BEST POLICY

……..provide things honest in the sight of all men. Romans 12:17

Three years ago during national service,Baaba and I decided to apply for scholarships to further our education to spare our parents the extra hustle. We plunged ourselves into writing one application after the other, countless personal statements and essays. It wasn’t a walk in the park but determined we were.

One afternoon, lost in a vortex of desk formalities it took Baaba’s dropping by my office to draw my attention to our lunch break. When she came in, my personal statement was on the screen of my laptop, so she sat down to read through while waiting for me to wrap up.

“Sarah, this is really good,” she commented after reading. I was quite sure she had an equally great one so I acted all modest about her comment. She told me, her first draft was bad – per her dad and office mate – so she had written a new one – approved by same party – and would like me to read through and share my thoughts. “Of course” I promptly replied.

After eating I went ahead to skim through her new draft. Honestly, I didn’t think the write up was very good. It was okay, but nothing I would use. But I didn’t know how to tell her considering this was her second and better draft. So not to hurt her feelings, I said “it’s good” with a straight face. I justified my comment by itemising our diverse styles of writing and trying to save her some hurt by a negative response.

Baaba went home and called me later the next day and her opening statement was “eih Sarah, you told me the personal statement was good when it wasn’t”. “Errrmmm , it wasn’t bad” was all I could manage. Turns out she mistakenly opened the old draft for me and realized it later in the night when she was shutting down her machine.

Awkward! And to think that I was the one who always went on and on about how I would rather my friends told me the plain truth than give me a sugarcoated cocktail far from the truth when I asked their opinions about something.

I felt really terrible. I thought through the events and realised Baaba would have preferred the blunt truth to my forced “it’s good”. I realised how close-knit honesty and integrity were and how very vital they were to relationships. I wondered if Baaba would trust me to give my honest opinion about anything again.

Well, from then on, I promised myself to be honest no matter the price. So the next time someone ask you if they look fat in their clothes, you may want to reconsider telling that “white lie”. Because friends will much prefer the bitter pills of truth to a sweet deceptive kiss; I know I do.

Honesty is indeed the best policy!

 

Please read, like, share, comment and learn.


 

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FITTING RIGHT

 

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Watching Jordan, my younger brother, trying to put together a puzzle brings fond memories of my own childhood streaming back. I have been watching him for a little while now and I know exactly when he started feeling a bit frustrated; everything isn’t fitting exactly where he thought it should and I totally sympathized with him because I remember feeling exactly the same way, even a little irate, back then especially when I wanted to move on from putting together a puzzle to something else and parallel felt obliged to close the puzzle case before anything else. I’m supposing he is getting to the point where he will attempt fitting any piece anywhere just to get the feeling of completion so he can just move on to something else [ at least that’s what I did sometime].

The scene seem to tally with a fascinating truth I learnt about the great temple king Solomon built in Jerusalem. Until quite recently I had always assumed the magnificent temple had been built like all the other building I see. I couldn’t be more wrong. I learnt the temple was simply assembled. Every material was made and worked on so that during the actual process of building, there was no need for cutting, sawing, chiseling etc, it was about fitting the cut out pieces in their respective positions. The materials were all already designed and custom made to fit a particular place. So that if something didn’t fit somewhere it wasn’t forced or patched in; it didn’t make useless the piece, it simply meant that wasn’t where it was designed to be.

How alike to this process of assembling we are. We are also custom made to fit a particular place/position/spot. We however, miss this truth often probably because we get frustrated with things we so badly want to happen for personal reasons [like Jordan] or some other reason and make do with being patched up elsewhere just to make it happen. This brings to mind the saying square peg in round hole. This doesn’t make useless the need to adapt but focuses us on the need to find where we are designed and purposed to be. A wise man once told me, ‘acknowledging our place and importance would make us more appreciative of other people’s place.’ Then there would be no need to be envious/jealous of others…. because we know we are just right for our purpose. We stand strong together when we stand in our appropriate places.

 

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” – The Bible

 

STANDING OUT

It was a very sunny Tuesday afternoon, several days after school reopened and two days to the deadline for student registration. Three of my friends and I were walking to lectures. We had dashed to the faculty in between lectures to finish the final step in our registration process and we were not particularly in a hurry to get to the lecture theatre; to get to shelter from the scorching sun was a different story. As we were walking across the lawns scrutinizing a document (I don’t remember exactly what) my eyes darted around. A tiny flower springing up caught my attention. It was nothing extraordinary but it looked outstanding surrounded by so much green grass. I thought it was very beautiful and I would have taken a photo but couldn’t because I didn’t have a camera. My phone wasn’t functional at that time. I did draw my friend’s attention to it though and made a silent promise to write about it someday. Today is that day. Of course Ransford, one of my friends, was quick to point out to me that the flower was nothing special [just in case I thought otherwise], and was actually very common. A flower of a common weed in fact. I didn’t doubt that for a second, it wasn’t the particulars of the flower that drew me to it but its uniqueness in its immediate surroundings. Imagine a whole lawn of neatly mowed grass with a tiny spring of white flower, just an inch taller sitting right in the middle. Impressive, right? I don’t know if my description does justice to the picture or make you catch a glimpse of what I’m talking about. But this picture stuck with me. I thought how bold that flower was to spring out right in the middle of so much uniformity and dare to be different. I imagined how odd the grass might have made the flower feel and it (the flower) probably might have felt very out of place. But standing there watching this tiny, maybe even sickly flower, I thought it was glorious and I saw how much courage it took to stick out like that. It made me wonder why we sometimes go to extreme ends to fit in when we could simply stand out and make a better and extraordinary, or even perfect picture.

I noticed how contrary to this flower I have been most of the time. How I had robbed the world of much beauty. Because in my quest to group, I had conformed to the standards of my friends, even when I thought different, and been broken time without number under peer pressure. I appreciated afresh the sense in variety and understood slightly perhaps, why God in his unsearchable wisdom created all differently; so we could complement each other among others. We lose this beauty when we strive to all look the same. After all what fun will it be if we were all the same- boring replicas of each other?

Stand out everywhere, be outstanding!

            Never be afraid to stand out, it’s better to be remembered for
            standing out in a crowd than to be forgotten for blending in.
                                                                  Ash Sweeney

 

THE PUSH

In January, the day right after the hike in fuel prices, I had to push a car into a petrol station.  It was not my first time pushing a car but definitely my first pushing one in the middle of the road. Right after church I entered into the car with a few others just as always. I even made a comment about how worn out the car looked just to tease some response from my brother who happened to own the Hyundai Galloper II we were going to ride in. After barely five minutes ride, the car just died in the middle of the road. We noticed it was due to petrol shortage and so we had to alight and push the car to a nearby station. There was no gallon available so we didn’t have the option to dash to the fuel station and get the fuel. The push was no easy matter. I along with all the others were sweating profusely and were evidently tired by the time the car finally pulled beside the fuel pump.

I drew a couple of lessons from this ordeal.

Appreciation is important. Don’t overlook it.

It’s so easy to overlook/ fail to appreciate our situations/people/blessings etc… I had gotten so used to being carried in the car every day that I saw it as normal. I didn’t think there was much to appreciate or be thankful for. I described the car as old, battered, not sleek enough. Until I got to “carry” it for a change I didn’t appreciate its purpose and work. Now, when I enter into the car and get home without event, I’m thankful.

You can’t be too sure; there is nothing wrong with double checking

When we realized the reason the car died, my brother informed us that he had bought the same amount of fuel he buys every day. He knew that amount was sufficient for the whole day so he didn’t bother to check the fuel gauge (which was faulty anyway). If he had done, he would have realized the shortage and maybe would have remembered the hike in the prices of fuel and we could have avoided the whole incident. His knowledge of his car fuel consumption was rendered insufficient in the situation.

Pray for the people ahead of you.

We shouldn’t get so consumed with our own success and with overtaking the others ahead of us that we forget to pray for them. We must not envy them but rather celebrate them and pray for their progress. When our car died in the middle of the road, the cars coming behind us and even those coming on the other lane had to slow down to match our progress. It took them a while, longer to overtake us than it would have taken them if we were moving okay….some even couldn’t. Don’t wish those ahead breakdown cos you may just end up stuck behind them.

 Run light; it’s easier.

I could have easily walked the same distance we pushed the car in less than ten minutes instead of the twenty minutes plus it took to push the Galloper. I wouldn’t have even broken a sweat. My load made so much difference so it’s better to drop every unnecessary baggage on our journey. Free of loads we get places faster and easier.

Sometimes it takes a team.

I’m usually a loner, but I acknowledged to myself how difficult and perhaps  impossible it would have been supposing I was the only one available to push that car all the way to the fuel station on that day. Being in a team doesn’t mean an inability but sometimes it’s the only way things can be done better.

We have different capacities.

Among the five people pushing the car (myself including) I noticed that we all didn’t have the same amount of strength. Some were stronger than I was and I was stronger than others. Some of us had to take a little break and others didn’t. It didn’t mean the others were not as important as the very strong ones. It just meant we had different capacities and capabilities. We can’t all operate on the exact measure because we are individuals, unique and different from one another.

We need a push sometimes.

I never would have known for sure that I was capable of pushing a galloper across that stretch until the need arose. I had no choice in the matter and this was the push I needed to reach into myself to pull out strength to execute the task before me. My younger sister who had never driven a manual car can now boast of handling one. Don’t get frustrated at challenges, they have a way of propelling us to higher heights.

From another angle, we all need help sometimes. The car needed help to get to the fuel station cos there was no easier way there at that particular time. Asking for a hand doesn’t mean you are weak it means you are wise enough to recognize your need.

………I can’t say the incident was all bad, no matter how unpleasant it was while it lasted, because among other things it reminded of of the above.

 

You learn something everyday if you pay attention.

Ray LeBlond