Traffic jam

Traffic jam is efficient,

Cause you remember-

He is Omniscient.

He ain’t mute like a mime,

He is Lord of Time.

Traffic jam is efficient,

You get to be proficient –

In reading books

Or touching up looks.

Traffic jam is efficient,

You are insufficient-

You did not pay attention;

You passed the gas station;

You are running on empty,

You are down to your last twenty.

Traffic jam is efficient,

You did your best,

Maybe it’s time to rest.

Smell the coffee,

Chew the toffee,

He leads you softly

To your trophy.

Tell us about Mary

I have spent time thinking about Mary, her courage and her humility- but mostly her courage.

She couldn’t have been more than fifteen years and yet she didn’t cringe when she was told she would be the mother of the long awaited one, the Messiah. Her brother-in-law, Zechariah questioned the same angel Gabriel in the Holy of Holies. Her response on the other hand,

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38 KJV

Seated in the sweltering heat, fingers impatiently tapping my steering wheel, I am unable to wait a few minutes for a rushed driver to bypass me. She allowed God to bypass her- her engagement was on the line, her family might disown her, her friends might call her a liar, the synagogue might excommunicate her.

(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:35 NKJV

She laid her life, her aspirations, everything that was familiar , down convinced that God is able to do what He said He would do. When he does, it will be good and perfect. She was certain that the devil is not in the details, God had the plan and all the details working for her.

She makes the journey to Bethlehem by donkey (that’s what we have always sang in the carols) but maybe she walked. A donkey is not the most comfortable ride, it’s not a four wheel drive with air conditioning, cushy leather and a stereo surround system. It is a rough ride, she felt every bump, every rock, every stumbling and probably a few tumblings. It must have been windy, cold, extremely hot at noon, definitely exhausting.

Her feet swelled. She got thirsty and hungry. It was a rough journey. Joseph is also young, slightly older than her but definitely fits in very well with our youth in this millennium. He fumbles and is clumsy as he gets weary. His sense of judgement gets cloudy. Yet, they take it in their stride. Caesar Augustus may have lost his marbles but God has got this. He is the light in the dark unknown.

She goes into labour in the middle of the census. The town is abuzz with the excitement of reuniting families. Tired Romans trying to just get through the counting and Rabbis exhausted from all the dinner parties. In a stable, probably all alone, she gives birth to her first born. She has heard stories and been prepped for this day. But there is a very conspicuous absence, her family. She doesn’t get to share her joy with them. Instead she has smelly, uncouth, excited shepherds visit. They tell their story of angels, she doesn’t tell hers. The three Magi come with the most expensive gifts, they tell their story. She doesn’t tell hers. Motherhood begins quietly, in quietness and trust, she finds rest.

The baby has been up the whole night, feeding every two hours. She glimpses a blurry Joseph bustling around the room, they have to leave. Herod is after Jesus. She had hardly recovered from the dedication and purification journeys. Just when she was getting into her rhythms. No time to lose, she is back onto the donkey with the baby. Her back hurts, her nipples are sore, her eyes are heavy, she can’t feel her arms… The baby is fast asleep. The journey to Egypt is longer- feeding breaks, nappy changes, water refills- more arduous they must travel silently. No friendly stop overs, no banter in markets, only silence.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4 KJV

Joseph’s eyes betray him, they well up with tears, we survived the holocaust but all are gone. Her heart tightens, “what about John?” Terror seeks to grip her soul, the baby coos. But God. She mourns for her sisters, her friends, comfort them, O Lord. Thank you for our Savior, this will end. Her heart remains steadfast, it is well with John. It is well with Elizabeth. It is well with Zechariah. It is well with Israel.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
Deuteronomy 33:27 KJV

Allow us to mourn

My husband said he was going to pick a few things, it is now seven months -since that day. ‘What shall I tell the triplets?’

Allow me to mourn.

My son did not return from the front line – his friends say, when the bomb exploded, he exploded.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Isaiah 40:1 KJV

He promised me heaven, and bought me dozens of roses – but would have nothing to do with the baby. They scrapped my womb, and dropped the lifeless one to a bin.

Allow me to mourn.

There was no cry, the room became a frenzy but still no cry. My baby had gone. She was carried away from me, disposed of, unnamed, unmentionable, to be forgotten. I cannot forget.

Allow me to mourn.

The rains failed, the seeds did not bud. Their cries became faint, I couldn’t crawl over to comfort them, I had no comfort to give. My children, one by one, their feeble cries ceased, all seven not even one remains.

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
Matthew 2:18 KJV

You had a silent miscarriage. ‘What?’ Your body forgot to tell you, your baby died. ‘How?’ We shall need to remove the foetus. ‘Why?’ Madam, it’s now a danger to your body. ‘I don’t want!! leave my baby !! Leave us alone.’

Allow me to mourn.

It was a group of them, they surrounded me, groped me and hit me when I screamed. I fell to the ground, they dragged me further away into the dark. One by one, till all I saw was darkness…. The doctors say I may never have my own children.

He grabbed my hands and led me away, ‘it’s a new game!’ I happily followed, giggling all the way. He had his way with me… What game is this? I had lost something, what was it? I was bleeding, he had lied, it was not a game.

Allow me to mourn.

I was never allowed to decide. They would visit my room every night, and pleasure themselves with my body. My head was covered with a pillow, no one heard my screams for help. No one taught me to say No. I am an object of pleasure, don’t ask me to feel. I don’t know how to feel.

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

R. I. P. crispness

Let us pause for a moment,

At Lukaya, a few kilometers from the river Katonga,

For just a moment- as we wait for scrumptious, crispy chicken

and mourn the loss of crispness –

the ground strewn with abandoned plastic bottles, paper bags trampled into the earth, chicken feathers floating above the smoke, clogged drains, peeling paint, crumbling walls, flaky plaster, blurred stall boundaries, incorrectly spelt shop names, signposts littered across the landscape.

abirigation!

unhemmed overcoats, scraggly collars, scruffy sandals, unkempt weaves, bad posture, incorrect grammar.

Choooo!

Curvy hems, stained blouses, ill-fitting trousers, uncombed hair, running maidens.

Tsk, Tsk!

Unmarked lanes, uneven humps, no bus stops, no side walks, no green parks, no kids’ play area, old road signs, innumerable traffic police stops, parallel driving, endless armed convoys.

An aroma of roasted chicken wafts by-

I remember in a time gone by, a headmaster keen on white handkerchiefs, firm handshakes, black polished shoes, socks pulled up, shirts tucked in, chin up, straight lines, best foot forward.

Onwards and Upwards!

‘Madam, your chicken is ready,’ he hands me the chicken on a stick.

I smile.

Was that you crispness?

Of pinky promises,kings and empires

So the year has come to an end. It’s the most wonderful time to reflect on 300 days gone by, a time to remember. A nice polite coffee with scrumptious cup cakes to savour – the happiness of fulfillment and celebrate peace and goodwill to all men.

But for promises – The last minute dash to fulfil, to followup. The heart break of unfulfilled promises, of dashed dreams. The many what abouts, probabilities, possibilities that never were because you got caught up, because things spiralled out of control, because there was a fault, a war, a power surge, a scuffle, a loss, a complication, an error, a birth, a wedding, a party, a promotion, just because.

Mary was betrothed to Joseph, mazal tov! Until the Angel Gabriel visited, now Joseph had cold feet. A betrothal was unraveling, a promise shattering.

The Three Wise men followed A Star, they found themselves with an egotistical king who had no idea that the King of Kings had been born. Dashed hopes.

Another King had been given a sign. A virgin would give birth and He would be called Immanuel. Hezekiah did not see the virgin birth. Neither did the Jews in Babylon nor the Babylonians. It happened 700 years later under the Romans. Crushed expectations.

Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
Lamentations 3:22‭-24 NKJV

Promises create expectations, they are the stuff from which we derive hope. Hope that each day will be better than the former. Jeremiah reminds us that the firmest expectations are those based on God’s promises. He is faithful. Faithfulness is the lighthouse of our expectations. Jeremiah should know, he ushered the Israelites into Babylon. He even bought a potter’s field as a surety of the return home, a return he would not witness but he trusted the Lord. His compassion would never fail.

So it shall be for you, the faithful lighthouse beckons. The Lord is my portion, I shall hope in Him.

Blindsided?

Well laid out plans crumble within seconds. Our carefully crafted facade melts in minutes. Everything we have spent our lives building is taken away in our hours. Our friends stab us in the back, intimate discussions splashed all over media, dirty linen washed on Oxford street.

God, where were you? You had this all wrapped up to a t! How did this happen on your watch? Everything is spinning out of control. Emotions, negative and ugly emotions, overwhelm you, suck you into deep dark days as you realize, you were an object of a power play. You were left open at the flanks. You were blindsided.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 NKJV.

The prophets had foretold the birth, Isaiah actually foretold it in amazing detail. Hundreds of years before He was born. And so far, everything had gone according to plan. Even Micah’s prophecy about Bethlehem, by Augustus’ decree, they were no longer home in Nazareth but home in Bethlehem. How did they find themselves with only a manger as a crib? Yet it had been planned with meticulous detail? The three Kings were on their way, following a star. For two years. Is it possible that God could miss out such an important detail? Mary needed a room at the inn to give birth to her baby or a room at grandmas? Surely, someone should be kind to the expecting mother.

Or was it the beginning of rejection? Of insignificance? Isaiah prophesies that there is nothing attractive about Him. He is so ordinary, we shall miss Him. Micah calls out Bethlehem as the least of the cities. Isn’t He the son of David, the shepherd forgotten in the fields when the Prophet Samuel came to visit? Simeon tells Mary a sword will pierce her heart, is this the sword being positioned? Isaiah describes Him as A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, has the journey to being that man already started?

Paul encourages the Corinthians as he himself was encouraged, when you are weak, God’s strength and power is perfected and complete in you. He reminds the Romans, it is while you were ungodly, without strength that Christ died for you. John describes Jesus as the light that darkness cannot comprehend. When we are blindsided, we are God shielded; God wrapped; In the manger is where we find that light cannot be hidden.

Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all on earth.

Thanksgiving

to intentionally take time to be grateful and to give thanks for all the good things that God has loaded me with.

O magnify the Lord with me.

To remember how I walked through dark valleys led by a kindly light; How I walked through fire unscathed; how I didn’t drown when Life overwhelmed me.

O magnify the Lord with me.

For old friends who are still alive, whose laughter makes my heart merry, whose tears clutch my heart. whose presence is like fine aged wine, smooth around the ages and mellow as it slips down my throat. Grateful.

For new friends, effervescent and loud. Dancing like tiny candle lights against a once dark future. Bringing new perspectives, freshness and bubbliest laughter into my life.

Exhilarating.

For family, belonging and affirmation. They dole it out like crunchy morsels of KFC. Succulent memories of hours spent doing life. The unending reminder that no matter how far or how long ago, some things don’t change.

Precious.

for husband and children whose patience and love is indescribable. the well that never runs dry and always available to refill. How awesome it is to be loved by you.

Sweetest.

For my King and the lover of my soul who has daily loaded me with good things because He counts me worthy of His love. Who generously dishes out love like hot steaming matooke and lavishes me with grace like smoked groundnuts.

Delicious.

O magnify the Lord with me.

Gone Maama gone

Mmmmmhh….. Hmmmm……

Silence.

I called out for you maama-

You looked at me, in your haste to leave,

I saw you look at me Maama…

I reached out for you Maama…my arms hang limp now, my fingers are numb, Maama-

Why did you walk out Maama?

They came for me, when THEY came for me… Maamaaaa? Turn back, Maamaaaa… don’t leave.

Why didn’t you wave them away with your magical wand?

They pricked all my pores like a million gnats, they gnawed at the soles of my feet with glass. Maamaaaa, O Maamaaaa, hoo….maamaaa

Come back… come back.

Why didn’t you say anything Maama?

They put fire in my mouth, they sucked ice cold water through my ears.

Hiccup! Hiccup!

I fail to remember your sweet voice, Maama, your sweet voice that sung me lullabies, that fed me sweet morsels of hope;

Who are you Maama?

Did you forget me? the child you nursed on your breast, the crying child you rocked to sleep every night.

The knife, O Maamaaaa; they bled me till I bleated.

What is the color of blood Maama? is it crimson? Is it silver? Is it gold?

Is it dark? Dark as sorrow?Dark as the shroud of my captors?

It’s only the sound of silence, child. Maama’s gone. Maama’s gone.

Falling flat on your face

The one thing that all the girls at school avoided like the plague was ‘digiloss‘, a term that comfortably set our behaviour boundaries. There was an expectation -‘digi‘-about how we should walk, carry ourselves in public. Anything that did not fit within ‘digi‘ was ‘digiloss‘. The ultimate ‘digiloss’ was falling flat on your face, Oh myyyyyy what a fall that would be. The news spread like wildfire and it wasn’t good.

Thankfully, I never did experience this as a younger person. However, before I could comfortably pat myself on the back as an almost ‘digi’ Princess, I found myself flat on a sidewalk at mall. I thought that thud couldn’t possibly be me! why does the pavement look nearer? My senses slowly returned and the only feeling was one of embarrassment and true, authentic ‘digiloss’. There I was dust all over my jeans, scrapped knees, bits of sand in my mouth and my bags all over the pavement….This cannot be happening…ground swallow me! How undignified you look, dear. It was a spectacular failure, the ultimate bow to gravity.

Yet Joshua seems to find pleasure is falling flat on His face when he meets the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts and even removes his shoes. The twenty four elders do the same in the vision John has in the book of Revelation. Mackenzie in The Shack does the same when all He knows about God from his childhood through seminary is challenged. God doesn’t look like he does in his imagination, neither does He speak like He does in the Bible movies. The Pharisees couldn’t wrap themselves round Jesus either, His knowledge of the Law was unrivalled and yet He healed on the Sabbath, He spent time with women and tax collectors,He turned water into wine! Their cleverly designed god starts to crack right before their eyes.

Joshua, the elders, Mackenzie come to the realization that to worship God is to fall flat on our faces, our knowledge of Him is not only limited but also too embarrassing to mention. Every vestige of who we are and what we hold dear is a complete total loss in the presence of the Omnipresent one. We should completely strip our souls. Forget the bags,strip to nothing,no agendas, no titles, completely nothing….no ‘digi’ to find the our maker.

I choose to fall completely and spectacularly flat on my face in the presence of God. To go back to basics, I am clay, I fade like grass…You are God alone, Magnificent in splendour and Majesty, holy and untainted , You are all I need.

Will you fall flat on your face?