Friday, May 31, 2013

The Cheat Reflex

Wunmi looked in on her mother and her two sister in laws, Bukky, the wife of her older brother and Kike. They smiled at her briefly and concentrated on their task at hand. She greeted her mother.

“Pele Wunmi. How was church?”

“It was good mommy.”

“I thank God for Sunday because that's the only time we see you in this house.”
“Yes ma.”  She said.

Wunmi could see from the look on her mother's face, and the subdued way her sisters in law had greeted her, that her mother was on the war path again. She wondered briefly what they had done to her mother this time. She thought that her mom was just too hard on her brothers' wives, after all they were someone's daughters as well. Ironically, she didn't like it when her youngest sister Feyisayo was mistreated by her mother in law. African women. A bundle of contradictions.

Wunmi stayed in the kitchen briefly, hoping that her presence would lessen the tension somewhat. But, after a while, she couldn't stand it and left the kitchen to them.  She followed the peals of laughter to the sitting room where she found her father with her nieces and nephew. She took her baby niece from his arms, and kissed her chubby cheeks. Her niece and nephew left what they were doing and ran to greet her.

“Aunty! Aunty!”
“Hi my babies.”
Her youngest nephew kneeled before her solemnly.
“Why is he kneeling?” She asked her father.
“You have to lay hands on his head and pray for him. He won't get up until you do so.”
“Really, but where did he learn that from again?”
“Who knows with this child. I’m telling you, even though he is not two, he is an old man.”

Wunmi placed her hand on his head. “You will be great among your peers
“Amen aunty.” he said in his high pitched voice.
“You will be a good boy to mommy and daddy.”
“God bless you and keep you.”
“Amen.” and then he got up and ran to join his older cousin.

“Hi daddy.”
“Hi my baby. So how are you? How was church today?”
“It was awesome as always. Pastor Ejiro preached this sermon that blew my mind. I find it so amazing that no matter how many times I have studied a passage, he comes and he adds this new dimension to it again. I am going to bring the cd for you daddy. You have to listen to it.”

Wunmi loved her church, she loved her pastor. She praised God every day for leading her to Salt of the Earth Ministries five years ago. She had been walking by the church for many months but one day she noticed that it had a big sign outside: Redefining Christian. She was curious about what that meant so she had walked inside. She had already been having serious doubts, not about her faith, but about church which she was beginning to see was for some just a business. She felt there was more to being a Christian than just attending church, dressing the part, singing praises, claiming positive things. After all, the bible said, faith without works is dead. As much as she loved her former church she wanted more, and her spirit was restless.

The bible passage that the pastor read that day arrested her, the pastor's sermon had kept her, and she hadn't left since then. She had been born again since shortly after secondary school, and lived in church throughout her university years (what with Sunday service, midweek service, worker's meeting, evangelism and so on), nonetheless, she grew so much when she got to Salt of the Earth. Each sermon always felt like God was directly answering her questions, and it gave her the fire and passion she needed for her tough  job.  It also fulfilled her need to be of use to God beyond being a worker in the church.

Pastor Ejiro strongly believed that Christians were called to make an impact on the world around them in the now.  His personal statement, he loved to say, was not to be served but to serve. He felt that the best way to bring people to Christ would be to actually provide their needs. He was also a man of action, and the church owned a fully staffed and equipped but small health center. The church also had a school which went from nursery through secondary school which was open to anyone that lived in the surrounding areas of the church. Like the clinic, the fees were on a sliding scale.

There were many opportunities for community work and outreach for Wunmi to be involved in and she was heavily involved in one or two. She had been trying to get her family to join her church but they were content with their respective churches so she let them be.

Her youngest sister, Feyisayo and her husband soon joined them. Well, her sister's voice joined them first, it was every bit as big as she was small.

“Hi daddy, hi sister. Where are my brothers?”

“Those boys, they think they are still children, they are playing on their gamestation, abi what do you guys call it again?”

“Playstation daddy!”

“Idea is need. Anyway, they are playing soccer. I don't know why they just do not go outside and play in the backyard. They need it, especially that your older brother. He is getting too big.”

“Daddy.” Wunmi and her sister said in unison.

“It's true.”

Her brother in law went off in search of her brothers, and her sister sat down with Wunmi and her father.
“What is up with mummy today? She was on a rampage in the kitchen, that’s why I left them to it in there.” Her sister said.
“You know how your mother gets. I have told her to take it easy on your brother’s wife.”

“What happened now?”

“I wasn’t even paying attention again. Something about someone not doing something. I just left the whole thing to her. How is work jo my dear?” Their father said turning to her sister.

“It’s going well daddy.”

Bukky came to call them into the dining room. “Dinner is served sir, and you two, you abandoned us to your mom. It’s ok.”

“Oya, let's pray.” Her mom said when they had all gathered at the dining table.
“Thank you Lord God for bringing us together as a family again this sunday. Thank you for protecting us on the road as we travel back and forth. Thank you for protecting us from the dangers of the night and the day. We thank you for multiplying our family. God help us to continue to be a tight knit family. All those who are working against the unity of this family, O Lord, help them to correct their wayward ways. Amen.

“Amen.” the rest of the family said.

“And Lord God, we bring Wunmi before you. Remember her o Lord for good, we pray that soon, very soon before the year runs out she too will bring her husband to join us at this table. Lord, bring her husband from wherever he is. Help her to recognize him and not chase him away when he comes. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Wunmi sighed. Her mother had found a way to slip in two attacks in one prayer.

“Mummy, you act like Wunmi is pushing forty the way you talk.” Her eldest brother, Ayorinde said.

“And so what? She keeps chasing people away. Look at that nice, decent handsome man that your father introduced to her two sundays ago…”

“Oh please…”

“I still can’t believe Daddy tried to play cupid.”

“I was not. My friend came to visit me. His son happened to be with him. He saw a pretty girl, and he did what came naturally. What is bad in that?” Her father said.

“Stop laughing at me, you guys. Ko funny ra ra.” Wunmi said.

“So what happened to the man?”

“Your sister chased him away like she does all her boyfriends.”

“I did not mommy. He was just full of himself. He thought he was a gift to me and I should be happy that he was talking to me. The man was even too boring.”

“Why was he boring, because he doesn’t go to church day and night?”

“Mummy..” Her brothers and sister said in unison.

“Kini? Look at all of you, with your wives and your husband. So Wunmi should now be the only one left out?”

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