmas.
After a long day at the office, I headed home with nothing else in mind but to take a shower and embrace my pillow. As I drove home, there was this glitz on the streets. Why is everywhere looking different? In Community neighborhoods in Port Harcourt, silver discs, flags and ribbons had been tied across the streets, while in the high brow areas flats and duplexes are adorned with decorative string lights, green wreaths, tinsels, snowman etc. What exactly is happening? Oh I see, it is part of the smell of Christmas.
As I observed people moving around, there seems to be some sense of urgency in their steps. Suddenly, flights out of town are fully booked and people are going on vacation like their lives depended on it. It seems like offices are shutting down. What is going on here? Could it be, a date has been fixed for the rapture? As I thought about it, I realized it was part of the smell of Christmas.
Oh as wonderful and breathtaking as the smell of Christmas could be, there are millions around us who will never taste Christmas and many to whom the taste of Christmas will not be great. I found out that just like Kale (vegetable) often smells fresh, but can taste bitter to people who have toxic taste buds, so is Christmas for many. The smell of Christmas is everywhere, but many around you, not so blessed with the basic necessities of life, will not taste Christmas. Oh, the taste of Christmas is in sharing and giving, without which Christmas will be just like Kale vegetables.
Christmas is not about activities but about giving. I recall a story I read years back of a woman that went to the market on Christmas eve for shopping. Everyone was in a frenzy for the last minute shopping and there was hardly an inch of ground to stand on because of the crowd. After shopping, she eventually pushed her way through the crowd and entered the bus very tired. As she took her seat and the bus set out, she took a deep breath and without thinking said 'whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be arrested and shot.' And in a soft voice, someone responded behind her, 'You need not worry ma'am because he was killed over 2000 years ago.'....Mark 10:45.
Christmas is here, everyone can smell it, but everyone will not taste it. So, ditch the activities, focus on the giving and share with someone so they can taste Christmas. But as you do so, keep an eye on January, so you won't be among those that will say January has 60 days. There will still be school fees to pay and children to feed after Christmas.
Happy Sunday and merry Christmas.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

Sunday 16 December 2018

The Value in Sweat

The Value in Sweat
I was thinking this morning.... about the value in sweat. As we huddled at the departure lounge waiting to board our flight out of Lagos last Monday, some colleagues and I engaged in discussions of varied topics. Surprisingly, we were not discussing politics but family life. At a point, one of us from the South-West said he had a splendid weekend in his village where he made and ate 'sweat-generated pounded yam' and efo riro soup. The younger in our midst wondered why the emphasis on 'sweat-generated pounded yam' since the machine made poundo gives same value. Those that grew up in the village amongst us objected promptly explaining that the  sweat-generated, mortar pounded yam comes with a different texture and taste that is so yummy you just can't resist it. At this point I remembered Mark Cuban, an American businessman and investor, who had said 'Sweat equity is the best equity.'
Days later, as I thought about the sweat-generated pounded yam, I started to hunger for it but remembered that I was on a mission to reduce my stomach size. But what is the best way to reduce my belly fat? Should I sweat it off in high intensity exercise or I should go for those wonder tablets or juices that promise to blast my belly fat in a week? The wonder juice seems tempting but I would rather the more natural sweat-generating weight loss program. Recalling how refreshing it is to go under the shower after breaking a nice sweat, I concurred with the statement 'sweat equity is the best equity.'
Sweat equity is literally the best equity if you know what to do with the sweat you generate. Do you know that the normal human being sweats around 278 gallons (1,052 litres) each year? This is about 56 CWay bottles of water. This is a lot of water any way you look at it. No wonder a Swedish scientist created a delicious beverage machine that dispenses freshly secreted sweat. The 'sweat machine' works by sucking moisture out of sweaty clothing and purifies it enough to drink. Hmm!!! According to Spiff of 'The Johnsons' show, 'Boys thinking deep.' Truly, sweat equity is the best equity.
Funny, how so many people make so much effort to avoid sweating. They buy yam pounder and other machines to help, install air conditioning everywhere including kitchen and even use anti-perspirant. Haba, sweating is not a taboo. Interestingly, the fitter you are, the more you sweat. So the next time someone says you look sweaty, take it as a compliment. No wonder Jesus did not shy away from sweating as Luke 22:44 said 'And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.'
So, as we get into 2019, it doesn't matter whether you are pounding yam on mortar, working out or praying earnestly like Jesus, just make sure you generate your 278 gallons of sweat next year and if you don't know what to do with it, go to Sweden.
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday 9 December 2018


I was thinking this morning..... about Seventeen. I am not 17 years old neither is any of my children. Why then am I thinking of 17? Do you know that 17 is the number you're most likely to pick if you're asked to choose one number at random? Don't ask me how I know. It is proven. Just like 17 is the average of the first two perfect numbers, it could also make up a perfect couple. Yesterday makes it exactly 17 years since my young wife walked the about 17m aisle at St Andrews Anglican Cathedral in Warri to meet me standing before the altar from whence commenced our Blessed for Bliss marriage. We give God praise!

As I reflected on the significance of 17 years yesterday, with a heart full of thanks, I smiled when I found out that you need to use 17 muscles to make a smile. Hmm!!! In my deep thought, I didn't realize I was staring at the wallpaper on one side of the bedroom but seeing nothing. It all made sense when it occurred to me that there are 17 different ways a wallpaper pattern can repeat itself. Humorous God.

During these 17 years, 'my young wife' had been pregnant three times giving birth to our three lovely children. I was awestruck with gratitude to God when I realized that at 17 weeks of pregnancy, if you were to hold your baby, she would fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Wow! What an amazing God. It is easy to take for granted how great a grace you enjoy to be there when your child is born. I gave God praise when I found out a wild goose will accept as it parent whatever creature it sees within its first 17 hours of life. Great God!

Wow! Seventeen. I started laughing when I discovered that Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize at 17. Brazilian football legend Pele played in his first World Cup when he was 17. While I can't recall how many times I laughed yesterday, I found out that the average person laughs 17 times each day. I further gave thanks because unlike the French who have to dial 17 to call the police, I only needed Jeremiah 17:17 to call my God. Seventeen!

With 17 years gone, I did not suffer from heptadecaphobia (the fear of the number 17) like many, because when Jesus asked in Luke 17:17 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?' I showed up and screamed 'Thank you Jesus for 17 years of marital bliss.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday 2 December 2018

It's A Lie!

Lying with the Truth
I was thinking this morning... about lying with the truth. How can the truth be a lie? I was at the DPR HSE Conference last Monday where everyone agreed that the truth of environmental degradation cannot be a lie. When it was time for lunch, we filled our plates and settled down to replace lost energy. Hardly had we taken our seats, when one of the delegates saw a long time acquaintance of hers. She walked briskly towards her, wide-eyed and shouted 'It's a lie.' Really? How can someone standing before you be a lie? Except of course she is implying that the person before her is a ghost. Hmm!!! Just an exclamation you will say, but it got me thinking.
I discovered that you can lie by telling the truth (referred to as palter) but you can't tell the truth by lying. Are you confused? Think about it. Generally, it is believed that if something is the truth, it cannot at the same time be a lie. A young man promised a lady that if she married him, he will make her sleep in all cities of the world. She happily accepted and they got wedded. On their wedding night, she was stunned to discover that the bed was laid with a bedspread of the world map with all the cities of the world boldly printed. She slept on all the cities of the world. Promised fulfilled. You can lie by telling the truth but can't tell the truth by lying.
Sometimes something can be so shockingly true that you wish it was a lie. Two weeks ago, the local news started reporting the attack by Boko Haram on the 157 Task Force battalion at Metele. My initial reaction was to watch the news with lugubrious 'corner-eye,' but when the Reuters news agency reported about 100 soldiers dead, I couldn't help but shout 'It's a lie.' Days later, Presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina was featured on Channels TV disputing the figure and saying that all over the world the military does not disclose casualty figures. The BBC and AFP journalists, Anna Cunningham and Phil Hazelwood immediately called him out for lying and providing evidence to the contrary that military releases casualty figures. As if to shame Femi, the Nigerian Army last Thursday released the casualty figures for the attack. At that point, it occurred to me that you can lie by telling the truth, but you can't tell the truth by lying.
The question is, why should anyone in the face of a stunning truth shout 'It's a lie' instead of 'It's a truth?' I found no answer apart from the fact that the exclamation was proudly Nigerian. I have decided that when faced with an unbelievable truth, I will henceforth shout 'Of a truth' instead of 'It's a lie.' No wonder Job 34:12 said 'Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the almighty will not pervert justice.' Remember, you can lie by telling the truth but you can't tell the truth by lying.'
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.