Christianity · God · Love

Where Did The Love Go?

Talking down on those who don’t sin the way you do, because you assume their sin is more likely to merit eternal damnation than yours. Gladly ushering in the men with the three-piece suits and black shiny shoes, but making the not-so-fancily-dressed feel embarrassed that they showed up in church in the first place. Grudgingly showing love and affection to our fellow man only if and when we’re aware we’re being watched or put in a position where we’re ‘obligated’ to. Bringing out all your ‘holiness’ and fake emotions from your pocket once you enter the church building, and putting it right back in when you’re sure you’ve left.

Christians. What have we become?

One Sunday evening last year, I happened to be at a church program at a church situated deep inside a market/Muslim community in Kumasi. I was with a choir ministering, and afterwards, I had to wait for it to end because I had to watch over a girl’s valuables. A man sitting a few rows in front of me, I realized was staring in my direction for an uncomfortably long thirty seconds. A couple of minutes later, one of the guys (I guessed was part of the organizers) stood behind him, and what I assumed was one of those playful punches that guys like to give themselves, turned out to be a very loud (and maybe very painful) slap on his neck. The man who was slapped suddenly stood up, startled, and the man who slapped proceeded to send him out of the building, followed by two other men behind him. And all this went on while the program was still ongoing. It all looked very embarrassing, if you ask me.

Maybe, they were right to have sent him out. He could’ve been a notorious troublemaker in that area. He might’ve been a thief. Probably, he was even¬† psycho. But per my own judgement, apart from the uncomfortable stares I was getting from him, this man really hadn’t done anything to deserve being sent out in such a hostile manner, let alone be slapped out of his senses. I wouldn’t blame him if he decided not to want anything to do with church or Christianity as at that point. Because oddly enough, those most likely wouldn’t have been the first ‘Christians’ to have ever treated him that way.

‘#WWJD’, ‘#WWJD’, but do we really take the time to forget about the hashtag and think about WJWD? Went for dinner in the homes of the corrupt. Defended a fornicator. Remained friends with the very man who denied him three times. Prayed to God for the very people who hated him and plotted his death. How have we made him our standard, then, and yet still indirectly look down on the way of life that he lived?

If you ask me, all the world is looking for now is people who can genuinely show the unconditional love of Christ. Not ‘mouth-mouth’ Christians. The same kind of Christ-like love you see people from other/no religions portray that makes you wonder why it is they flourish. It’s all love. You can’t incorporate all those biblical rules in your life without crowning it all with genuine love — for God, and for others. (1 Cor. 13:13)

“I have looked at you

In millions of ways and I

Have loved you in each.”

– unknown

Love · Relationships

“A Bit Too Great” Expectations

This moment felt so real. I just kept wishing it wouldn’t end.¬†

I made sure that my efforts to hide my excitement would not be so obvious, as the guy I had liked from afar for so long, was the same one holding my hand now. He was grinning from ear to ear, and would take a glance at me from time to time. How easy it could’ve been to blurt out every single thing I had ever felt or thought about him. But I had to keep my cool, because that was likely to end up in me embarrassing¬†myself. He was a bit fidgety himself, and would occasionally place his¬†arm over my shoulders or round my waist. We walked and talked for a couple of hours, and at a point in time, we were at a deserted place. We stopped to sit down. I was glad. Partly because I was getting tired from all that walking. Also, I was hoping he’d take advantage of the fact that we were alone to tell me how much he liked me. Of course, why would I refuse him if he did? Everything about him seemed so perfect.

Moments passed and we were still talking. The confession I was waiting for was taking too long, which was gradually making the conversation seem more boring every minute. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected anything at all, because it was beginning to look like I would be disappointed. My rampaging thoughts made me fail to realize that none of us was saying anything anymore. Or that he had even leaned a bit closer to me. I became aware when his hand cupped my face, and I saw how he was just staring at me. My heart could’ve broken out through my chest with the way it was pounding. I really wasn’t ready for this — this, being something that looked like a kiss that was heading my way, from someone I never¬†imagined would bother to have any kind of feelings for me.

I also wasn’t ready for the person who¬†knocked on my door and jolted me out of my idle daydream.¬†

Sigh.¬†“Coming”, I yelled, as I got up to go and answer it. I was probably going to be occupied for the next couple of hours.¬†Well,¬†I said to myself and my imagination,¬†until next time we’re idle.

 

I used to write. Stories. Not just short stories. Novels. Before this very strange and suspicious writers’ block overcame me, I can remember one or two scenes I wrote about similar¬†to — and even better than — what’s above¬†in the books¬†I wrote. Most of what I wrote was¬†inspired by my wild imagination. How I always wished my life would be when I came of age. When I could actually say I belonged to someone, and that person would not be either of my parents. A lot of us do, once in a while. I don’t know about you, but, just like I would begin to imagine my life being in a perfect story with a perfect setting and a very perfect man, everyone else might have a certain yardstick that they’d want to measure their potential partner with.

Typically, girls, for example, crave for men with a relatively tall, Herculean structure. Most wish for wealth. Some wish for brains. Others wish for their dream man to be good in other specific (and classified) aspects of their lives. Then a few people I know just like to combine everything together. These things, which some people call ‘specs’, can leave individuals feeling totally dissatisfied with whoever comes their way, cause, apparently, they’re not ‘who they’re looking for’. On the other hand, it can go ahead to blind other people from seeing reason, because if they find ‘exactly what they’re looking for’, they wouldn’t want to lose them, so they’d have to do anything and everything to try to keep them.

I hate to be the one to say — I don’t even enjoy saying it to myself — but then sticking to all these standards you set instead of keeping an open mind for anyone that might come your way, is likely to end up with you missing out on the person you really need, or even deprive you of a whole lot of other beneficial and healthy relationships.

 

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As far as my knowledge serves me, there’s one of two things you would be able to feel towards a person you like at a particular time; infatuation, and actual love. The former always occurs first and leads to the development of the latter, which is completely natural and bound to happen. But a lot of what we see around is just a confusion of the former for the latter. And this usually happens because we allow the illusions that come with being infatuated to cloud our ability to reason and think rationally. We can decide to put the blame on all them ‘specs’ cause, yes, they do play a major role in the infatuation process, especially the physical ones.

Most of the content we find in books and on television also play a major role in giving a very wrong and unrealistic idea of how ‘true love’ really comes about. There’ll usually be a man/boy and woman/girl, both with very desirable characteristics, they meet each other and realize they’re both what the other was looking for, and after a few days or weeks of getting to know each other, a little bit of emotional chaos, and in most cases, sexual intimacy, they hit it off and conclude they’re both ‘in love with each other’. Funny thing is, we never really do get to see what happens when they stay with each other for a longer period, and get to know themselves a whole lot more. As far as I’m concerned, everyone has their very own imperfections. What happens when they both find out what the other’s imperfections or flaws are? What if they’re unbearable? Does the ‘love’ thrive? Do they learn to adjust? Bottom line is, everything is made to look so straightforward and easily doable, and everyone else begins to measure up their potential or already-existing love life to those standards.

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So say you’re lucky enough to finally spot a person of your taste. Y’all vibe and everything. Obviously you begin to imagine the possibilities of the both of you ending up together. You bring out every hint in your arsenal to try to make them realize the feelings you have towards them, that is if you don’t go straight to the point and tell them. But then they don’t happen to feel the same way. Hurts, doesn’t it? But you’re able to move on — rejection doesn’t get to a person like you that easily. Or maybe it does. Maybe you feel you just didn’t try hard enough, or there was this great quality about you that the other person didn’t notice well enough. So you keep up with the persistence. Bring out all the reasons in the books as to why he or she¬†has¬†to accept you. Keep on coaxing them. Maintain the friendship on good terms, with the secret hope that they’d come around eventually.

Unrequited love is something everyone should prepare to expect at least once in their lives. I heard once somewhere that the more someone rejects you, the more attractive it makes them look to you, and that’s probably why we’re mostly ignoring those chasing after us and running after the ones who treat us like trash (trash sounds like such a strong word though…treating us like we’re invisible?) The worst part of all this is when we begin to compromise our personalities and sacrifice our happiness and comfort the moment we realize it’s what attracts them to us. Sure, you’re making the one you ‘love’ happy. But are¬†you happy?¬†And are you always going to remain happy?¬†

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‘Hypothetically’ speaking, I have a friend. Couple of years ago, there was this guy she was interested in. Initially the both of them seemed to be hitting it off, and it looked like they were getting somewhere. Then all of a sudden, it didn’t. Not to be a pessimist, but I wasn’t very surprised, because this wasn’t the first time it had happened this way. It was almost like a personal survey I was conducting, and at that point, I had drawn my own conclusions.

My friend expected way too much.

Upon asking her, there were a lot of things she’d tell me. Most of which begun with, “I wanted him to”, “I thought he would” or “He was supposed to”. She’d also rant about the unnoticed efforts she made to make sure everything moved smoothly for the both of them. And believe it or not, it wasn’t everything she did for him that she was comfortable with.

Disclaimer: I’m no expert in relationships. But I know for a fact that even though it is absolutely necessary for each member of a relationship to be able to make a number of sacrifices or compromises, no relationship is worth keeping you unhappy or dissatisfied while doing so. If you aren’t appreciated for who you are or what you do even on a friendship basis, then what guarantees a happy relationship that also comes with freedom of being yourself?

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In yet another ‘hypothetical’ scenario, I have another friend. She had a close friend whom she’d been infatuated with for a long enough time. Soon enough, he started to come around, and to her surprise, it looked like he felt the same way too. Everything he ever did seemed so great, and he was perfect. He was with her on most days, and came over to spent time with her on most nights. This went on for a couple of months, until word begun to spread that he had a girlfriend — which wasn’t her. She chose not to believe, since he hadn’t told her himself. Apparently he never planned to, because the so-called rumors were true. It was then that she knew she had to keep her distance, but she never had a good enough confrontation with him, since she was still mad about him not coming clean with her. Her resentment affected the way she related to him now. Seeing him made her feel annoyed. He noticed, and it affected how he related with her as well. Eventually, he did tell her, they made up, but things never really went back to normal — after some experiences, you can never really expect them to.

It was hilarious hearing someone on radio warn listeners to be careful about the kind of people they get attracted to on social media, because you don’t get the opportunity to notice things like bad breath and body odour. It made a good point, though. You never really get to notice what’s wrong with a person till you get close enough. You might be the one to get swayed with dazzling smiles, panty-dropping eyes, charming words, or even the way they dress or the amount of money in their bank account. You never really notice too much…

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…until someone gets tired of hiding all those¬†other qualities you don’t seem to like. Then you’re both in for a ride.

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There are bound to be a lot of trial-and-errors in the dating process. It’s not abnormal to have relationships turn sour. It’s not strange to even end up with the wrong people a couple of times. It is, however, unwise, to notice a pattern, turn a blind eye and pretend not to have caught on. If you were lucky enough to have landed into perfection on your first try, then that’s great. If you were fortunate enough to have made a few wrong decisions at the start, but then are now failing to figure out what exactly could’ve gone wrong at first, you’re probably setting yourself up for something likely to be another failure if you’re not lucky.

Love. It’s a word that’s overused, and also misunderstood. Last thing I’ll say is, learn to know when it is, and when it isn’t. It’s a dicey business to deal with, but it really¬†doesn’t have to be as complicated as everyone makes it. Rushing into it doesn’t give anyone enough time to see the warning flags. And if you’ve ever watched Disney’s Frozen, then just like Anna, eventually you get to realize you got played.

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I thought he was the one that was going to save me

but in the end

I was forced to pull myself out of the wreckage that he left behind.

-k.o