Thursday, November 28

What I Want for Christmas

With Christmas approaching, the thought crossed my mind that I should expect to receive a gift, either from people or from myself.

But as I drove to work this morning, I saw this woman with a baby strapped on her back sitting on a culvert by the gutter with a bag of possibly her entire worldly possession, sitting by her side. Obviously homeless, and spent the night right there.

I stopped and stared at her for a few minutes, thinking that she must not be comfortable (really?! duh) in that position, and that the baby is going to want to eat as soon as he/she wakes up. They both need food, a hot bath and proper sleep. Who would help this woman get out of this situation so she can have her life back on track?
Needless to say, sympathetic though I was, I drove off without without doing anything. Now, I am thinking that compared to what I just saw, I am entirely fine and have no immediate (Christmas-y) needs.

While it is a tradition at Christmas to exchange gifts, (usually) among ourselves, gorge ourselves with food, and make elaborate plans that revolve (yet again) around us, there are so many of this woman out there who need just a little to get by. So, rather than be consumed by the thoughts of what I want for Christmas, how about being consumed with thoughts of exactly who to help instead? And while we are at it, not to let ourselves be made to feel guilty that we are not giving gifts to those who usually expect them from us. 

Honestly, it is okay to deprive yourself of things for the sake of others. I know there are people who would never get this; it is unimaginable to them to give anything away when they do not have ‘enough' in their own estimation, but it is okay.

This is an obvious post around this ‘season’, but I want to believe this particular one is not; I am only asking that for once in your life do something out of the ordinary…for someone other than yourself. For a change.

Rather than ‘what do I want for Christmas,’ why not ‘what should I give away for Christmas?’

And in fact, why wait until Christmas?

Be free oh.

Monday, November 25

Have You Lost Your 'Voice?'

Had a bad cold and lost my voice for a full week. 

That has never happened before!

It was just a cold, as usual. But no running nose, my voice just disappeared for no reason. I did everything one would normally do but without success.

So in order not to strain the (lack) of voice further, my responses to calls were texts saying, 'unable to speak, please text!' If emails were a voice, my signature would have included 'forgive the silence, voice gone!' It was not a funny experience.

I learnt two things during the course of this business; first, I understood what a really horrible thing it is not to have your voice; you get even more frustrated with your inability to speak, the only person who understood this and avoided speaking with me was my boss. Everyone else still wanted me to explain how I lost the voice. It got so bad that I seriously considered putting a sign on my forehead that said ‘DO NOT TALK TO ME PLEASE.’ 

The second thing I learnt was that it is okay to not be your usual self sometimes. I had an outing with friends that I really didn't want to miss. We had  3 hours of memorable  fun without me 'voicing' a word and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't feel out of place; but they were vocal enough about the many reasons why I could have lost my voice - trying  to provoke me to yell but it didn't work. It felt great to listen and enjoy others talk, and to smile and laugh at their jokes, completely confident that because I lacked something for the moment does not make me any less of a person, or any less special.

So, it may be your voice, but then again, it may not...whatever it is, depending on how to you look at it, it is just for a 'moment' and does not necessarily have to define the real you.

Be free oh.

Monday, November 11

Those 'Down' Moments

Do you ever find yourself sometimes dwelling more on your weaknesses rather than your strengths? Dogged by your failings, or what you consider your failings? I do occasionally find myself in this situation.

It is true that people see us different from how we see ourselves, and when we are commended, we feel like a fraud, maybe because we do not really believe that much in ourselves or possibly because we have become experts at hiding our real selves from the world.
Our constant need to put ourselves down because we do not feel as smart, as intelligent, as beautiful, as good looking or as well-dressed as the other person should give us cause for concern! Tipping the scale in favour of our insecurities rather than our strength should not be allowed.

We forget to be appreciative of our strength of character, our ability to rise above, our sense of judgement, our creativity, our ability to remain positive in the face of challenges, our zest for life and indeed everything else that we have, and are by the grace of God. Clothes, education, marriage, children, career, relationships etc have become the parameters by which we measure our self worth; surely we are not failures or weaklings just because we lack any of these things?

I think that on the journey to become a better person, we ought to celebrate the areas of our strengths, and stop beating ourselves up or behaving like total failures. The truth is, we all have those moments when we allow ourselves to feel down because like that old school song rightly says, 'everybody wants to be somebody else!' 

Keep your head high and be celebratory; you are not worth-less, despite and in spite of your (perceived) failings. 

Be free oh. 

Tuesday, November 5

Enjoy the Moment

We  moved into a new place a few  months ago and as it is with new houses (at least here in Nigeria), you spend more money fixing supposedly new things.

So, in this new place, in addition to many other things, we encountered bad shower drain; the bath water gathers on the floor after each shower; serious mopping process after each use, I tell you.

But it got fixed; it took almost the entire day because the plumber had to remove the entire tub, but, the problem was fixed.

However, for several weeks after that I couldn't bring myself to let go and enjoy a bath; I was always on tenterhooks, mop on standby because I expected the water to gather as usual...That went on for weeks until it occurred to me that I am so consumed with the problem (that had been solved) that I cannot allow myself to enjoy the solution.

So it is when God blesses us, we find it difficult to accept that a problem that big in our estimation could have been solved that 'easily.' I don't know why we find it so difficult to allow ourselves enjoy the daily experiences of life, no matter how small. 

Learn to enjoy the moment.

Be free oh!

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