Feed the World

Let them know it’s Christmas time 🎶 You have not heard this 1984 Band-Aid favorite song? Never fear, the link is here. Or maybe you would prefer, Celine Dion’s ‘And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?’ You guessed it, the Christmas season is finally here. Is it your Most Wonderful time of the Year? We could do this all day…such fun.

Bob Geldorf and his pals were moved to avert a crisis in Ethiopia. There was a famine, a terrible famine that was documented by the BBC and caused everyone to want to do something. So that Christmas and the one after that, Band-Aid raised about £8M for the relief effort.

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Matthew 4:4 NKJV

And so this is Christmas, what have you done? You have fed the hungry, well done! But Jesus, whose birthday is the reason for the Christmas celebration says there is more to life than food. Food offers temporary satisfaction, I recall all the Christmas dinners my mum cooked but that’s it. No more to feed on it again. Jesus is the Word in the Beginning, the Word that was spoken and everything we know was formed. so He should know what He is talking about.

Christmas time is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. Because our Savior was born on Christmas Day. And we need a savior because on our own we cannot save ourselves from the fallen nature of this world. When He became the Word incarnate, He showed us what to do.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Jesus did feed the hungry, 5000 of them in one go. It is important but not the most important. The most important is to feed the World with the Word of God. Every problem in this world is a sin problem. Even within relief agencies who are humanitarian, they fall short and their corrupt environment should be a reminder that there is more.

So this Christmas, would you lead someone to Jesus? So they are not only filled with a sumptuous Christmas dinner but remain with the Bread of Life all the days of their lives. The satisfaction is guaranteed by Jesus Christ.

Vanilla Essence

Or maybe I should call it The myth of retirement. Part 1. All through school, we always heard about and planned for retirement at some ripe old age. It was the utopian idea that at this age, one would have time to take all those holidays they missed, take a cruise around the world, run a farm and maybe play golf all day. Getting into the fast and furious rat race, I quickly realized this was too good to be true. There was just no one around me who lived like this. The only pensioners I knew were in their homes, in Kabale, where my parents grew up. And they were still very active in the political and economic life of Kigezi. Plus, the only reason I knew they were pensioners was because they were always coming to Kampala to fill out some forms to enable them to get their pension. This journey is about 500kms and because the roads were worse for wear, it took almost 24 hrs. All of my life. 😏

So what was retirement then? Did it simply mean that I was too old for formal employment? Not everyone is was formally employed, some were self employed. There, lived around the periphery of Makerere University, a group of elderly Batooro men who peddled anything and everything. One of the peddled recycled bottles, he collected glass bottles from our households, at that time everything was bottled in glass. He cleaned them up and sold them off. Would he retire? When would he retire? My nanny, was so old, Maria, bless her heart. She plucked out all my milk teeth, never needed a dentist. Would she retire as well? When would she retire?

Then came the Structural Adjustment Programs that saw the massive layoffs of public servants. They were given severance pay and overnight, they were no longer civil servants. Were they retired? Apparently, they were. But they were too young for cruises and yet too old for their former jobs. They reinvented the wheel. Early retirement became an option.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is a description of the buzz around me when I decided to retire. Nevertheless, when I opted to retire, time took on an elastic quality. I would have all the time to do everything, I had wanted to do. So I bought vanilla essence. I was going to be baking fresh muffins for breakfast and desserts for my family, so they could also live the life. I have a very sweet tooth.  It did not help matters that one of my retirement gifts was a desserts recipe book.  I would like to take a moment here and laugh 😂🤣 at this plan. Four years down the road, the essence is a running joke among my sons. I never baked a cake or dessert or any such thing.

…Life it goes on

Robert Frost

School schedules remained the same. Traffic jam remained the same. The earth still orbited the sun for 24 hrs. The dry and rainy seasons still remained. The visa application process for those long boat cruises remained just as rigorous if not more. Morning routines remained. Meal times remained.

And so it was that I found myself grappling with the word retirement and its meaning. Would it vanish like Santa and the tooth fairy? Only to reappear when my own children were learning about milk teeth and Christmas gifts. Would it be deleted from my word bank? Would it take on a new meaning? The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah, there were prophecies by great famous prophets like Elijah and Isaiah and little known ones like Micah and Joel. This Jesus who had just fed over five thousand of them with two fish and five loaves, might be the one. They followed Jesus in small boats across the Sea of Tiberius to Capernaum. After all, Moses had fed their forefathers with manna, surely Jesus could do better. Maybe He could even show them how He did it.

Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”
John 6:29 AMP

Surely, it could not be that simple. There should be a miracle he could perform. But, just like it was for me, the realisation that life is the journey of believing and trusting in Jesus is the ultimate mythbuster. Many of them walked away that day. Ultimately, the goal of life is not retirement but to believe in Jesus. Totally blew my sails out! This was not what I was expecting but it was how I had always lived. So if I had lived this way, was living this way, surely I should continue to live like so?

The essence of life is to believe in Jesus, the One sent by God. The Bread of life that satisfies my hungry soul.

Chasing Mr. Right, Ending up with what’s Left

I decided to break the silence; there was no one left to speak for me.

In the time since this happened, I have found many comrades in the struggle. It’s in the sigh, the way they hang their heads, the way their fingers caress their cheeks, the way they hug their shoulders, the way tears well up in their eyes but do not pour out onto their cheeks. The shaking of their heads, the limpness in their limbs, the tone of voice, the staccato speech. The absence of adjectives.

It started- I was five years old, they stopped us at a roadblock on the way to Kabale- systematically stripped all the adults of anything they deemed valuable. And my sweets. Who steals candy from a baby? Mr. Right.

We hired him to guard our home when thieves overrun the University’s defences, he didn’t show up that night. We were robbed clean. He didn’t show up again, but we were given a replacement by Mr. Right. Why a replacement? Sshhh, Mr. Right is always right.

Then he was assigned to guard my daddy to keep him from harm’s way. But we found daddy in a hospital, another roadblock, badly injured though not fatally. It could have been worse, is all Mr. Right said.

We came back from burying mummy and again we had been robbed. Mr. Right needs airtime. Mr. Right wants to interview all the staff at home, he ends up intimidating them. Mr. Right needs facilitation. Mr. Right, is it possible for you to do your job quietly and leave us to mourn? Shhhhh, Mr. Right is always right. He has a very important job to do.

Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic. Lewis Caroll

The hassle -Madam, your seat belt is not on; Madam, you are over speeding, here you see the machine says so; Madam, aren’t you too pregnant to drive? Madam, it’s very hot today. Mr. Right please, don’t belabour the point. Is it reasonable for us to use the same time it takes Toyota to manufacture an entire car to “discuss” the use of a mere component?

Yes, the madness got to me.

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah
Psalms 55:6‭-‬7 NKJV

He raised his arm, as I drove by with my children, I stopped. He systematically begins finding fault with everything about me, he strips me down, shreds my integrity and crumples my dignity like used wrapping paper. I play it down, my children are in the car.

Finally, he latches onto he said-she said like a desperate man falling into a chasm. It’s his word against mine. No one stops to assist, not even the bodaboda man. Girl don’t you know your place, you don’t argue with Mr. Right. He is Right, just do as he says! In sync, and like a well choreographed dance, each one dances to his tune and they move off stage. I cannot dance any more, Mr. Right? I have only two LEFT feet. The music plays on.

I run back to my safe place, my car. He followed me, where are you going? I am Mr. Right, you cannot leave till I say so.

It is time to take back my life, I choose to take it back. I try to start my car, his hand swiftly grabs my hand and my key. I am not allowing you to take my life away again, Ssebo. I fight with all I have. He breaks my key chain, takes the key. Strips my car of its plates.

Mummy, mummy what is happening? The hammering is too loud. Mummy, are you going to prison? Mummy, Mummy, what is Mr. Right doing? Hide, hide, Where can we hide?

Satisfied with his handiwork, he puffs his chest out, gives me back the keys to the car. But it’s not my car, it’s damaged goods. Damaged like my soul by Mr. Right.

Mummy, I heard the car crying.

I can hear the sounds of Jessie Reyez’s Gatekeeper https://youtu.be/_0G2TmuDjL8

I wait for the Lord , my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord

More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
Psalms 130:5‭-‬6 NKJV

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.