GOD AND THE SPIDER

He was consumed by fear as his legs carried him into a deserted cave.

He could hear their footsteps, no he could feel every step.They were so close,  and all he prayed for was a miracle.

With his mouth and body trembling with fear, the Christian soldier cried silently to God through prayer. He didn’t want to die.

In his heart, he desired for a mountain lion to guard the front of the cave. To chase them away so he can escape from this foreign land to his country.

Three minutes of expectancy was like three decades. There was no sign of even a lion cub or a sickly lion, all he saw was a spider skilfully weaving it web.

The spider couldn’t be ignored as it was weaving around the front of the cave.
He could bet his racing heart like the sound of a galloping horse led the soldiers around the cave.

As he moved further to the dark of the cave, he questioned God. He was so disappointed in God. He was so mad at God.

‘Wait…’, he heard one say, ‘that’s way too many spider webs’.

‘The entrance shows no one has been here’, said another.

‘Let’s just turn back’, they all agreed.

With a heavy heart and uncontrolled tears, he was so sorry for demanding how he wanted his prayer to be answered.

Several times, we have questioned God and we still do. Is it right to do so in our times of desperation?

Tony Amofa (a friend) advised “all we have to do as Christians is to pray, *how* God wants to answer is not our business”.

Kwabena Nkansah Asante (another friend) encourages us to desire God’s will above anything as we pray and wait.

God used a spider to save that day. He works and saves in numerous ways. Trust Him.

Cc: Christ YPG Bible Studies  (CYBS)
Chichi’s storytellyng.

[Mary Mary] PART ELEVEN

Part Eleven – The stored up pain (1)

Fred’s POV

“You mean you knew nothing about what Mary did to me?” Marvin asked suspiciously.

“No, I knew nothing about it.” Somehow, I was neither surprised nor disappointed. Her family had built the nest for evil. Mary may have been the one who caused her sister’s marriage to fail and her brother to live in China for eight years but she wasn’t at fault.

I met Mary when we were ten but as young as we were, I felt the desolation she exuded; it was evident in her walk and even seeped through her clothes. She was almost lifeless, she wasn’t timid; she just didn’t care about anything not even the teases that she got from the whole school and in the estate. People like that were dangerous. She was without emotions.

She took her books seriously when she wanted to. Laughed when she felt like. Chose the war to fight. And lost 100 pounds in six months training fourteen times a week when we were sixteen.

I have never had an idea on what goes on in her mind. She has always been so unpredictable. Now, I like the new her; there’s a laser-like joy in her eyes that was not there.

“Are you coming or not?” I heard Marvin ask.

I stood up and followed him. Growing up in the Howins Estate, Kevin Howin and Marvin Kings gave the orders. They were our heroes and commanders. When Kevin, the trouble became ill, Marvin made sure to cover up for his rebellious partner. Then Marvin also traveled giving us the freedom we have longed for years. Those two had all the boys and girls on their fingertips. However, we enjoyed serving them.

Though those days were over, I like to follow Marvin around because he no longer talks to Kevin. “Oh how I dislike Kevin Howin”. I murmured to myself. I can never forget the pain I had to go through when he forced me to swallow a coin.

I was so caught up in my drama with Kevin when we were boys that I didn’t realize we were at the Kings’ mansion until I heard Mrs Kings asked how I was doing in her lovely voice. Mr. Kings and Rose ignored me.

As we passed by Mary’s room to Marvin’s, I heard Kevin’s voice. Between the two of us, I didn’t know who Mary’s best friend was. Though I clearly owned the title, Kevin was everything to her, he was her confider. I hurried into Marvin’s room, sat on the bed and started to play. It was the reason he invited me there, to play video games with him.

However, I couldn’t focus on the game, my mind kept wondering what they were talking about or doing together. Without knocking, I entered. But to my surprise there was a stranger with them. They both asked, almost at the same time, “Couldn’t you knock?”

The woman sat comfortably, she seemed to be enjoying the scene. They were about to say something when Mr. Kings pushed the door open, a mobile phone in hand. “We all have to talk,” he said coldly his eyes dashing to the woman on Mary’s sofa.

[Mary Mary] PART NINE

Part Nine- The explicable tension (2)

Mrs Kings POV

Judy was scared to come inside. She was afraid of what she might find; her only child lying lifeless on Mary’s bed. Sitting in the wicker chair in the patio, she gazed reflectively at the pool of water. I knew what it was like to be scared like that.

Judy and her husband were completely mystified when Kevin was dignosed with lymphoma cancer at age twelve. Though, the cancer cells were few and detected early, the treatment plan did not change at all. The Howin’s could never bare the pain their son had to go through to battle his cancer.

After the lengthy years of pain to kill the cancer in the lymph nodes, Kevin had to deal with lymphedema, a life long problem after removing the lymph nodes. I really admire that kid. He had been so strong. Stronger than his parents could ever be. I have never seen a human so full of life and so positive.

“He’s awake”. I heard a shout from inside.

Judy hugged me tightly. Her apparent relief that her son was okay made me smile. “Let’s go inside”. I said getting up. But she shook her head and sat still. I left her there.

“What happened?” Kevin said, trying to get up.

The doctor and Rev. Howin held him down gently. “Just lie down. You are fine”.

We all starred deeply into the doctor’s face, waiting impatiently for him to tell us what was wrong with him.

“He is absolutely fine. He just needs to eat properly,” the doctor announced.

We sighed with relief as we surrounded him, all of us sitting by him including angry Rose. Looking at her, she was worried as we all were. Mary was glued to him holding his hand tightly.

“The drama is enough, I am fine. I just didn’t get the time to eat in the morning at home. And while I had been here, I forgot to eat with all the tension around”. This time around he got up leaving us on the bed. He walked steadily towards the kitchen. I followed him to make him something to eat.

When we returned from the kitchen, Judy stood by the door with an imitation of my husband beside her, it was Marvin.

Mary’s POV

My God, Kevin scared me to death. What in the world was he thinking when he didn’t eat.

Everyone has been so worried about Kevin since he was twelve except himself. From a young age, he started living a life of pain and travel. He’s gone through partial remission for years. Fortunately, he’s now in complete remission yet he had to battle lymphedema.

While Mrs Howin waited outside, Mr. Howin joined us inside. And when the doctor gave us the good news, a smile broke new ground on Mr Howin’s face. It was a smile I’ve seen in a while.

I found myself shouting, “He’s awake.” Well, all heads turned in my direction. I guessed I sounded really stupid.

The Howins were not the same Howins I knew when we moved to this estate. Once Kevin’s sickness broke in their home, everything changed; Mr and Mrs Howin decided to be distant. Very distant to their son.

No matter how weird it sounded, I think it was logical. They just couldn’t see their child go through so much pain. They would rather avoid him than see him suffer.

After Kevin and my mum vanished to the kitchen, we heard a soft knock on the door. Whoever it was didn’t wait for a response. It was Judy and right beside her was Marvin.

[Mary Mary] PART EIGHT

Part Eight – The explicable tension (1)

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Rose’s POV

My parents couldn’t believe the revelation that Mary had broken up a family simply to test her well-proven powers of revenge. Not wanting to believe it, they focused on Mary, color drained from her beautiful face. Looking at her closely, I realised how different she looked. She stood firmly beside Kevin; the ever handsome Kevin.

“Can you explain why Rose is accusing you of being involved with Nick?” Mum asked Mary still not convinced about what I told them about Mary and Nick.

“Yes, I was involved with Nick. I am so sorry Rose.” she turned to my direction with a little remorse in her eyes. She was about to continue when her phone beeped.

“I’m meeting someone, I have to go. We will continue this conversation later” she said.

I got so angry. So angry that my heart was aching. Seriously? Was she going to leave in the middle of a conversation that was so important to me?

“Dad, can I use your car?” she asked the handsome middle-aged man who sat in the sofa staring at her with a mixture of shock and confusion. “Yes you can.” he answered not taking his eyes off her.

She was about to grab dad’s keys on the table when I grasped them, and seized her left arm. “And who might the person be?” I said mockingly. “We all know Fred is your only friend.” My eyes dashed to Kevin, “and I’m sure you are sleeping with this one.”

I felt Mary’s light topaz-colored eyes on me. They were the same as they had been anytime I did her wrong. Calm, unafraid, and without worry. For some reason, they disturbed me more than if she’d slapped me or said something. I felt the bounding pulse in her wrist; her heart was beating really fast. And somehow I felt she will do the worst to me. I let go of her wrist.

She headed out. My mum and dad sat still like they were in a jury box. Kevin was about to head out as well when he fell down. He had collapsed.

Kevin’s POV

I stood still when the Kings focused on Mary with questioning eyes as Rose spilled out what Mary had done. I stared at Mary quite surprised when I heard she had been involved with Nick. I understood her because getting to Nick was the only way to Rose. Rose was deeply in love with him.

Standing beside her, I looked like her accomplice and yet I didn’t know anything about this one. And as usual Mr and Mrs Kings sat still while Rose talked to her elder sister like she was nothing. She was so disrespectful to Mary. Anyway, I had to go home. I had heard enough for a day and I was feeling so dizzy. I was about to carry my body out when I fell down.

Mary’s POV

My heart was broken when my mum asked if I really dated the only man I knew Rose loved very much. My dad didn’t say a word though I confessed I had dated Nick. Perhaps he will believe it when I give the details. But I had to go. Fred had sent me a message that read, “I need you Mary.” Fred never needed anyone, it looked like it was serious. I had to hurry to him though I knew hearts at home were racing with the new revelation.

I had to ignore Rose when she took the small clutch of keys from the table and held my arm violently. Yes, I felt the urge to hit her when her sharp words ripped through my heart. Every word in the sentences, “We all know Fred is your only friend. And I’m sure you are sleeping with this one (Kevin)” got me so angry but I knew how to scare her. She was such a scaredy cat, even me being calm was certainly enough to scare her. She had let go of my arm.

I was about to step out when I heard a thud. Kevin was on the floor.

[Mary Mary] PART SEVEN

Part Seven – The Comeback (2)

Kevin’s POV

There was so much talk about the supposed teacher after she left. I was squeezing Mary’s hand the whole time ‘Mrs Good’ was here. I had to calm her down.

After a warm conversation between I and the older Kings, I pulled Mary gently towards her room. “Are you still buying stuffs from her?” I asked angrily.

“No, I stopped. She started blackmailing me three years ago and she’s back for more wads of money. I won’t give her a dime. My parents can know all about it. They will eventually get to know so the sooner, the better.” She said with a trace of fear in her eyes.

“But I’m very sorry. So sorry that I did all those things.” She said and buried her face in her hands. I continued to stare at her, a friend whom I knew so well than anybody. A friend who was never sorry for anything. And who now seemed remorseful for her past wrongs.

“Why do I feel someone is in here apart from the two of us. I smell change.” I sat down beside her.

“They haunt me more than you’ll ever know. Despite my best efforts to drive them out, every deed echoes in my head. They keep coming back to me.”

“Your parents don’t have to know if you don’t want them to”  I assured her, the
familiar and somehow comforting hush of co-conspiracy fell over the room.

Mary and I had developed an implicit understanding of secrets we kept from everyone especially her family. Looking back, I realised she had never asked me to keep her secrets but somehow I have never felt like telling the things she did.

“I want to spill it all. I want to come clean with what I have done to my family especially Rose and Marvin” she said sitting up.

Seriously I didn’t know why she wanted to tell. I believe they were not secrets. All the things she had done was out of what her family made her go through. They were payments for their various activities.

“Marvin might not forgive you for spending years in another country.” I said getting up.

“Do you want to leave?”She asked. Her face; it had the same expression when I was leaving for China when we were sixteen; she was pleading silently for me to stay.  “Okay.” she said and looked away.

“It’s time for me to go .” I was already on my feet, my mind on my parsley and dandelion concoction on my bedside drawer. I had placed it down when I saw from my window the familiar middle-aged woman entering the Kings home with Mr and Mrs Kings. “Those two will kill this woman if they knew she used to sell drugs to their kid when she was thirteen.” I muttered to myself and headed to the Kings mansion.

She knew why I had to go. “I can make some for you within two minutes. You know I make it better”. She smiled broadly and loped toward the kitchen. I couldn’t help but laugh. I lay down on the bed that stood at the center of the room. It had began to be warm just like its owner.

I was about to close my eyes when I heard the door open. It opened a little too forcefully. It was Rose. She looked too surprised to see me and on Mary’s bed. On the other hand I wasn’t surprised she was back. I knew that marriage wasn’t going to work. Rose was an emotional being who could cry over a lost toffee.

Mary had emerged from the kitchen with a glass of my concoction.

Rose went up to her. Everthing happened so fast. I heard her tiny voice say to her big sister, “I have always thought you were a witch. Never did I know you were also a slut.” I heard the cry of the glass on the floor. She had slapped Mary and walked out arrogantly.

 

 

 

 

Return in spite of…

When my dad died, my mourning for him was contaminated with regret. The regret of not ever having a father-daughter relationship with him.

On May 6 of this year, I was no longer proud of myself that I had began to forgive him. “I could have seen him once before he passed. I could have tried to revive the connection that was so broken.” I said to myself. It was late.

In that difficult time, I would wake up feeling so guilty. And not hoping to see the guilty go free, I gave myself a long sentence of not forgiving myself. My head was hung low, afraid to face the Jury (friends and family) who kept urging me to get close to my dad. I decided to stay in my guilt wall.

The lost son: one of my favourite parable, and a good lesson to be learnt from a lost child who took bold steps back to his father.

When he finally came to his senses: When his mind invited him to return home, I am sure he dreaded the idea. The idea to return to the home he had confidently left with sure arrogance that he will never need to go back.

A hint of the old arrogance, a fresh rush of fear, and a twinge of guilt filled his head. His pride wanted him to say, “I’d rather sleep beside the pigs and eat with them for the rest of my life than go back there.” And the familiar jolt of shame kept telling him, “there was no way you could go back down now”.

A bold decision: Without hesitation he said, “how many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son, make me like one of your servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

Every step towards home was difficult but essentially it was a healing process to face his fears. He had admitted his faults and was ready to accept the consequences of his actions.

The result of a good decision: At the sight of the familiar figure, running towards him, he cringed. But with the compassion that emanated from his father, the arms thrown around him, and the kiss, he knew he was forgiven. Wrapped in his father’s arms, he wondered how long the old man had been watching and waiting for his return from his weeks-trip from the “Pleasure City”.

A lesson learnt: On every relationship trail there are ups, downs, and unexpected turns. Sometimes, it feels so good like strolling through a pleasant field. And then it can be stagnant or at times very chilly and it has to end. But whenever you feel a surge to make it work, just go for it.

Fight the hesitation, fear, anger, and anything that threatens to overcome the tiny urge. You don’t want to live in the “things I should have done” world. Such regrets are unhealthy. No matter how far you’ve reached, return anyway.

Inspired by Luke 15: 11-32 (Parable of the lost son) and Hebrews 4:14-16 (14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need).

The moisture trip

I have been blessed with pretty smooth skin, and I feel adding something like foundation to my face would just mess it up. When I throw on some light mascara, eyeliner and lipstick, or not a ton of anything makeup, I look just fine.

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Me wearing my hair

All the while, my hair has been a different case. It needs hair ingredients to look fine. I have always had eyes turned to my direction because of my dry hair strands. I see ladies sometimes — at work, and everywhere — hair blown out, gorgeous, and full of silk. And my question to me is: “When will your hair get shine and luster like that?”And the answer has been simple: I have no idea.

I was not sure I ever got past “the one day moisture show”. Yeah the stage when you give all your hair the goodies you can think of and you are feeling all “Indian” and the next morning you feel like you are wearing dry grass. Truthfully, I had given up on my hair ever retaining moisture. Yes, I did moisturize my hair but sometimes, I would just skip a moisturizing session and throw in a junk of hair cream.

No matter how many times I felt there was really no point in going through the moisture time every night, I had to do it. It was a task that needed to be repeated every day as my hair loved switching back to its default dry state.

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“My hair without moisture look”
Moisture routines vary. There is no rule book that you have to apply water, oils or a moisturizer or a combination of the three every day or every other day. Well, for me, my hair goes through a “moisture routine” everyday because of its nature.

Daily moisturizing has helped my almost two-year hair journey a lot. It has been my key to healthy hair and the only remedy for my dry hair. See below my two major benefits:

First, I have stronger strands. I don’t ever look out for half-broken strands or fallout hairs in my comb and in the air. I feel every hair strand gets stronger after a daily sprinkle of water, moisturizers and oils. I really think the moisture creates a protective layer that prevents my hair from breaking.

Again, shine and luster. They were the qualities my hair never had. Due to regular moisturizing sessions, they are the two new friends of my hair.

A moisturizing session

I am really loving the moisture trip and I plan on going everyday. Anytime I look in the mirror, I go like: Girl, your hair looks way better than before. (Read: Dealing with extremely dry hair)

Me feeling fly with shine

[Mary Mary] PART TEN

Part Ten – The comfortable silence

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Mary’s POV

Marvin was with a couple of his friends shooting baskets when I got home. Mum was glued to the TV set watching her fashion program. My mum was a celebrity. She was a famous fashion designer, owner of a top brand; MK Collections. And pretty, too. She had a couple of fashion programs on TV.

Dad sat at the dining table nursing his coffee and trying to focus on the newspaper. Rose, who had suddenly become like a stranger kept her expressions neutral. No one said anything to anyone after the day Marvin told them what I have done when he arrived from Beijing a week ago. I remembered scenes from a week ago when Marvin told them about my shameful act:

“Do you really want to know who was behind everything?” he started. He was so angry and for a split second, I thought he was going to assault me when he looked at me. “Mary here” he said pointing at me. “She was behind the threat, the death threat. She actually paid for those guys to stalk and threaten my life.”

Then, clinging to my dog, I listened to his final words that made my heart sink, “My own sister made me live in fear for two years until I couldn’t take the horror any longer”. Despite his confident tone, he sounded like he doubted what I actually did to him.

My mum had stand up immediately, reached for her purse, “What else have you done Mary Kings? If this is true, I will call the police on you” she said, I felt her anger rising. “So you could do this to your siblings? You really went that far to threaten the life of my son?”

My mum’s last question wiped away every guilt I felt at the moment. I wiped away the tears from my cheeks and walked out.

Mr. Kings’ POV

When Mary entered the house, she headed to her room confidently like she has always done. What had happened a week ago travelled to my mind:

I took a step backward. Was this the girl I had seen growing up? I wondered. The child I had described as very reserved?

And how much did it take for her to transform into an angry revengeful person? I asked myself. Eight years ago, we consistently received threatening messages from anonymous callers who meant to take Marvin’s life for an unknown reason. They rejected every form of ransom we suggested too.

Marvin was not a happy kid. Sometimes, he will complain someone had been in his room. He couldn’t go out because he was being followed. The police did their best on the case but couldn’t get a hint of who was behind it.

He had to stay home when he was in his final year in High School. We couldn’t let him go to school when he found his sport wears soaked with human blood in his locker. We had to send him out of the country. I still couldn’t believe Mary had done this. I was angry like everyone else until Mary-Rose got up and uttered those words from her mouth, ““What else have you done Mary Kings? If this is true, I will call the police on you. So you could do this to your siblings? You really went that far to threaten the life of my son?” she said this like Mary was not her child.

Her words turned all heads to her direction. It obviously broke Mary’s heart. I realized how we have failed abysmally as her parents and I was so sorry for all the ways we’d failed her. Finally, I understood her actions. They were terrible but she had her reasons. After staring at her mother for a brief moment, she turned and walked out the door.