Usually, I have everything in my life fixed including how I want to live and move and have my being. I do not need further help except for this one: I am in a dilemma—
Running marathon on a steep path and finishing adorned; or sprinting along a smooth lane only to come out alive.
But why is it that in this life of mine, I always almost have just two options?
Well I do not need any help from this man standing before me, who hails from nowhere like Melchizedek—This man who promises me a better portrait of myself.
Then a song begins to play from his chancel lamp. No wonder it looks just like a home theatre. I watch the orange flourescence dance like disco light as the song plays:
I want God’s way to be my way as I journey here below for there is no other highway that a child of God should go.Though the road be steep and rough, if he leads me it’s enough, I want God’s way to be my way everyday.
The voice is sweet but the words are quietening my nerves. I am uneasy about the ease I am experiencing. I am not used to calmness because in my philosophy, a man must be up and doing or else how does he prove to be up to task? This is why most times, it’s either I’m up or I’m doing.
The words of the song are taming my soul further into stillness. They are like tranquilizer, vanquishing the spasmodic discomforts in my gut. My whole body is heavy yet light, and it seems I can’t feel anything anymore, as if somebody else, a presence, is living on my behalf.
I find my face turned toward him, my gaze fixed on him. I startle at what I see on his face: Words are displayed on his forehead like a computer screen:
Better is it to (stand) as a doorkeeper in thy tent than to dwell(at ease) in the tent of the wicked.
I am wondering what the tent of the wicked is and before I can take the next breath, he has answered me as though he is hearing my thought.
The tent of the wicked pitches in the heart of a man who chooses ease at the expense of God’s way.
It is as Sodom to Lot, a place that a man appoints for himself because of splendour and comfort without seeking to know if it pleases his maker. Many men opt for their own choice without caring whether it is the portion allotted to them from above, just in a bid to escape the seemingly perilous pathway to glory.
To dwell in the tent of the wicked is to be like the servant who hid his master’s talent under the ground, damning the consequence of an unfulfilled destiny, thinking his master is a hard man subjecting him to a rigorous and unattractive lot.
You see, I make beautiful portraits with both dark hues and bright colours, with both broken lines and straight lines. I need them all combined to create my pleasure and make art of men.
My perfect will is a blend of the good and what you term the bad. In the end, I bring light out of darkness and turn crooked paths straight, but first there must be pain before gain, suffering before satisfaction, peril before pleasure.
As lucid as the message of a simple poem, everything is now making meaning to me. First, the song, then his words. What began as a dilemma is diving out of the deep.
Suddenly, I am no longer in a dilemma! I am no longer in a dilemma!
My heart melts into brokenness. The tears are already forming bubbles on my cheeks. Wobbling, I fall into his bosom. This time around, I am not up and doing, I am down and done. I can no longer lift up my face before him and my tremulous hands can no longer hold the pencil.
The man is now sitting on a big throne and not on my chair, he’s making my portrait on a mighty wall erected before him. All of this is taking place in a room where an altar is burning and not in my art gallery.
In the portrait that he’s making, I begin with plenty dark hues but I am gradually evolving into bright colours. Also, there are many broken lines but the straight lines are becoming superimposed on them such that the broken lines are hardly noticeable. He is still working on the art while I am set to begin my marathon race upon the steep path.
It is the last week of the year but what began as a dilemma this morning has transpired into the divulgence of a mystery capable of ministering strength to me every morning.
One day, soon, when I finish this race, which I’ve embraced with hope and joy, I hope to change the inscription on the entrance of my art gallery to:
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined out.
Ayooluwa Olasupo (Imisi)