This is a continuation of part 1. Click here to read, if you missed it.
“So you kill my birds so that I can have enough time to read my bible and get Gbile Akanni CDs.”
“Those birds were your gods. So the lover of your soul just stopped watching over the rival gods.”
“It wasn’t their fault. If there’s anyone to die, it would have been me.”
“See how you are talking about birds! You’d rather die?”
“You shouldn’t have used the birds to get to me.”
“Don’t be a fool Yemi, Jesus didn’t die for birds, and there is much more for you from the hand of the Oludara than birds. The way you speak about the birds, what would that tell you about your obsession with your business?”
“OK, I get it. Maybe I’m too obsessed with them. I got a loan to start that business. I put time and energy to start that poultry, I planned, I worked, I fasted, I prayed, if someone who has put all that into something cannot get protection from Oludara, then why should I ever care?”
“You still don’t understand the concept of grace.”
“So I have to be indebted to be taught about it? The bank will soon be on my neck, and what would I tell them? What I’ve learned about grace?”
“You think you are protected because of what you are doing, instead of what the holy one has done.”
“It doesn’t matter what I think. I’ve never put so much energy into anything like I did on this one. It’s painful watching it all go up in smoke.”
“There are some things you have to understand.”
“You live in a fallen world. You must have heard so much about the Liberian civil war. Millions died because they had crazy selfish leaders. The righteous died, the evil died. You heard about the tsunami in south-east Asia…”
“I get your point.”
“No, you don’t. Let me finish.”
“If a man rapes a woman and the whole community knows about it, and she reports to the police; if the police laugh it off as a minor thing and the community thinks women’s things are to be taken anyhow, the rapist goes free. That’s not God.”
“I get that.”
“If a man gets drunk and decides to drive his car on the highway, and he crashes into your daughter, killing her, that death would be by a man who made the wrong choice. It wouldn’t be God.”
“Don’t you think we should go in to sit down?” I turned and waved at the neon lights of Chicken Republic. “You can eat chicken. Right?”
“I don’t have much time. Just listen.”
“The world is full of evil because the devil is at work and the human heart is desperately wicked. You are being sheltered from a lot because of Oludara’s love, and because of your position with the first of new men. So, you need to understand the scriptures, you need to remember that the entire creation – not just human beings – needs redemption, and you need to stop listening to bread and butter preachers who make you think the walk of faith means a walk of unending ease and pleasure. You need to know that it is God who is doing all the giving while the sons of men are doing all the receiving, such that in the end, no one would be able to say ‘Look what Jesus and I have done.’”
“Should I get my jotter? I need to jot these things down.”
“Lastly, don’t go to Galaxy tonight. If you had listened to Oludara, your birds wouldn’t have died. You have this friend who shouldn’t be your friend who visited you at the poultry on the day of the fire. You were not there, so he decided to sit down for a smoke.”
“That one. He sat down beside the dry palm fronds near the building and took his time to enjoy his cigarette. He threw what was left of it on the dry palm fronds. He didn’t know how fatal it would be.”
“I didn’t tell you this because Tobi shouldn’t be smoking. I’m telling you because you blame God for ‘allowing’ your birds to burn when in fact he has warned you twice not to get too close to Tobi.”
I had my hands on my hips, I had to look down. “Oh my. I guess I messed up.”
“You know what your problem is? Like a lot of people, the problem is that you have a rare taste of heaven and you want to lay hold on it, like Peter.”
“The biblical one. He wanted Jesus to camp with him and the other disciples and Moses and Elijah; he wanted to stay on the high. All you can get on this side of eternity is a taste. Music, beauty, happiness, pleasure; you can’t lay hold on them here. You can only have a taste for as long as Oludara permits, or if you will, allows.”
“I’m not laying hold on things I shouldn’t be reaching.”
“Your friendship with Amara is just a taste of heaven.”
That was all the man said; the angel who was a man in blue jeans seemed to evaporate right before my eyes after the words.
See my shoes. I once had a brown shoe like this. Now, this is new, this came in a box. An oval faced boy who looked like a girl – imagine Nancy Isime with a beard – delivered it from Jumia. I wanted to know where it came from. A sender by the name Boitumelo Dineo – that’s a South African name—who lives on a private beach in Victoria Island.
I don’t remember having a friend in VI; big as it is, it’s still like a lot of work for me to love and I’ve been very lazy with the love thing.
Number 5 Onyearugbulem Avenue, Victoria Island.
It took me two days on the road. It should have been Akure to Lagos, but I got stuck in the traffic at Omotoso after Ore. I had to go through over a hundred kilometres of giant trees and tall grasses on Okada, through make-shift bridges and footpaths, before I could reach the alternative expressway to start my journey again, to get to Lagos through Ibadan.
In Lagos – you know how it is, let me not bore you with the cliché – I walked in the sun for about an hour because of the confusing directions I got from the few hurrying pedestrians who managed to listen to my questions to give directors.
Long story short, when I got to the house where the sender of my shoes supposedly lives, when I saw it from a distance because I had been following the numbers from 9, I saw it was already sealed by a group of police officers who had been blessed with good food as their pot belly showed, and decent looking uniform, suits and red vests with a fancy name that was born of a nice-sounding acronym – of a government agency that claims to fight corruption – that you already know.
That guy was an angel indeed. I tell you.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime