A TRIP TO MARIAN TO BUY A SHAWARMA FOR DINNER

My first impression is noise

From every angle

Horns blare as engines rev in a mad jostle for right of way

A loudspeaker tries valiantly to compete

Ensuring that everyone around talks twice as loud

Then light

From head and tail lights moving one inch at a time

To the little lights strung up around the different kiosks

The shawarma man’s stall has no lights outside

So we stand in shadow

And watch him as he carefully wraps each package in foil and puts it in a home-made press

The smells

Fish grilling a few feet away catches my attention

Suya a few feet down

All accents on the overlying scent of fuel and fumes

It is a kaleidoscope of sensory experiences

Pictures in my head

The crowd gathered solemnly round the boli stand

As the woman turns each plantain and each fish with equal seriousness

All illuminated by a single 60 watt bulb

The people sitting around plastic tables

Ignoring the mad traffic mere feet away

As they patiently for their fish or their beer

The surge and ebb and surge as traffic lights change from green to red and back to green

Noise and lights and smells

Dash across the road, hop into a cab

The ride home

Street noises fade to background sound

I’m caught by the way the trees form an arch over the road

And the way the light from streetlights filters through the trees

Home

Slide my knapsack off my shoulder

To the couch nearest the door

And finally, taste

The creaminess of the shawarma

Washed down with cold ginger beer

To be followed by the chilled sweetness of pineapple slices

It’s been a good day

September 23, 2013

PATIENCE’S PERFECT WORK

PATIENCE’S PERFECT WORK

So a coupla days ago I hung out with my friend; it was really cool, we ate, gisted and I just generally chilled. The next morning though, I woke up feeling very out of sorts. I replayed our conversations in my mind and felt very bad because…well, I didn’t sound like a Christian. I’m very free with this friend and I didn’t have the usual guard I put on myself when I speak;, thinking back to the things I said and the way I said them, I felt very disappointed with myself.

So I muttered and mumbled and grumbled through the day. I felt cold and hot and my stomach wasn’t happy. I was sha not myself. Halfway through the day though, some thoughts started to go through my head. Lemme share:

  1. The first one was something that has cropped into my head repeatedly for some time now. How many of us still define Christianity by what someone does/doesn’t do? S/He does/doesn’t drink/smoke/have premarital sex/go to church/swear/pay tithes/dance/go for all the services. I (and I’m sure many other people), have a list of things by which we define whether we are good Christians or not. When I’m doing the things on my list, I feel “holy”, closer to God, but I’m becoming conscious that many of these are born of my own perceptions of what is right and what is sin, perceptions based on factors as diverse as my upbringing, my experiences and so on. While I felt bad about my conversation, I barely spared a thought about a somewhat unkind comment I’d made earlier that day – that one didn’t break my code I guess. It reminded me again to make my conduct as it glorifies God, not to pick out a personal list of Do’s and Don’ts.
  2. Second, this verse popped into my head from a post written by a very awesome blogger I follow. Giantsparkle. You can read the post here. She used this verse – “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye might be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”. That verse stuck in my head all day. Gradually, this thought came into my spirit  “Let patience have her perfect work – in my life, in my attitudes, in my spirit, in my walk – so that eventually, I will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Let me trust God that He is making me the person I can be in Him, let me patiently go through the process of my transformation and come through perfected in Him”.  I know that the chapter is talking about trials and that we often think of trials as things that come from outside to trouble us; I don’t know about you, but it is a trial to me that I am not as Godly as I want to be, as it is laid on my heart to be. This afternoon though, I found myself reminding myself to be patient, to sit back and let the working of my patience have its perfect work, so that eventually, I’ll come through perfect and complete, with everything in me as it should be.
  3. I realised that it was a good thing that this thing came to my attention. Because it shows that the Holy Spirit is at work in me, pointing out an area that needs transformation. I often have to remind myself that God knows that I am not perfect, and though He doesn’t expect me to take His grace for granted, He is fully aware of my flaws and follies and is actively committed to building me to the person I am created to be. An observation like this then is evidence that He is at work in me, and that my spirit is tender enough to note that there is something in my life that needs my Potter’s touch.
  4. Finally, it forced me back to honesty. In line with what wrote in Point 1, I sometimes find myself tempted to sound right as opposed to being right. There’s aspiration, and then there’s self deceit. I have always said that I desire honesty in my relationship with God more than I desire perfection (which is not to say that I don’t desire perfection). I don’t ever want people to look at me and see someone other than who I claim to be, and I also don’t want to become so preoccupied with presenting the right picture that I overlook the need to grow. I want my growth, my change, my transformation to be apparent to all. While I do not excuse my weaknesses, I don’t want to be a liar, presenting a picture of me that crumbles at the slightest touch. See me as I am, flaws and all, so that you will see my transformation as it happens. Let people look at me and note that there are things that I have put away and things that I have picked up. I want them to see my growth, the active work of my Jesus in me, transforming me daily into His image. I want to be transformed not by my mindset of what I think I should be, or my desire to copy what person A or B is doing, but by His active living Spirit at work in me.

With those thoughts in mind, my stomach was restored to peace and the smile came back onto my face. Am I not favoured to have a Father who hears my heart’s needs and supplies them just as they are needed? Will He who started a good work in me not carry it out to completion? Will the zeal of the Lord for my perfection not accomplish what it is supposed to in my life?

My God has done great things for me, and I am truly glad.