Give and Take

I sat all by myself, oblivious of the happy chatter going on around me. I was feeling particularly melancholic because I had a bad day and I was bored stiff. I looked with weary eyes at those gathered around – my family and loved ones. That time of the day was usually a happy one because everyone was around a loved one and there was always a nice time of sharing and caring. Not for me though (at least not on this particular day)! All I did was endure everyone’s presence and I wore an awful long face. My folks were concerned, one or two made a concerned comment and gave me a concerned look, but I didn’t care. I was not even smiling (not to talk of laughing), which actually bothered my big brother because he always enjoyed my laughter anytime we were doing the ‘teasing game.’ I was also not in the mood to play with my favourite nephew, and though he could not yet construct meaningful sentences, he must have wondered what hit me. I simply did not have time for anybody. I ignored everyone that tried to reach out to me, however subtly the person tried. I did not want anyone reaching out to me, neither did I want to reach out to anybody. It was that serious!

Friends, I was not one to brood but on this day, I thought I had every reason to. I had woken up as usual in the morning to observe my quiet time before getting ready for work. It was a Monday morning and during church service the previous day, the preacher had lifted my spirit with his message of hope. I was sure God’s Spirit directed him to speak to me and I knew that as soon as I prayed, everything would be okay. So with that radiance and zeal, I spoke vehemently to my Lord about “the issues” that Monday morning. After my quiet time, I was hopeful and certain that Monday would be one of my best days. In fact, I was already rehearsing how I would share the testimony the next Sunday service. Alas! I felt disappointed when at the end of working hours, none (not even a single one) of what I had so zealously prayed for came to pass. To top it all, my boss was irritable throughout the day (didn’t know what bit him) and became a little too lousy for me. This worsened the situation because that, coupled with my heavy spirit – which was getting dampened as every hour of seemingly unanswered prayer passed – was just too much for me to bear. I felt as if I got slapped in the face/had slammed a door in my face. So you see, I had every reason to be moody (didn’t I?), and since I didn’t want to discuss it with anybody (not even God), I better be left alone!

Back in our living room, the happy murmurs (that was what it all sounded like to me) continued. There were cheers and boos and all sort of happy noises as everybody got busy with teasing, playing, joking, loving, and sharing. I became irritated and stood abruptly to leave. At that instance, my nephew began to cry. Normally, I would have stopped and stooped to pick him up but no, not  this day! Ignoring everyone else, I stomped to my bedroom. I really wanted some quiet. Before long, the voices from the living room got to me. “Oh my God, why are these people trying to get contagious with their happy mood? I just want some quiet.” I stomped out of my bedroom and hurriedly left the living room to get some fresh air outside. Everyone gave me a baffled look but I ignored them completely. My nephew reached for me but I stepped aside. He started whimpering. “I’m sorry,” I said inwardly, “but I don’t really have time for you today.” As I reached for the door to step outside, he started crying. I left anyway because right then, I just couldn’t care…

Hands make heart shape

I moved a bit far from the house so that I would really be alone. I thought I was going to enjoy peace but no, it wasn’t to be. All around was quiet and peaceful but inwardly, there was tumult. Annoyed with myself and everybody, plus everything, I walked back home thinking to myself, “If can’t find peace out here alone, I at least have a bed at home.” I was going to sleep, period! As I stepped into the living room, I again received this concerned attention that was beginning to get me very irritated. “Can’t these people just understand that I don’t want anything to do with them for now? I don’t want any of their help and I certainly don’t have anything to offer them – not even my presence.” I felt like screaming at them as they were all searching my face for the faintest clue of what was actually eating me up. Once again, I turned my back on them and hurried for my bedroom. My nephew, who by now could not fathom why I simply would not attend to him, began another episode of wails. I continued walking towards my bedroom but the wails wouldn’t stop. I put my hand on the doorknob but the wails cut me short. Something snapped. My heart melted and I turned back to the living room. As I entered, my nephew looked at me expectantly (I’m sure everyone else did the same) and just like old times, I gave him a wide smile – one of my best. He smiled in return and stopped crying but wasn’t quite sure so I stepped forward, bent, and opened my arms to him. He didn’t need much of an invitation as he eagerly and enthusiastically came into my arms. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief and before long, I found myself caught up in the playfulness and enjoying the pranks that were only meant for an active one year old toddler. We were simply in a world of our own and enjoying each other. Soon enough, everyone caught the bug of playfulness and happiness and the atmosphere became full of merriment. In the midst of it all, I forgot all my predicaments of the day and came back to being my cheerful self. Everyone was happy and we were once again a big happy family.

Reflecting on the events of that day taught me a thing or two, which I would like to share with you. In my own dejected state, I forgot all about the people around me. These were the same people who had always been there for me and I selfishly ignored them. I didn’t care about their feelings nor give a hoot about what was happening to them. This is what many of us do. We become so engrossed in our troubles and predicaments and fail to see others around us. We wear long faces and droop as if we’ve been forced to bear the burden the world. We shut out everyone and fail to accept the love of others that can heal our aches – we actually think it’s not fair that they are so happy and we are not; maybe we even get jealous a little. More importantly, we fail to reach out and give love to others who are aching and desperately in need – we reason that we also have our own problems and don’t have to bear others’ burdens. We instantly become useless to ourselves, others, and God. Listen to this, “Withdrawing into your shell to brood won’t solve your problem (or did you think it would?)” Notice that the heaviness in my spirit did not lift until I allowed myself to bask in the love and attention that I gave and received.

On another note, I felt disappointed that I did not get what I wanted and so I decided to hold a grudge against God for what I felt He should have done but didn’t do. Since I could not see Him to lash at Him directly, I did that through my actions towards the people around me. It must have been a very sorry scene, which, unfortunately did not bring any consolation, only further hurt and pain. Many of us grudge against God and so allow this to affect our relationship with others. Love flows from God and when we block this flow via our inability to give thanks in all situations but rather begrudge God, there is no way love can flow from us to others. God knows the things we need and He has promised to let us have them, and He does not lie, so why fret? All we need is a little patience, more hope and lots of praise. There it is! We become as happy as we should be, having the full capacity to give and receive love.8899752

Today, show some love to someone who needs it…and make sure you help yourself to some as well.

© 2013 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!

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