Living your Liturgy

Apparently an awe inspiring 90% of Nigerians are religious. Statistics like these make the likes of Richard Dawkins claim that religion is the root of all evil.Dinesh D’Souza, Ravi Zacharias the UCCF, and a whole lot of other resources exist specifically to discuss the pros and cons of the subtle nuances of the arguments around Drawinism vs Intelligent Design and Theism vs Atheism vs Agnosticism. It is instructive to also note that atheism has not done much better either – the Soviet era is a case in point.

Perhaps the real issue though is not religion or the lack of it per se but the blatant lack of authenticity in the lives of its adherents – myself included. True life, maybe, is more like the curve 1/x; asymptotically approaching both zero and infinity without ever getting there. As such we will always have a gap, we will always be striving for excellence, growing more and more towards the ideals of our faith. I know that the Christian Bible is peppered with references to fighting for social justice, honesty, speaking up for those who have no voice, respect for the sanctity of human life and the like and I am sure that these ideals are repeated both in Islam and in our indigenous belief systems.

If everyone of the 90% religious Nigerians lived out the reality of their faith (or non-faith – even atheists believe that the human mind is capable of rationally finding what is the ultimate good), I am sure the blatant corruption, inept leadership, and get rich quick schemes would be significantly curtailed. The real challenge as I see it though is to break out from a nominal, head based, notional faith and to strive to live out its over-arching ideals in the real world.

As one of them telecommunication outfits back in Nigeria once said — Talk is cheap. I would add Live your liturgy…..

On “Living A Soulful Life”

I’ve always had a not too complementary view of the intellectual capabilities of most musicians.. But John Legend made a lot of sense in his commencement address at his Alma Mater (The University Of Pennsylvania). I don’t agree explicitly with everything he says especially about blurring the lines between absolutes, but he made sense overall. Enjoy…

When Tomorrow Comes….

Wrote this for Chiedu Ifeozo’s Poetry for Charity Volume 2 Project….All proceeds go to nominated charities in Nigeria.  You can buy a copy here.

The skies are dark, pregnant as with an impending storm,
The wind is fierce, strumming out a strident wail,
Our tin shed creaks, as like a ship by wind assailed,
Whilst we all cringe,
In fear of what the storm will bring.

The rains come down, like hell’s pent up rage by fiends released,
Accompanied by hail, that batters down our scant solace,
Our threadbare clothes, no respite from the cold can bring,
As we sit mum,
Remembering when the sun last shone.

At last the rain and hail relent, as finally their force is spent,
The wind itself at last grudgingly abates.
The skies stay dark, but our fears they fade,
‘Cos we all know,
When tomorrow comes, the sun will shine.

Of Doctors, Lawyers and Keeping my sanity…

Edit — Just so you know, I have nothing against Lawyers and Doctors… Its just that they make me want to tear my hair out  sometimes…. Its nothing personal.. LOL

Quite frankly if it were possible to be ‘cursed’ with doctors and Lawyers – I think I would have that curse….

My mum is a closet doctor – maybe the disappointment of missing out on medical school made her over compensate – but all my young life I was innudated by quasi-medical books – Look Younger, Live Longer, Where there is no Doctor, Every Woman, and a slew of health books by the Seventh Day Adventists; plus all the newspaper cuttings – how smiling adds a year to your life, hyper vitaminosis, drink your way to health and all that ish..

I was primed to read Medicine – no thanks to the pervasive influence of that cringe worthy CBS serial Another Life – watched in greyscale on the push and start National Panasonic Television we had for the better part of 20 years. Thankfully, my Biology teacher, in a rush of hormones, over reacted to a childish prank and ripped whatever fledglinng love I had for Biology from my heart forever. Good thing she did too – my life strategy never fit into the medical school ethic – my mantra has always being to find the most efficient method, the minimum effort required to meet the stated objectives – and then read the irrelevant!

Both my sisters weren’t so lucky! T – topped her class, failed no exams and eventually married a Doctor too.. Little sister M – just got inducted – and picked up from where T left off. Unsolicited diagnoses – early onset ME when I play tiredness as an excuse to end the phone call, requiring an electrocardiogram when I complain of minor palpitations, juvenile athritis when I complain of sore joints, I’m sure you get the drift. Two cousins also went through Med School!

Even friends got into the act – E got a stethoscope as his 11th birthday gift! O is Paediatrics Registrar at my sister’s hospital. Even my Naija Pastor is a doctor.. My non-existent love life is not much better – two of three conundrums are Meds! Thankfully Miss Safety is an investment banker — quite a breath of fresh air!

Oh and the lawyers! Boy oh boy! Miss T – Corporate Lawyer in PH, FB crush – Corporate Lawyer in Edinburgh, Miss Funky – just out of Law School… Mi – two years out of Law School… And when my Mum decides to grab a second degree — you bet — she had to get a Law degree! I never cease to be amazed at how ‘blessed’ I am to have all these people around me especially as I a underserving of them all!

Quite frankly, the next time I meet someone, or get introduced – after I get the name the next question will be “Surely you’re not a lawyer – or a doctor for that matter”. Else I shall not even bother collecting a phone number!

Family Matters

I am currently embroiled in a little family spat – with Mum, Dad and ‘the Uncle’ being the principal players here. Mum is one of them prim and proper women – married in her mid twenties, had her children fairly early and then gave her career a good shot. In between multiple children and numerous extended family members, she managed to get herself three degrees in total! She also gave the blokes at work a good run for their money – and came close to landing the top job several times except for the political posturings of a few well connected individuals. She and I have this love-hate relationship though. She’s never accepted that I am grown and can handle myself. She’s always tried to help out or plain take charge of me, which I have resisted with every fibre.These days, she and I have a mutual respect. We both know where the limits are – that is the recipe for survival I suspect.

Where Mum is the energetic, always in your face, scurrying-around-to-help-you-out-of-the-umpteenth scrape person, Dad’s more laid back; more inclined to let you crack your knee, so you’ll learn not to try a Clark Kent-esque stunt in future. He’s an austere academic – has been for as long as I have been alive – and a totally unbending disciplinarian. I have lost count of how many times my butt was tanned – flayed by the unerring delivery of strokes via a koboko that seemed to morph out of nowhere when it was required. Overall, the bloke’s a good guy, and despite the fact that we have had issues growing up, he and I have turned out OK after much..

The Uncle is becoming an increasingly prominent player – for long considered the black sheep of Mum’s larger family, he has finally gotten his life together. He’s now married, after quite a few years spent in a rigmarole and has a steady job. In some ways he’s Mum’s immanent voice, he’s nearby so he can haul me in for discussions if required, and he’s also an example of what my Mum fears I may become.

I, the lost Son, am caught in the middle. I need to stay on my feet and survive!

Sometimes I wonder………………

Sometimes I wonder what the difference is between……………

  • Self-delusion and Dreaming Big
  • Hypocrisy and the Gap Trap
  • Narcissism and Self Esteem
  • Love and Admiration
  • Pragmatism and  Foolhardiness

“If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side?

– Leo Tolstoy

Untitled….

Dancing to the heady beats of many drums;
Beguiled into believing I’ve filled my place,
I glide then bow, to rapturous applause.
When all I have done was save my face.

Deep down I know it’s all a sham, a façade,
That gloomy place where make believe is hailed,
And truth is lost in a swirl of dust, a charade,
Where light, like sight, is blurred by drums of ale.

I strain to hear the still small notes of flutes,
Amidst the bedlam that drowns out reason’s song.
To yield to the tug of age old roots
In spite of lures that seem so loud, so strong.

I want to dance to the tune that will find me,
Cos’ then I may become all that I can be