John

There was a man who came from God.
His name was John.
He wandered through the wilderness
With nothing on.

He ate whatever crossed his path,
The desert’s gifts,
He never bathed; he had no friends,
Just relatives.

He was a cousin of Our Lord
Through his mama,
And learned the Prophets and Torah
From his papa.

When God told him the time was ripe,
He left his cave,
And went down to the riverbank,
His soul to save.

He preached the coming Kingdom,
Then, full of grace,
He knew the true Messiah when
He saw his face.

“It is my cousin, Jesus!” said he,
In wild surprise,
As Jesus gazed at him with
Burning eyes,

He heard, “This is the end of the
Beginning and
The beginning of the end,
My friend.”

Pamela Urfer
© 2021

The Bleeding Heart

The blood she shed was all her own.
She’d found no way to staunch the flow
For twelve long years.
The cost to her in doctors’ care
Was nothing to her shame and her enormous fears.
Unclean and thus untouchable
She knew she’d live and die alone in blood and tears.

The world had turned its back on her
And all she saw and all she touched was tinged with red.
Denied the right to worship God,
Denied the Temple courts by law, her soul was dead.
Denied all comfort, love of friends
And touch of man, she kept alone her blood-stained bed.

Her last hope lay in this new man,
But with her touch she’d make him, too, unclean, outcast.
And should she even hope for help?
Of all the people God might heal she was the last.
For it was God who sent the curse,
The blood and shame, the loneliness, through Laws He passed.

In spite of all these doubts and fears,
Mistrust of God, she took her chance – a touch unseen.
Then, Jesus, the untainted, changed the Law to Love.
Her world became new, fresh and green.

The blood He shed was all his own,
And flowing down it covered her and washed her clean.

Pamela Urfer
© 2021

Letter to Ola #5

Dear Olaedo,

On Prayers

I wish I could write ‘PRAYER WORKS‘, drop the mic and hope you would understand enough to appreciate the depth of that truth.

Perhaps, after I tell you the story of my friend, Onuegbu, you would understand better. To protect his identity, we’ll call him Onuegbu. He and I became friends in 2013. He calls me his best friend although I don’t feel worthy of the title. His life is devoid of true friendship which perhaps is why he considers the little I offer the best he has ever had.

Onuegbu has a beautiful heart and sees only the good in people. I have never heard him talk ill of anybody even when people constantly leave his back fiercely itching after he has done a thorough job scratching their backs.

Nobody wants to drown with a drowning person.

Life is not as fair to him as he is to life’s benefactors.

Onuegbu has sickle cell anemia and ordinarily, he may have been able to cope comfortably if well treated but his financial state is so unstable, he could barely eat, let alone afford medications.

His health got so bad that his family abandoned him and he was left alone to cater for himself. Being his friend has its dark side. He always needs company. It helps in distracting him from the pains of stiffening bones and excruciating pains.

I think talking about his problems is a form of therapy for him so even when my own life is crashing, I would stay on the phone for hours and listen to him complain.

The difficulty in feeding is the most heartbreaking part. He would call and ask for as little as a transfer of N500 to eat as he had not eaten all day.
I prayed first in 2015 for his healing. Oh well, it continued. I prayed again in August 2020. This time, I fasted for 3 days.

He wanted to give up. He was ready to commit suicide. His hustle has been fruitless. The lack of capital wasn’t helping matters. Each time he got a little money to put into something, his health would knock him down and he would use the money to pay hospital bills.

He was in so much anguish and I couldn’t take it. I prayed and fasted for a way; for something to work for him. I kept asking how he felt from time to time as I prayed but nothing changed. (Ha. I was tired oh. What’s all this nah?)

It can be frustrating when you can do little to alleviate such pain from a friend’s life. The darkness is contagious. (You don’t contact the sickle cell silly. You just drown in misery alongside him).

This was us until we got a glimmer of hope yesterday.

I replied to a tweet by Ozzy Etomi on Twitter yesterday and talked about my anemic friend and his ordeal in a brief yet explicit manner.

It got a lot of reactions and comments from people sending their love and light, and other anemic people saying that sickle cell anemia can easily be lived with but with medications and good food which involves money.
One particular man replied and asked me to give his international number to my friend to contact him as he would like to be of assistance!
Glory!

We’ll be calling our man ‘Godsent’.
Onuegbu chatted up Godsent on WhatsApp and after a long talk, GodSent said he will set up a business fully for him.

Did I cry? Yes. The pieces of my thankfulness were all over the place and I wished I could mould it into a clay medal of thankfulness and present it wholly to God.

Instead, I sang ‘Great is thy faithfulness’, then muttered words in tongues, then exploded in laughter after which crying followed.
The crying and laughter started happening so concurrently that I couldn’t differentiate my laughter from my cry.

Long pause.

Tongues again.

Plain words of gratitude.

Blast of memories.

Feelings of inadequacy because I could not mould a perfect ‘thank you’.

I curled up and breathed softly knowing that even my breath was drawing invisible strokes of thankfulness in the air.

Your Mama


ChyD

©2020

Letter to Ola #4

Dear Olaedo,

On Friends with Benefits

When my therapist said the life of every relationship is dependent on benefits, I thought it was a selfish thing to say but a critical examination showed it was true.

Ever wondered why your best friend is your best friend? My guess is that she understands you. This is because you have the same values, so talking to her is easy and soothing. Your conversations are mostly warm because when you discuss fundamental issues, you vibe on the same frequency.

When you learn something new, you can’t wait to share it with her. You’ll literally blow up with information hoarding if you don’t share it.

One of the hardest things you’ll ever face is when your best friend is going through pain. Any kind of pain. It hurts like it’s a personal pain because it is.

On occasion, where distance reduces the frequency of your communication, the heart still knows where its loyalty lies and every reunion feels like no time has been lost.

Healthy friendships are beautiful and are the most important institution humanity has ever seen. Marriages and family relationships are shams without friendship.

I lost my dad at a period when I didn’t care about the size of a mustard seed. The mustard seed that could challenge me had not mustered any courage. I prayed for his healing and believed but he still died. I had a journal where I called God all sorts of vile names. My favourite was ‘scam’. I considered him my best friend and he did me dirty. I still believed in his sovereignty but the relationship seemed like a master-slave relationship since he could just let my dad die just like that. Ah!

I think those prayers ‘we’ made far back in the days to not be able to breathe nor live without Christ came through for me because I could only last three months of not speaking with God before I ran back to ask him why he did me like that. That was not how friends acted. He showed me things happening around me I took for granted and we made up.

At another time, I had issues with my best friend and we both knew we were suffering but couldn’t resolve our issues and I prayed fervently that God should heal our friendship. It seemed like a flippant thing to pray about but I knew that no matter how flippant it was, if it affected me, then it was important enough to God. She came to me and we talked. The mountain of a problem we had became a levelled ground and I gave her a letter I wrote to her at the exact time she came to meet me.

Sometime later, I had an issue that stole my peace and I tried all I could to be of sound mind including going for therapy but my efforts were futile until I turned to God. Yes! You guessed right!

I got my peace back.

Most times, we get it all wrong. My friend would say you should test and see if your Lord is good. Don’t just hear it and carry it about when you can’t boast strongly without a doubt of one thing he has done for you aside from the cross you’ve heard of and believed or things you can cross off as coincidences.

What reinforces the cross are your experiences today. Maybe that’s why you struggle with consistency in ministry. You may be doing it because it’s a command and I don’t think that is a sustainable reason.

I became so dependent on God that I wanted to give back too; so I started asking him how I can go about doing things for him also. I wanted to reciprocate.

What we think we owe God, what He requires of us and what we think our blessings are dependent on are wrong notions we’ll address in the future.

For today, what benefits have you gotten from your relationship with God?

Do you have a relationship at all? Life is easier with such a beneficial friendship.


With Love,
Mama

ChyD

©2020

A New Dawn

It’s a new dawn so let’s catch fun
Let’s join the birds to sing and the cocks to crow
Let’s make melody in our hearts
Let the echoes of the drum linger

Push wide the gates of the city let our friends come in
Let’s have party after party until everyone falls in
Let the bright colours of the Disco hall tickle our fancy
My dear, drink to stupor

Lie on the floor and kiss the maidens
Now the day is far spent
The guests are long gone and the music fades away
The master is back home

What have you done with your talent
The long dreaded moment
Is inevitable and will surely come
Spend your time on things of value

Lady Nancy
© 2020

INTIMACY OF TRUTH

He asks why I shrink
My mind conjures letters into words
Envelopes but unable to post it
The inefficiency of the post office may misplace it
Misplace it with reactions from cross-purposes
For avoidable protocol of tracing words to letters I shrink

He says I should try him
But I know the end from the beginning
I am expected to be saintly
With perhaps a pardonable trace of sinfulness
Because he supposedly understands I’m human
I can’t determine which of my sinfulness he considers pardonable
So I don’t try him

I quiver at my imaginations
My mind is a roller coaster of horror
The gate of Hades
For his safety, there is no access
No actual intimacy
Let it be closed to family and friends
Entertaining guests will be at the veranda

The explosion of bodies in hot passion is still not intimacy without truth
He could recognize the members of my body in the dark;
Be familiar with the turns, corners
Nooks, crannies, depths and heights of my body
We could surf through a tsunami with goose pimples as evidence
And still not achieve intimacy

My hunger for intimacy deepens
I search and find the one able
To hear my filthy and wretched truth
The one who sees past my truth
And introduced his truth which is grace
Alas, I give up my keys and let him in
I let out fires I shamefully quenched
The intimacy of truth cannot be afforded by humans
But the one already paid

– ChyD
© 2019

Best Syllable

I have envisioned, read and learned
I have traveled, heard and lived
But the best syllables is that of a dying
Man, who is near to a new beginning

His tones are calm like gospel
His eyes peace, reconciliatory, transitory
Forgive is all he says
Forgive is all he repeats

For friends and foes alike
Are criminals condemned alike
Both entered the prison the same way
Both will sleep someday.

Forgive is all he says
Forgive is all he repeats
For man has nothing since
The beginning but his nakedness

It is only Allah that generously gives
And it is I AM that takes away
Forgive is all he says
Forgive is all he repeats

I have traveled and learned
But the best syllables of life is that of a dying man, who is near to a new beginning

Ugwu David. C
© 2019