Posted by News Express | 20 January 2019 | 2,314 times
“Though I walk through the valley and shadow of death, I fear no evil....”
She opened her eyes as she heard Njikor clear his throat. “Another one?” he asked.
Ola simply stood up and walked away. It was time for the morning devotion; and certainly not one of those mornings for Njikor’s carnal lectures on rationality.
As her father finished the usual admonitions, and it was time for prayers, she knew it was time to pray for the sins of their enemies, especially when her mother had decided to say the concluding prayer. She might as well be in the best comfortable position possible, as she wasn’t so sure if her knees could survive another long hour of kneeling and concurring “Amen!” No wonder her knees were darker, she thought. And she better pays close attention to her mother's renditions in other not to miss one point of an Amen, because that would lead to a sacramental journey to the road of deliverance.
Sometimes she envied her brother Njikor, who was more of a liberal mind when it comes to religion but, of course, maintains that he has a personal relationship with God! Whatever that means to him! Their mother has even given up on insisting he comes down to the living room for morning devotions. Religion to Njikor was all the same thing: God and virtues. God, the Being, greater than I am whom I don’t know!
Maybe he is right! Maybe it’s not as complicated as she thinks it is. Or, maybe, Njikor wasn't as religious as he should be! Just maybe! But then who knows the truth. The ideal truth: She dares not question the origin of these things, but must continue to believe, as she has come to accept their strong influence on her life.
Life is very spiritual and, yes, “whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” Existence must be a sub-existence of the spirit world. We are just reliving that which has already been decided in the ideal world. Only with revelations from our dreams can we know what our chi would have us do or avoid!
The war with Chi. He does know how to coax and even bend us to his biddings, if I must say. He’s firm and gentle. Gini bu Chi? she thought. Chi-bu-ike: Ikem! The power behind the choice I make.
Aha! As she heard her mother begin to trash on all the nightmares, she shut her eyes even tighter, as though that would make their bindings stronger and stop the manifestations of these nightmares. Oh the nightmares! God, please, take them away, she muttered. Maybe, this was her own way of communicating with her Chi or maybe she was simply delusional, as Njikor would constantly remind her and, even maybe, her mental health was questionable.
But then to her mum: their enemies were at it again; and they must resist the devil and his forms of afflictions till he flees away from them, with all their sicknesses. Come to think of it. Maybe, they should listen to the priest and visit the hospital to run some test regarding their father's illness. After all, you can’t be holier than the pope! But then, that would place a dent on their family history and testimony of never ever having to visit the hospital, except for child delivery. This was one of her mother’s prides in the Lord’s goodness.
Ikejiani was the one she constantly saw in her dreams, trying to inflict her family and tie down their destiny to ill-luck. Her Chi had shown her this repeatedly for her to pray and stop him. It was in one of such dreams that it was revealed to her that her fiancé, Emeka, was not the one; and even when she disobeyed and waved them away as stress and anxiety and thought it will be good to live a natural rational life a little, as her brother would always suggests; the scars are yet to fade. Ever since, she has decided to be more obedient to the spiritual beckoning of her Chi. She had since learnt to pay attention to her dreams, maybe a little too much, as Njikor her brother now calls her “Joseph the queen of nightmares”, he would tease her but firmly warns her to restrict her haunting Third Eye from seeing him in one of her dreams.
Nobody knows what she was going through each night. It was a frequent journey of sight-seeing. The last prayer warrior her mum invited suggested prayer and dry-fasting, accompanied with serious deliverance, as she was believed to be possessed of the devil.
This could be her gift. It could also be her curse. Maybe, she was a witch but the white one, as she believes her heart was too pure to hurt any other. Regardless of the voices in her head, this is the reason she finds solemnity in herself. She has to keep battling with this Third Eye: the powers resting on her thoughts.
It’s fate; it’s predestination; it’s a strong bond with her Chi. But, then, it could be a worthy call for a trip to the psychiatric ward! Mental health is a serious business. She has managed to escape hers with an excuse of a Chi: A force and a power she must obey.
Nobody knows the truth. The truth is within us, but most times it is afraid of criticism: The haunting eyes of scrutiny; the unbelief in the eyes of her observers. The truth stays deep within us; we know there are forces in charge of our affairs. But, where do we draw the line for rationality to step in. We must find a way to incorporate both into our reality. We do not know what they are: so we call them fate.
Hm! Monday was finally here; and she was to accompany her father to the doctor, for an appointment to collect the results to the series of tests that were conducted. Dr Afolabi had been so nice to ease off the fear he saw in their eyes. He took out time to explain her father’s condition, which was basically as a result of bad diet and overall poor health decision. He even went as far as to tease them that “no enemies were firing darts at them;” and that medical check-ups were neither a trip to hell nor inviting sicknesses.
Once they were home, Njikor accosted them about the result of lab test. As he read through it without uttering a word, Ola explained what the doctor had said even as their mum had come to join them in the living room. Handing the result back to Ola; Njikor, looking straight into her eyes, told her: “Now you know the devil is not all that powerful.” He left!
Her mum was dumbfounded, and Ola could tell that her parents were both ashamed of their foolhardiness in believing the theory about stepping on a poison, and their enemies evoking sicknesses at them.
Even the book of wisdom, Proverbs, was very explicit about it: “In all your getting, get wisdom….” I can’t tell you how many times I read those words of wisdom by the wise man, Solomon. Though I still wish I had read it earlier and understood it clearer. Wish someone was gracious enough to explain it the way it is to me every day, without their own sentiment.
I'm constantly bleeding, but it is not blood. It is the vital force exuding constantly from me: The powers that have battled me and the ones sitting heavily on me. The isolation, the constant withdrawal from people: so compelling that it drains my energy most times. My grandmother believes it’s the influence of my Chi. My parents call it “the power of the most high”, but my brother insists it must be psychological imbalance. Mental health should be dealt with in all seriousness. Olachi’s dreams were really getting the best of her. She depends on them for every decision she had to make concerning her career, health and, especially, her love life.
After much thought about the whole misconceptions, she thought to herself: “I will raise my hands in surrender and let my God win.”
“Maybe this is to teach you to believe more in the power of your Chi to guide you and remind you that no one is powerful enough to inflict you,” Njikor said; “or better still, for you to be more rational in your wild conclusions.”
Thinking hard about her existence, she knew it was time to find balance between her lucid dreams and hallucinations. Smiling with gratitude for her family; family circles that groom my emotions, my breath; emotions and feelings. My days! The constant quest for something bigger! Every day, my step further to God; my demise; my freedom; my final rest!
•Esther Chizaram Ngele, a Law Student, writes from Enugu and can be reached via email@example.com
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