Staying Strong in Christ

Bursting heavily into the room; she flinged her bag lest bothered where it would land but ironically stopped for a while when she realised that she had valuable stuffs in it,  some of which include her Samsung galaxy note 3; one which her brother bought after much scolding. She  was least  concerned about the phone but she remembered her brother’s scolding as of the last time she spoilt a newly bought phone because of her carelessness. With much concern,  she checked her bag and luckily for her it landed on the rare side of the bed. The tab was Okay.

 ‘ Oh God’  she muttered and sat down heavily on the floor fractioning her 8 inch bed laying on the floor .  Tears streamed slowly down her eyes as she rested her head on the bed making it wet  in the process. She tried to keep her sobs down as much as possible refusing to be oblivious of the fact that she had some set of neighbors whose attention was the last to be drawn in such a situation. She lived in a face- me- I-slap- you apartment occupied mostly by students of the Kwara state polytechnic of which she was also a student.

They had said a whole lot about her already and she wasn’t ready to give them more news to feast on. Sometimes she wondered if she was the only topic her neighbors could  discuss about.  She waved it off and continued crying. The gravity of her pain is greater than her being concerned of what her neighbours will say.
” God” she uttered again silently. That was the only word left for her to say at a time like this. It was all anyways.

She took reminiscence of the last couple of days into weeks into months and realised there was something big missing in her life but the blindness of what it was made her totally lost . She just couldn’t describe it.
She was always shunned, abused, ridiculed, in the company of her colleagues, none of her opinions counted as she was always kept in the dark during discussions. She tried to mingle but she finds herself single
” How do normal people behave?” She often found herself asking. How can she feel among those who don’t want her around?  Just what and how should she behave? Once again she had been ridiculed, once  she had behaved stupidly in her quest to fit in, also once again she was reminded how weak and lazy she really was, how she couldn’t think well enough to resolve situations and how she  was shushed just because she couldn’t give relevant comments. She had learnt to keep quiet among peers.  It felt better that way,  she told herself

 A faint knock interrupted her thoughts. She wanted to ignore but the knock was consistent. She was almost sure the visitor was for her neighbors. Not until she heard a baritone voice call her,  she abruptly stopped for a moment.
” Becky ” the voice came again.
She sat up with the intention of opening the door
” Becky ” the voice came again
” Um… Yes” she responded trying to make her voice sound as normal as possible
” Give me a minute” she said quietly as she moved to the rear side of the room to splash some water on her face.  A way to hide her tears. No one should see her crying. She grabbed her hand towel and wiped off her face. She hurrily adjusted her clothes as she walked towards the door  bracing herself as much as possible. She held the door knob and heaved silently. Not until she turned the knob did she realise it was bolted on the top. She unlocked it and opened the door  with her other hand still supporting the towel on her face in a bid to appear okay.

She opened the door and met a 6ft 2″ tall well built guy standing in front of her
” Hi “she let out a dry smile revealing the gap in between her two front teeth. That smile which she had been complemented so many times as beautiful, has acted so well as a veil to cover up those bad hard feelings. She sometimes wished it takes away her pain.
” Hello ” he responded reciprocating the smile. His smile was genuine unlike hers.
” I’ve been knocking for so long” he sang in Celine Dion’s voice with his sweet sonorous tone which set her geniuely smiling as she watched him
” What’s up” he said looking more seriously for he could see the pain in her eyes.
” I was sure someone was in here so I didn’t give up knocking he said gesturing in a funny way. He had this sense of humor that could bring you out of a very sore mood no matter how serious it was and she often marvelled at that. He particularly had a way of reaching a part of her she couldn’t explain.
” I’m sorry I was…… erm busy”
” Oh sorry, I disturbed you…… “
He stopped staring expectantly at her probably waiting for her to complete the statement.
” Your trip to wonderland I guess” he added when it was clear no answer were forthcoming from her
” No its okay. You didn’t and I wasn’t sleeping “
” And that’s why it took you ages to answer me ” he said feigning anger in a funny way. ” anyways  I came for….. ” he said almost immediately more brightly
” I know what you came for ” stopping him from completing the statement
” Oh, that’s good so can I have it now? ” he said putting up a funny face as he set out his palm which made her giggle again
” Sure I’ll just go and get it” she said turning around
“And hey, don’t forget the one I also asked for”  he said stopping her halfway
“Ehn… I have heard you” she said nodding in affirmation and giggling as she walked towards the table and picked up two books handing it over to him
” Thank you ma’am, Sorry miss he corrected himself when he saw the frown on her face; though he intentionally said it at first. Clutching the books in his hands, he slightly bowed like British performers would do upon completion of a stage act.
” Thank you too neighbour” she replied already laughing. She hadn’t stopped calling him that name even long after she knew his real name. She just loved addressing him as such.
She remembered how they met,  she suddenly found out on a bright day that they were in the same department. And so they became close innocent friends neighbors and colleagues.
” Okay then” he said stepping back. ” thanks once again for this,he said raising one of the books in his hands.
 ” You look and sound somehow today miss Bee ” as he fondly calls her
” How so you mean” she replied him looking over her shoulders feigning ignorance
” I don’t know because I may be wrong but your face seems swollen somehow”. He stopped and continued
” Are you okay, have you been crying?” He asked sounding concerned
” Yes and no, I mean no and yes, I don’t know”  knowing fully well she had been caught. She stopped and and turned around meeting his confused and concerned set of eyes.
” I’m fine” she said almost choking at the word fine.
” Okay if you say so” he said shrugging his shoulders.
” But remember…………….he continued
” One thing you should know is that it is always hard for the it to be the best and one more thing, he said raising one finger up
” What a friend we have in Jesus…. He sang sonorously and stopped.
” You know the rest abi?” He said and she  just nodded in response.
” Yeah good ” he said smiling as he turned towards the direction of his apartment unconvinced that she was fine as she had claimed. Truthfully, he didn’t know where those words came from though he knew something was definitely wrong with her. He had stopped himself from insisting she opened up because he figured that he’ll be intruding her privacy if he asked further questions and even if she was going to open up, it wasn’t in that condition that she was.
He was almost too sure that she had been crying as he heard sobs coming from her room when he went to pick something that fell off his bedroom window and had to pass through hers, something that wasn’t supposed to fall off anyways. That was the primary reason of going to her anyways, out of concern not that he so much needed the book he went for. That was just a veil in sheer concern.

She rushed immediately to the door and bolted it as soon as he left and curdled herself on her bed calmly. She loved the serenity at that time and the silence broken only by the ticking clock and the hymn that dropped in her heart as it sang  ” I have found a friend in Jesus “
She reached for her phone and after a couple of seconds Whitney Houston’s “I look to you” came faintly. She reach for a pen in her bag and a jotter on the table which is always full of books mostly littered from reading as it was the case or neatly arranged as she neither failed to or felt tired of doing.

She held the pen in her hands, flipping it against her finger and then stopped to place it on the paper…..  She wrote down

The war going on in my heart and a raging storm
Times are rolling and is seems it’ll never stop at least not soon cos it’s there even when the sun and the moon is up
The wounds sustained. The  damage cause me heavily bleed
The hurt, the pain steadily I feel
For the mistakes I would have made abs the hearts I would have broken
The wrongly spoken words and the ones left unspoken
The wrong actions you would have taken and the ones I never took
I  fought to stop the storm and war to loose and woefully too
Now I’m captured
Caged in fear with bars of guilt and shame , illuminated by darkness
Bottled up somewhere and now with those hard feelings as my only companion and cell mate I go nowhere
Bullied night and day and inflicted pains bring silent slow death
Stay still bound in chains of despair waiting for my final breath of my declared death sentence
I’m Being now forced to smile or my torture would rise
Hopes dashed no help in sight here waiting, can’t get to the light
My soul breath despair
And the damages impossible to repair
And when I breathe my last my tomb is prepared though a dump site it is
A coffin of guilt abs shame to be lowered in a hollow heavy though empty.
And as I prayed…
Grant me the courage to grope until I find the mirror on the  wall in the inner room of darkness and look at myself honestly
Send an Angel to illuminate my heart so I can clearly see
May I have the courage to stare at my own eyes
And may I live forever in you a happy life….
I saw that light as but shine so bright
It broke the chains and let me loose, set me free and gave me liberty healed my wounds sustained and gave me a thousand fold all I had lost and now I can forever in him live a happy life life!

She heaved a sigh and had this peace she couldn’t explain
She lowered herself to the floor and cried to God in prayers acknowledging as wrong as she was, God was all she had. She reached for her Bible and 2 Corinthians 12:19a showed itself
” My grace is sufficient for you and my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
She could almost hear or maybe she did, God’s voice saying
” though no one does, I Love You”
Her soul had been comforted. So satisfied that she saw no more need in physical food. Holding that part of the Bible to her chest, she drifted to sleep
As she picked up her bag to step out the next morning, she felt refreshed, renewed beaming smiles at everyone she saw, to the amazement of all. Gloriously and cheerfully  she walked past the isle headed for lectures. God’s strength was so much in her, she felt it! To stay strong no matter what  happens. Laugh it all and smile all through…… For she felt she could stay  strong in Christ…  God was more than enough for her.

Written by : Precious Nkechi

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