Tag Archives: journal

What If…?

What if I didn’t go out that day?
What if I had missed that day’s lectures?
What if I had ran faster?
What if I didn’t lose my leg?
I have never been able to construct any acceptable scenarios for my what ifs.
Today, I couldn’t stop myself from wandering through their endless maze.
Where would I be if that day never was?
Who would I be?
I can’t say precisely, but one thing is clear; my scars made me who I am today.
If I hadn’t them, I would be ordinary; just plain old me.

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An Amputee’s Prayer (1)

What would an amputee pray about?
What would be their major prayer request?
A new leg?
That the limb or limbs would miraculously grow back? I don’t know what it was supposed to be. But I do know I have never asked for it before. Not ever.

My niece was reading the story of the Shunamite woman of 2Kings Chapter 4 to me few days ago. It was the story of the woman who took pity on Elisha the prophet and made a chamber for him in their house, so he could rest whenever he comes around. Elisha in turn asked what could be done for her for her generosity. So he prophesied to her that by the following season she would embrace a son.

And it was so.

Then the child died.

The woman took him to the prophet’s chamber and laid him on his bed. And then she went in search of the man of God. When she found him, she took hold of his feet and asked why he would give her a child and then take him away. The prophet sent his servant Gehazi to lay his staff on the child’s face, but the Shunamite woman refused. She would not leave unless the man of God came with her.

He did. He went in to the child, prayed to the Lord and did his prophet thing. The child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

Before that, there is the story of the poor widow and his two sons whom the man of God saved from her creditors. And after it, there is the account of dearth in Gil-gal and how the man of God made the poisonous pottage safe for the sons of the prophets. He also fed hundred men with twenty loaves of barley.

“There are no more miracles”, my niece said simply at the end of the chapter. They don’t exist anymore like in the Bible. I opened my eyes, looked at her and closed them again, hoping she would close the Bible and let it rest.

“They don’t happen anymore, even when you believe they would”

I sighed, I could feel my hope dissipating in the heat.

“I prayed for you”. I pray for you every day but it never happened”.

I opened my eyes again and stared at the ceiling. I watched as my hope that she would let go of the dearth and death of miracle ascended into it.

I didn’t have to ask what the prayer was. I knew it. And then I wondered why I never asked for it myself.

Maybe my faith is not strong enough. Maybe I don’t believe it is possible. Or I was just contented with walking unaided with my legs in my dreams.

I don’t know that too. But one thing is sure; I have to give the young lady an answer.

I Remember (1)

I remember her eyes. There was something eerie about them. I can almost see her now like I did four years ago. She was dark and thin, but there was strength in those eyes, in their depth. The way she blinked and widened them….I still get goose bumps whenever I remember them. She was feeble but her upper arms were strong; thin, but steady like her icy eyes.
I was about to jump into the waiting cab when they flung opened and our eyes met. Mine held, even when hers dropped to straighten her floral skirt. I hardly stare or take much notice of strangers but for some reasons I was glued to that spot. I was frozen. Now, when I think of it, I still have no idea why I paused.
When she looked up, I looked away, embarrassed like a child caught peeping through a key hole. Then I saw a young man, maybe her brother judging from the same set of full upper lips and oversized nose. He looked worn out in a dirty jeans and faded t-shirt holding her wheel chair. I stepped back to give him room, just realising then that I was blocking the way. I couldn’t stop myself from watching their well mastered performance of moving her from the car to the chair. How she folded and shrank her body into a ball, her hands hugging her chest to make it easier for him to lift her into the wheelchair. I was enthralled. Then our eyes met again. I turned and hurried on to get another cab even as the driver was calling me to come back. As I was about to to step onto the cab, I glanced back and our eyes met, again. Hers hardened and then widened, with contempt? I have no idea. I wondered why at first, then I realised she must find it irritating. I wished then that I could show her my thoughts. Or maybe she was offended that I didn’t take the cab? I sighed and closed the door.
I tried not to look to my right as I rode to lecture. But I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering to her. I pictured her bathing, dressing, growing from girlhood to womanhood. I wondered if she had a boyfriend. Will she have children, know the joy of motherhood? Then I saw another boy hopping on one leg and a wooden crutch. I wondered what happened to him too, was he born that way, or an accident? How does he survive every day knowing tomorrow would be the same? What does he do when in danger? Who looks out for him? Who takes care of them all? I didn’t have to wait for long to find out. As I didn’t return to my home or bed until four months later. I spent those months in a surgical ward with a front row view watching “Behind the Scene of an Amputee Life”.
Now, I know.

The Woman in the Mirror (1)

I saw her today, this morning. I have seen her every day for as long as I can remember. But today, I really saw her, the woman in the mirror, when she told me her story.
When she was a young girl, she would only look in the mirror to check if her hair was well brushed. To see if her appearance was modest enough for the church. She couldn’t stay too long because it was vain. When she became a lady, she would sit in front of the mirror to admire her beauty. She would stare just to revel in her freedom to do so for as long as she could. She would squint, then widen her eyes, pout and pucker her lips, roll her tongue and finally gently applied her make-up. She would take extra care on her big black eyes and sumptuous lips. And then she would stare some more to admire her handiwork.
Today, she looked nothing like the girl or the lady. She is a woman. A woman who stared long and hard in the mirror but saw nothing of her exquisite beauty. A woman who now looked into the face in the mirror, beyond the face, into the woman to see her soul, her heart, her journey. A woman who bears no resemblance to the girl or the lady.

My Birthday

To me, this day is more than a birthday, that’s too ordinary. But what could make a birthday more than an anniversary of the day in which a person is born?
A Rebirth?
A second chance at life?
I got both, because if the devil had his wish I would exit here the same day I entered it. And I would be labeled so many evil things and more. But the Lord in His infinite mercy gave me life, again.
A birthday used to be just the celebration of my birth. When I ended one year and started another. After my twentieth anniversary it became, “what’s the big deal? Everybody has them. Someone has one every day.”
And now, there are so many thoughts and feelings attached to this day: happiness, apprehension, panics, blessing, anxiety, and gratitude, their incessant and persistent attacks can be so overwhelming and frustrating – A time bomb waiting to explode.
Over the years, I’ve learnt to accept them, feel them all, sort out the real from the imagined, and forge the strength to beat the delusion.
Today, I woke up again with the dread of facing the long day, my birthday. Because I had a doctor’s appointment, today of all days. Memories of my birthday not too long ago in surgery and ICU flooded my mind like rushing water. I was going to see the doctor who hacked off my limb on my birthday. I wanted to hide in bed all day. But then, I armed myself with the remembrance of all I had to be grateful for. The little things like sneezing without pain, stretching without whimpering and turning without grimacing. I’m grateful for the blessings of the people in my life who never let me feel bad about my life for a second. When I think He seems too far away or uncaring, I see Him in them. These little things make me realize just how blessed I am, and how much good I have in my life. They outweigh the bad.
Today, I realise that good or bad, there are benefits to everything; one simply needs to find them.
And that, birthdays are more than celebrating the inevitable passage of time.

The Old Album

When I found the album it was caked with dust. I wonder why it looked like a relic of the Second World War, I had flung it to the back of the closet, where I couldn’t reach it. But now I can, I’m much better, stronger and steadier. I opened it and was surprised that it opened to the last picture I saw. It was the picture I took at the front of our old house on my birthday five years ago, before everything fell apart. Except it looked nothing like me. I was darker, simpler calmer and very innocent with big eyes; uninteresting and young, but of course I was younger. I was dressed in a sky blue shirt and a dark blue knee-length jean skirt.

It shows the legs, nice, shapely smooth calves. I had nice legs, I know it and people said it too. They looked awesome, but they didn’t feel like mine. The last time I saw the picture, my whole body went still and everything around me too. My heart wouldn’t stop hammering at my rib-cage. My eyes were so heavy with unshed tears, I wanted them to drop to at least mourn their dead mate. But they wouldn’t, so I flung it.

Today, the picture look so unreal and so far away, a lifetime away. I looked down at the left limb where the rest of the leg was supposed to be. It stopped mid-air like a frozen raindrop waiting for someone to press the play button. And the right leg has put on a muscular and fierce looking armour; wearing protruding veins and scars, its warrior badges in place of its former sexy look.

The residuals of the traumatic experience has faded into occasional nightmares and buried amidst counsels of accepting the present, look into the brighter future and forget the past. I closed the album and stared at the face looking back at me from the mirror on the wall and wished she could tell me what this is, healing, denial or acceptance?