CHASING SHADOWS

What does “chasing shadows” mean?

How many of us have ever attempted chasing after our shadows? Pointless you would say. If you have ever done this, did you succeed in catching your shadow? Now someone is smiling. Okay, did you try stepping on your shadow when you were young? Did you succeed in doing that? Although I never did literarily chase my shadow. I remember I once attempted to step on the shadow of my leg when I was young. What a ridiculous and pointless exercise! It was futile and I thank God I did realize that on time.

As funny as this illustration is, some of us have enrolled in the rat race of chasing the shadow called happiness. In catching this grand shadow, we assume that if we can have the baits it offers, we would have succeeded in our pursuit of happiness. It is puzzling, however, that every time it appears we have caught this grand shadow via the possession of one of its baits, it suddenly develops invincible wings and flies away and we wonder how and why?

So what are the baits of the grand shadow?

The baits that we sometimes pursue to be happy refer to our heart desires and ambitions which are inherently good. I mean there is nothing wrong with desiring a good job, a new house, marriage, or whatever it may be, but when possessing such become the basis of our happiness, we rob ourselves of a joyful life. Imagine if you had to wait for days, weeks, months, or years to be happy! That’s too expensive a price to pay for what you can have now. The danger inherent in tying our happiness to these baits is that we begin to operate in the illusion that once we can catch any of these baits, the ultimate prize would be the grand shadow – happiness. Alas, once we succeed in catching whatsoever bait we are pursuing at the moment, we soon come to the painful realization that such bait could not deliver to us a lasting experience of our ultimate expectation. A feeling of disappointment soon sets in and we identify another bait we feel if acquired, will give us a permanent access to the grandmaster. Sooner or later, we find out that the same cycle of this result is the case. This can become an endless, vicious cycle if we don’t break free from it. So how do we break free from this enslaving, endless race?

We stop chasing the grand shadow!

Yes, we stop chasing happiness and instead, seek God who is the source of all good things, including happiness. We choose to be happy at the moment while pursuing our goals and desires. 1Thessalonians 5: 16 says “Rejoice always”. This is very effective as it allows us actualize our goals from a happy stance. Chasing the baits of happiness to be happy will never satisfy us for when we acquire any of these baits, we soon realize that we need another bait to be happy. Furthermore, what happens if something happens to the bait which was supposed to make us happy? Our happiness should never be dependent on something that is not assuredly permanent. Only God abides forever (1 Peter 1:25).

The same way I couldn’t catch my shadow by chasing it is the same way we can’t catch happiness by chasing the baits it offers. We choose to be happy and then chase our goals or desires from a happy stance. I didn’t need to chase my shadow because I already had an original version of myself. In the same vein, happiness is a choice and we must make a conscious decision to be happy now! When situations and life events disrupt it, we grieve as humans that we are and after that is over, we choose happiness over and over again by trusting God who knows best.

Ajegbomogun Olufunke
(C) 2020

Once Again

Once again , here I stand
Covering my face with a face pad
The world shouldn’t see these scars,
It’s petrifying to behold,
It reveals a story untold,
Lost hope, lost happiness and dreams torn apart.

Once again, here I stand
With my saviour hand in hand,
Saved, healed and restored.
Once battered but now full of joy
Forgetting the past story because the son has given a glory that lasts.

Princess Pirinye
© 2020

Joy

What is Joy
Joy is pleasure
It is deeper than happiness
Joy is rapture
Rapture is orgasm

This is His gift to dead men
Men who are broken bread and poured out wine
Men of the alabaster box of savored oil
Sweet smelling living sacrifices, men of obedience

Joy is dying, joy is cheerful giving
Joy is Abraham returning home with a resurrected Isaac
For the LORD will not abandon him in the place of the dead
By Faith, you kill you; By His Spirit, He gives you your life

That is joy

Favour Omeje
© 2020

Requiem for the Disarmed Forces

I have always admired soldiers
Just like I have always ignored Valentine’s Day
But on the day, I make a statement.

Not because my silence isn’t sweetin me
Not because I am obligated to speak.

I have always admired soldiers,
as their sacrifices vary
from patriotism to sheer employment
from investment to raw adventure

I don’t just remember soldiers on a remembrance day,
especially because I am Igbo
a tribe that has forgiven genocide and discrimination.
I don’t just remember soldiers on a remembrance day,
especially because I am Nigerian
a country that has forgiven military dictatorships and coups.

I don’t just remember soldiers on a remembrance day,
especially because my friend Eric is a soldier,
a man that shares history, hopes and happiness with me.

I remember soldiers,
the fallen and the standing,
especially because guard-room is real,
and no reward is enough for the soldier;
Except for Freedom and the heat of battle.

From God is true freedom…
but when it comes to battle,
Arise, Oh compatriots…

The Niel
©2020

Smile

The only medicine that has no prescription
No unpleasant taste
And cost no vortex of energy
Is to always smile
A take with incredible equanimity
Your generosity comes in times of scarcity
Done brazen facedly
Am vaccinated by you against infection
Because you give me a sense of humour
To maintain Stoic indifferent
And also impervious to the chilly wind of scorn
You become an aid as to a good riddance to the poor
And as a scaffolding of hope to the hopeless
A charmed strewn of sunlit shard
To lovers in happy relationship
Within the dying ashes
You blow the sacred spark
And make the hearts of lovers
To leap against the dark
You send happiness and a million pleasant thrills to the heart
To parched souls thirsting for love
In the vast desert of human affairs
Playing aide of rhythm to
Encouragement in circumstances.
A therapy used regularly to heal
Persons with varied ailments
With wonderful tonic for life’s ills ..

David Darby
© 2019

BEAUTIFUL SUBSTANDARD

You ever noticed how adorable the girl looked when she smiled whose face is so freckled or pimpled?

You ever noticed how cute it was watching that poor family happily eat together of the same plate?

To the ladies…

You ever noticed how loving the guy was who never met a single quality on your checklist? Or how handsome the guy looked when he cried?

You ever noticed how simply beautiful that old ignorant woman was who kept talking superstitions with so much confidence and good intents that you couldn’t help but smile?

You ever realized how perfect those scattered eyelashes or uncarved eyebrows can be?

You ever saw how admirable that poor little boy was when he acted out a deed of love?

You ever saw the ease with which little children of different races bonded on first meeting?

Did you ever take a moment to notice…

You see the problem is we think we need to be perfect to be happy, but no, we don’t and we cannot. We don’t need to be perfect to be happy neither can we be no matter how hard we try. The one thing that connects us is the fact that we are humans, we were created to be family. We all hunger for that sense of belonging, and desire love that is real, unconditional and unfailing.

Love is the answer… it is that which binds  us, it is the one thing that can make us stop struggling so hard to belong,  to be noticed and to be considered better than others. It is the one thing that will make us stop jumping into  conclusions,  criticizing and judging others but rather hearing the full story and making fair decisions.

It is the one thing that will keep us from being biased in our dealings with people of varying tribe, race or religion, class or background, political party or mindset.

It is the one thing that will enable us see everyone as who they are-humans- first before what they are!

It will enable us know that we are all equal and that no one is better off because we all fall short..only in different ways.

Love will enable us live happy lives in the midst of imperfections. A life of happiness is the one we live when we keep our lives simple, improving on the things we can do, our strengths and using them in the service of others faithfully.

True love makes a perfect world. It deletes all imperfections and pastes beauty. It  makes a  show of standard, proving neither perfection nor standard to be happiness but rather happiness in substandard is what yields perfection.

However,

True lasting love is not natural. We cannot produce that lasting love by our broken selves but we know one who can because He is whole and He is love.

We know someone who can amend our imperfect world with love because He amends our hearts. It was necessary that he started with our hearts because the brokenness of the world around us is only a reflection of the brokenness of our hearts. He has shed love abroad in the hearts of those who accept his arm of fatherhood.

When He walked on earth as a man called Jesus, we knew Him to live, love and show happiness.

We knew him to have been born in an average home  of a carpenter and his dear wife.

We knew him to see perfection in an old woman who gave a few coins as her offering.

We knew him to see perfection in children of different backgrounds.

We knew him to see perfection in a woman who the society had condemned.

We knew him to see perfection in a disciple and friend (Peter) though impulsive and undecisive..

We knew him to see perfection in crying women who had lost their brother, his friend.

We knew him to see perfection in a short “sinful” taxcollector.

We knew him to see perfection in a  man who died a criminal beside him on a cross.

He, Jesus can give us the ability to truly love. He can give us the ability with which we can heal our broken world. He came, died and rose so that all who believed in this could be one with Him, partake in his nature and have him as their representative before God, he came to give us his nature of eternal life and love.

When you smile

When you smile, you say I’m happy
The reason may remain unknown
But the joy is clearly shown

When you smile, you say I trust you
And what an encouragement it is too
To know that someone believes in you

When you smile, you say I love you
Three little words that stand as one
Powerful enough to touch any heart

When you smile, you say thank you
One appreciation they say
Goes a mighty long way

When you smile, you say I’m grateful
I might not be where I hoped to be
But I’m sure not where I used to be

When you smile, you say I understand
Sometimes a burden could be made easy
If only someone would care to listen

When you smile, that’s what makes the difference
If you’re still wondering what reasons you have more or less
Look again and let you smile lighten someone’s darkness

Sometimes all a smile could be is a friendly hello
Sometimes it could mean even more
‘Cause there’s no telling to how much a smile is worth

HAPPINESS IS A CHILD.

Remember that nursery rhyme..
‘We are H.A.P.P.Y. (X2). We know we are! We are sure we are! We are H.A.P.P.Y. Happy!
Lols.

And indeed, they are happy! With eyes so bright and free of fright
So full of hope and devoid of a wandering mope.
Feet swift to dance and bounce
Caring less of the attention they announce
Hands so free to wave and clap
Giving off little sweet noises
They really don’t care if the sound is organised or nonsense
All that matters is that moment of fun and ecstasy
And yes! They have these moments in abundance. Happiness is a child… It is the embodiment of little giggles and broad smiles
It is being inquisitive and yet not reasoning everything
It is being bold to show your emotions without masking them in deception
It is waking up the next morning without remembering who flogged you last night
It is laughing at yourself when you give out a loud fart without feeling embarrassed
It is worrying about nothing
Forgiving your offenders when they give you biscuits and cookies

Happiness is a child… It is going to bed without an angry thought or venom against someone
It is believing that there will always be daily provision of cookies for you without bothering your mind about its source. Happiness is a child… And that child is inside of you!
The master admonished us in Luke18:17
Regardless of your age,if you are to enter the kingdom of God
You need to become like little children
Not just children
BUT THE LITTLE ONES…
Get rid of the uptight know-it-all adult
That is masking the beauty of the little angel within you… Be happy! Be a child!

By
Ebisike Amarachi