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CrystalQuest Adventures

…towards equipping the total man!

Month

June 2013

Whirlwind

Limbless hollow:
A cantankerous purveyor
of vehicular artefacts, flowing thunderously
in a god-like fury,
that confounds even the conveyed.

Me, gutless?

An enigmatic whiplash,
with an inert rage strolling skywards
in frenzied circles,
all consuming, all encompassing.

Or, is it true?

I, who swim
in the oceans of the wind,
listening to the martyr’s silent screams.
Do you remember the one-legged masquerade
at the market square, whose shadow flees
into seizures while chanting rhapsodies of blood?
My liquid womb flew into a rapturous rhythm,
while the gatekeeper mourned the lame martyr’s betrothal.
A new resolve was born that evening.
Never will the loin of the hunter king go hungry again.

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Street credibility 2!

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…It’s a common cliché that life is in phases and men are in sizes. Inspite of my being a ‘streetboy’, I had people who at different periods of my life had contributed positively towards my overall mental and moral wellbeing. One of such unforgettable figures was my primary six class teacher who though, was always quick with the cane never failed to make us realize that hardwork and diligence pays.

Growing up in an ambiguous environment like mine, life for me became a mixture of so many things. As it vacillates from good, bad to outright ugly, I absorbed and try to understand as much of life around me as my ever inquisitive, always curious mind could fathom. My gregarious personality also enable me befriend and blend with people of various sorts. I had friends that shared my passion for reading and learning and also mixed with friends with whom I really did spend a large chunk of my time playing. Despite the prevalent overwhelming negative influence, I was quick to decipher and lucky to oftentimes choose what is good (I really don’t mean best!) for me. As a ‘street’ boy, it actually became natural for me to be competitive in my ‘dog eat dog’, ‘survival of the fittest’ world and since the higher the stakes, the more the credibility, I became daring and strived to put myself in situations that could help prove my mettle even if it means going overboard. I tasted beer but couldn’t get used to it (it was bitter!). I couldn’t get to smoke (I had too much education on its hazardous effect to the body) and just couldn’t commit any crime or do anything nefarious. Maybe it was my involvement in church activities, the mandatory compliance to the ‘rules of my house’ or my innate drive to be someone in life, by and large, my moral tendencies seems to come to my rescue and somehow always manage to overwhelm the ‘street’ in me.

My senior secondary class had a bunch of bright kids that sort of boosted my craving for knowledge. The keen competition that existed then was a catalyst that plunged me further into my books and by the time we were in our final year, I was atop my class and yet didn’t have a girlfriend (which was an odd thing back then!). It wasn’t like I wasn’t interested in women (I had quite a number of them as friends). I think I just seem to be this carefree boy that’s so scared of being distracted by emotional matters. Although, I kept bad company and broke school rules every now and then, my academic performance was on a roller coaster ride. I recalled an incident in my penultimate year in secondary school when I went AWOL from school with a couple of friends to see a movie in town. We ended up reporting late for an exam scheduled for that afternoon and although we were pardoned and allowed to still sit for the exam, no extra time was given. We had to write a three hours paper in less than two hours and except for me, all my friends actually did performed below average.

I had realized at some point earlier in my life that hardwork and diligence can take you anywhere but it was more of the fear of failing that motivates me. I had seen too much of poverty in a lifetime to forget that you labour more with your ‘strength’ than with your ‘head’. I had also learnt about Pareto and had really made up my mind to be part of the twenty percent that will control eighty percent of the resources of my country (by no illegal means anyway!). I knew how you respond to whatever life throws at you greatly affects who or what you eventually become ultimately so even while I was in the university and things were going awry at one point, I was still my carefree ‘street’ self and really tried as much as I can to maintain my composure and remain focused on the finish line and my eventual big picture. I’ve had my own fair share of life’s challenges and my resilience did serve me well. I was built to be the best and nothing less. That I’ll surely be and nothing will stop me. I am indeed determined that whatever happened, wherever I go and whatever I do, it would always be said of me that ‘he came, he saw and he conquered’.

Street credibility 1!

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I tell people I was born on the streets. I am a realist, I tell them. I have seen the best of lows and the lows of bests. I have seen violence at its very best and peace at its lowest ebb. I have seen couples fight, rant, and shout as if they’ll kill each other like every other day, yet you’ll be surprised the wife is pregnant in three months time. I have seen kids become independent even before they could say mama and you wonder if such will ever get a chance to survive. I’ve seen kids so well nourished you’ll hardly believe it was from leftovers. I’ve seen women whose pride and dignity has been thrown to the winds. The irony of this is that some of these women actually claimed to be born-again christians but their lives outside of church sure leaves you wondering. I wonder why people open their mouths when I tell them I have seen polyandry in practice. One takes care of the home while the other ran the business, yet they stare in disbelief. I’m sure they even find it hard to believe the two men (Do I call them women now?) fight over things like whose turn it is to sleep in her room and of course try to outshine themselves in their daily chores so as to get an additional bonus. Some say it’s the “juju” of the woman that’s at work because how else does one explain such flagrant departure from the norms? Another wonder that never ceases to amuse me is that of my landlord that owns and collect rents on three different buildings in Lagos, yet cannot afford to send any of his poor (aren’t they?) children to good schools. Once you’re able to finish high school, you’re on your own. It does not matter whether your results are seized or you came out tops. You simply continue to live in his house (your legitimate right), feeds on whatever “eba” he manages to provide and do whatever you like with your life whether you leave the house or not. I often tell whoever cares to listen that if you don’t ever want to be disappointed in life, you should be a permanent pessimist. That way I have come to realize you expect the worst from people per time and when they do give you their worst, you simply smile and move on. With the kind of street drama experienced day in day out, you can’t but find life intriguing because how else do you describe a wife (most likely the breadwinner) who sleeps all day, attends to visitors, mostly men while the man translates as the chef and home keeper (they said its love!) all rolled into one. For me, it’s not only in American movies that you see women sending their spouses packing, it’s what I’ve seen happen twice (too much for a small me!)

I once went together with a group of boys to a cassava farm to steal, just for the fun of it anyway, because that’s what qualifies you as brave in my world. We ran for our dear lives and I was almost caught. After that day, I knew within me I would never steal (or by whatever name it’s called) again. For me street fight was past time and it’s always a thing of joy when you had to recount the victory in school the next day. I mean you are a hero and that’s how you garner street support.

I just happen to be one lucky guy whose good parents were working to make life bearable for and because they had to work twice as hard, there was little or no time for parenting. You simply live by a set or rules without question and face the consequences if you are caught breaking any. Part of which was a regular three times a week church going where I learnt most of the things that kind of added a little sanity to my life and made me realize there is more to life than meets the eye. I grew up a normal boy and even inspite of my shortcomings, I was still the regular good boy every parent would be proud of (I know where most of my friends then are today). I did very well in school but that was all there was to me, I was a habitual latecomer. I developed a passion for breaking rules and became a brat but my academic performance soared. Teachers would look at me and wonder what the magic was but little do they realize it was because I had to read and practise whatever we were taught in school everyday because failure to do so would amount to breaking the first commandment of the house and I tell you, the penalty is so severe you won’t wish it on an enemy…

An ode to a recluse!

Like candlesticks in a celestial palace,
I stood guard of his cascading waters.
The orphan knows me.
You dare not ask him!
I’m his friend.

The slumber of the weary wayfarer,
his makeshift hovels and battered spirits.
I think he knows me.
Please don’t ask him!
I’m his friend. Yes I am!

My fiery breath, whispers of horror.
The fire in his bosom, of course I am!
Well, you could ask the distressed;
but please, not the mother.
I’m his friend, the mother knows.

My ancestors; they dare not try,
for I dance at their expense,
I come into the market place, even they flee.
I’m their friend.
They dare not say no!

The heavy blow that sent the man reeling,
causing subtle ones to feast on him.
My fingers, red hot embers, Oh! how I soothe?
My soul crypt, their pilgrim’s welcome.
What else?… Yes! they all owe me.
The bond of friendship.

Boundless love!

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Francine Rivers’ “Redeeming Love” is the story of a lady who expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks God’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry her and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies her every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. Even inspite of being forgiven, she couldn’t find a place in her heart to forgive herself. And so she runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does… the One who will never let her go.

A powerful retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer. It’s a life-changing story of God’s passionate love for each of us-unconditional, forgiving, unchanging, everlasting and self sacrificing. The Bible declares that His mercies are new every morning [Lamentations 3:22-23] which means that all we need is to go back to Him each time we miss it, ask for His forgiveness and trust Him to restore us [“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”- 1John 1:9]. I often tell people that our purpose in life is not to find happiness but to discover what He has created us for and offer them to Him [Revelation 4:11]. We should always strive to live for His pleasure. Especially in the life of Gomer, worthy of note is also that as humans, if we do acknowledge our frailty, we should also learn to forgive ourselves and not allow feelings of guilt and unworthiness to becloud our senses and rob us of our healing. Afterall, he who the Son has set free is free indeed!

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