Thanks to my Blogger friend, Blessing from Blessing Shares, I’ll be running a truth series every Wednesday (reblog from her blog) and Friday (my own post) of October. Basically the concept behind this is to share heartfelt posts with a lot of emotions that we probably would never have published on the blog. 😉
Please join us through this series as it promises to be exciting!
I’ve set out a couple of times on a journey to find myself. To dig into my soul and answer the never-ending questions of ‘Who I am?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Why me?’ Believe me, it never stops! You may find the answer at the beginning of the year but mid-way, you totally forget who you really are. Or someone asks you and you start fumbling for words.
I think self-finding is a never-ending quest. Because as you grow, you begin to learn new things about yourself. Things you detested may even become your favourite things. You begin to build capacity in areas where you lacked and so on. Read the rest of this entry »
After too many sleepless nights to count and another appointment with Richard, I struggled to stay awake. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up; trying to solve other’s problems when under the surface, I was one giant time bomb ready to explode.
If anyone needs a therapist, it’s me.
It was a sad irony that continued to haunt me. I could solve other’s problems, but I could never seem to fix my own. At the same time, I’m pretty sure it’s this very job that gives me the courage to get out of bed every morning. They say that helping others eases our own pain. I believe this is true.
Today, Richard began to open up about his childhood, which was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. He was abused as a child by parents who were hardly around. He often went to his best friend’s house after school, hoping to escape the pain, but lost his friend to a drunk driving accident at only seventeen. I could only imagine the pain that would come with loosing a friend to a reckless, irresponsible driver who should never have gotten behind the driver’s seat to begin with.
Little by little, I’m beginning to learn his story, and discover the demons of depression and anxiety that he battles on a daily basis.
It seems that so many of our battles start in our youngest years, as our experiences and personalities mix to create the person that we are today. I still remember the day that my dad walked out on us. My mother begged him not to go, as my youngest sister cried. My older brother tried to be aloof, but I found out later that he took it the hardest of all of us.
I suspect that my dad leaving may have something to do with my difficulty in forming relationships. Psychologists have said that we learn through imitating those around us. Without a healthy relationship to imitate, how could I be expected to form one of my own?
I don’t mind it though. The extra time gives me the chance to think and reflect; something that’s almost as essential as breathing to me. There’s a familiarity in the solitude. I know what to expect from it.
The same can’t be said about people.
I often wonder how God creates plans for us when He knows we’re so prone to screw them up. Why does He allow us the privilege of carrying such great responsibility in the midst of our fallen state? How can we be image bearers of God when we can barely keep up our own image?
These are the things that weigh on my mind when I’m alone too long with only my thoughts to keep me company.
I climbed into bed and pulled the sheets over my head, trying to shield myself from the storm that was making it’s way into my mind. There was a time to analyze my life. This wasn’t it.
Now was the time to get some sleep. I have a big day tomorrow with a new patient, in addition to my regular appointments with Richard.
If I wanted to be of any help I would need to be well rested and alert; which meant that I would somehow need to catch up on a week of lost sleep overnight.
When my head hit the pillow, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.
The next morning, I came to the realization that I could.
I was so happy to have Courtney help out with the series. It takes a brilliant writer to be able to pick up from where another stopped and run with it! Thanks again Courtney.
Lesson for the day: It doesn’t hurt to ask for help when you need it!
Have a pleasant weekend! xoxo
By the time I got back home I was completely fagged out. I fell on my orthopedic bed with a loud thud and drifted to sleep. Was I asleep or was I awake? I don’t know anymore.
I saw Richard while sleeping. He told me he was afraid to live. He said I should have allowed him drown. He had lost his wife and kids in a car accident and he was recently laid off from his job and couldn’t even pay his bills. He’s the only child of ‘only-child ‘ parents who had passed away a couple of years back. His wife was also orphaned and literally, he had no other family.
Amidst my tossing and turning, I opened an eyelid to notice my grandfather’s massive antique clock on the purple wall striking 3 AM. I must have slept because I closed my eyes at 11 PM or was it 12? I don’t know anymore. Turns out, I dream of things I’ve seen through the day. It’s no wonder I’ve been having insomnia for some years now. Who would sleep after hearing the horrendous stories shared everyday by clients?
Richard had been through a lot and death was pretty much his best option. Definitely not the only option. He complained that life had lost its meaning and he didn’t even know where to start from.
I think about death a lot lately. Sometimes I welcome it with open arms, other times I just ponder upon the power death wields. It takes anyone without a second thought. It turns its cold back to the ceaseless tears flowing upon the plain faces of loved ones.
When my spell began some few years back and I had an episode on my wedding day, I was pretty much ready to die. His parents didn’t allow him go ahead with the marriage. Heck! His face was as white as though he had seen a ghost. Maybe that’s when I cut all attachments and became a lone ranger. A loner at night but an ever listening, ever patient therapist at day.
You know how we often think we are the only ones experiencing the worst of situations? Every therapy session reveals otherwise. There’s always a worst story. Day after day, client after client, I’ve learned the untold evil that plagues the inhabitants of this planet. As selfish humans though, we get stuck up in our pool of despair that we fail to see the other person falling off the cliff.
I’ve been on medications for as long as I can remember but the best medication for me has been listening to other people’s pains and helping them get out of their heads. In the end, most of what we feel or experience is all in our heads. I get them out of their heads and do the job for them. Excessive thinking.
Maybe I make up for my pain by ensuring no one lives through it. I think I’m addicted to the pain. My pain has numbed me. No one should go through that.
Richard has to live. Even though I know suicide is an illusion of escape from the known world, I know the unknown world is not where Richard would like to be right now. It’s worse than this place. He won’t even be able to handle it. He blames me for not allowing him die that day and put an end to his misery. If only he knew, he would thank me for saving him from the afterlife.
Sometimes I wonder how something as cold as death emerges from a world as hot as hell. The known and unknown worlds. I wish I could completely figure those out. Turns out the books I’ve been reading on them leave me more confused.
It’s another sleepless night, I didn’t get the rest that was required of me. But I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve missed it. Maybe that’s because the work is all I’ve got to keep me sane.
©Mfon Etuk, 2016.
As I saw him staring into the ocean, a lot of thoughts crossed my mind. One of them was ‘why was he standing so close?’ What could leave him lost at the edge of the ocean with the gentle waves bathing his feet. I’ve studied human behavior for ten years now but every day I learn something new about humans that fascinates me the more! I’m human too, so I guess learning new things about myself also counts.
In the blink of an eye, he got into the water and the mounting waves swallowed him. I screamed and alerted a lifeguard who ran after him. My heart kept skipping as I waited on the beach. Minutes seemed like hours and finally I saw a figure emerge, carrying another. Thankfully the paramedics were handy and quickly began reviving him. I couldn’t leave. I didn’t know him but I just couldn’t get my bare feet to make their way back to my bamboo seat under the palm trees.
The cold evening breeze caused me to shudder as I sat on a the sand while waiting for the final verdict.
“He’s alive!” A nurse called out and I let out a gush of air I didn’t even know I was holding.
Rewind 6 hours back.
It was a pleasant day. At least the rains had finally paused and the sun had come out to beam its radiant smile upon us. A lot had been going on in my mind. I’d been having some relapses lately and my mind has been one messed up web. My PA kinda freaked out when she saw me sprawled on the floor in my office the day I forgot to take my meds. She insisted I took a day off. Thankfully, I had no appointments scheduled for today and reluctantly I drove down to the beach.
There’s something serene and therapeutic about the beach; the way the waves send ripples; the way the water gives the sand a sloppy kiss. A beautiful harmony! Days like this when my mind webs me in and leaves me at the brink of sanity, the beach becomes my go-to. Either that or my den at home.
Hours passed as I sipped various glasses of punch while reading a Danielle Steele novel. I have a few fears in life and large bodies of water happens to be one of them. I never get so close to the water. I guess that’s the reason why I quickly noticed the man in the white shirt and jean shorts standing at the edge of the water.
From practice and experience, I’ve come to discover that people deal with a whole lot of stuffs and still hide them behind smiles. In some cases, those with chronic depression may conceal it enough by making others laugh but never really laughing themselves. I’ve told my clients severally to let these emotions out. Bottling them is like shaking a can of soda, someday it pops open and spills. I would know, because I’m still trying to clean up the mess from my last spasmodic episode.
I couldn’t wait to hear his story. The nurses said he ought to get some rest but I could come check up on him in the hospital. Trust me to follow up. Curiosity has been my strongest suit. It leads me to ask way too many seemingly irrelevant questions.
As I sat by his bedside, questions began to run through my mind. What was I doing in the hospital with a total stranger? Where’s his family? Why do I even care? It’s not like I was being paid or something. Besides, I had a truckload of problems myself. I needed to manage my mental health before managing those of my patients.
He finally opened his eyes. “Where am I? Who are you?”
A smile appeared on my distressed facial features.
©Mfon Etuk, 2016
Sorry if you felt I had forsaken you by delaying the release of the final episode.:)
So here is a summary;
Episode 1 was the incidence, centered on how the character lost her parents and questioned her beliefs in God.
Episode 2 was about her decision to go the dark side- night falls
Episode 3 consisted of the diamond heist which she got caught up in
Episode 4 centered on the turn around and new start
At some point in our lives, we feel like God has forsaken us. This happens a lot when we begin to go through trials and experience loss of dear ones. The story went on to reveal the human nature to get back at God. Pay him back in the coin of ‘injustice’ we assume He is dealing with. It takes going back to his word in total repentance to discover that we are mere dust and He is the most high. “Who is man that you are mindful of him?”
If you’re like Lisa right now, thinking you’re too far too gone to be saved, fret not! God’s got you where he wants you to be. I pray you don’t miss the lessons you need to learn in this trial.
I also excerpted a part of Job 38-41 using the Message Bible. Those few chapters struck me hard. We get so self absorbed and expect God to be answerable to us. Asking him for reasons “Why”. Why you lost the job. Why you failed the test. Why the relationship ended. Why you didn’t get the scholarship. Why your loved one died…to mention a few. In these chapters, God poses questions to Job which he could not respond to. This just goes to reveal the foolishness in man.
So the next time you’re going through that test or trial, allow God to work fully and completely in you. Don’t question Him because His ways are not yours, neither are your thoughts his.
Most importantly, remember you’re not going through the trials because He hates you. You’re going through them because He wants to fulfill His plans and purposes in you. Smile through it for something bigger is on the way. Remember we write examinations to move on to the next level 🙂
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (MSG)
It’s always my desire that you live a victorious life!
Mfon Etuk, 2015
Lisa jumped with a start as she heard her name.
She turned around but no one was in sight. The windows were slamming against each other as the rain began to pour down. She snuggled under the thin sheets but was immediately woken up by the familiar voice. In a flash, she remembered the story of Samuel and how God called him in the night time. She heaved a sigh, knowing it was totally ridiculous for God to be calling her name. He had nothing to do with her-neither did she.
She slept back for a few more minutes, shivering from the cold of the dark cell.
“Lisa.” The voice was gentle, yet firm.
“You are right where I needed you to be. Finally, you can hear me speak.” The voice continued.
She sat up, a little scared.
“Who are you?” Her voice was a mere whisper.
“I am who you say I am.” The voice replied.
She knew without doubt who it was. There had been times she heard the voice back when she still believed in its existence.
“Why did you watch them die when they loved you so much? Why didn’t you stop me from getting hurt and imprisoned?” The questions came flooding in, breaking banks.
The silence followed.
“There you go again. Bailing out from the mess you’ve put me through.” She griped.
Immediately, she was drawn to the Bible she had barely noticed on the stool at the right corner of the cell. Reluctantly, she picked it up and flipped through the soft leaflets. Finally stopping at where the book marker was. She took a deep breath as she began to read the chapter.
Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise? And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose, And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’
“And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’ told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’ So you could seize Earth like a blanket and shake out the wicked like cockroaches? As the sun brings everything to light, brings out all the colors and shapes; the cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked – they’re caught in the very act!
“Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things, explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean? Do you know the first thing about death? Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries? And do you have any idea how large this earth is? Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.
Do you know where Light comes from and where Darkness lives; So you can take them by the hand and lead them home when they get lost? Why, of course you know that. You’ve known them all your life, grown up in the same neighborhood with them!
Word after word, line after line, question after question. Lisa’s eyes remained glued on the words that flew out of the book. Awestruck. Tears began to flow as she read on from chapter to chapter.
“Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?” I have some more questions for you, and I want straight answers. Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong? Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint? Do you have an arm like my arm? Can you shout in thunder the way I can? Go ahead, show your stuff. Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do. Unleash your outrage. Target the arrogant and lay them flat. Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees. Stop the wicked in their tracks – make mincemeat of them!
Lisa imploded, falling to her knees, sobbing hysterically. She began to recall details she had neglected as a result of her myopic vision. She remembered the unusual menstrual cramps she had the day she was to travel with her parents. She remembered how she had reacted foolishly by blaming God for the reckless oil tanker driver that had swerved to the curb where her parents were as against having a head on collision with a School bus full of kids on the next lane. The anger she had held for so long against God began to thaw as ice.
“I’m sorry – so sorry Lord” She kept saying in between sobs.
Her body vibrated as though a defibrillator had been used on her chest, sending shock waves through her veins. Jolted. Her Spirit came alive, as though it had been dead. “Forgive me Lord” She cried from her Spirit in total repentance. Words could no longer come out of her mouth as her lips only opened and closed.
“I have long forgiven you” The voice reassured.
She felt an overwhelming sense of peace wrapping its warm hands around her like a blanket. She couldn’t remember when last she felt this safe. Cozied in the Father’s arms, she slept like a baby.
Two months later…
The criminals had been arrested and Lisa was exonerated with all charges dropped. She had returned back to church with a new sense of belonging.
In no time, she had turned her family home into an orphanage home which she called the “HOME FOR THE FORSAKEN”.
With every new life she saved, she felt more fulfilled than ever.
(Excerpts from Job 38-41, MSG version in bold italics)
For further reading; Job 38-41 and Psalm 27
Mfon Etuk, 2015
Lisa woke up with a start, unsure of where she was. She looked around and noticed the grey curtains draping down the open windows. The strong stench of distilled cocaine mixed with the smoke from burning cigarettes that littered the floor hit her conscious sense like a mighty wave. It looked like a crack house. A sharp pain in her head left her in anguish as a flood of memories rushed in. How long had she been gone for? She couldn’t make out.
‘She’s awake!’ One of the guys exclaimed with a sigh of relief.
The second guy walked towards her, his 6 ft. statue towering over her.
‘What’s your name?’ He thundered.
Fear began to creep into her and she felt nauseous. She wasn’t sure if it was from the fear or from the hangover. She opened her mouth to respond but threw up on his white shoes instead.
‘What the heck!!!’ He yelled, plain disgust lacing his features.
‘I’m sor-‘ Lisa began to stammer before another load of vomit spewed out of her mouth.
Irritated, the man hit her hard on the face as he turned around to go clean up.
‘We should have killed her when we had the chance’ He spat out to the first guy.
‘We still need her. But if she does not cooperate, we can kill her.’ The first guy responded.
Lisa trembled. Her face stung from the slap the surly man had given her.
‘You need to cooperate with us if you love your life.’ The first guy snorted. ‘My name is Sam and he is Paul’ the man continued, motioning to the door where the second guy exited from.
‘My name is Lisa.’ Her voice was a mere whisper.
An evil grin played across his face as he handed her some wipes to clean up the floor.
Lisa remained motionless, pondering what they meant by ‘we still need her’
What did they need her for?
Lisa strained to hear Sam and Paul as they whispered behind the door.
‘It’s going down tonight’ Paul said with gritted teeth.
‘The girl will drive the getaway van while we both go in to get our diamonds’ Sam responded with undisguised excitement.
Were they planning a diamond heist? Lisa pondered. She momentarily glanced around the small house which had only a small window and a single door which she could not get to without passing through the men. She had never stolen anything before and the mere thought of it sent her belly twirling.
As though reading her thoughts, Paul emerged with a silver gun in his hand.
‘Here, you would need this tonight.’ The cold steel dropped on her sweaty palm sending shivers down her spine. She had never held a gun before but had watched enough action movies to know how it was used.
Paul’s back was facing her as she lifted her trembling arms in an attempt to pull the trigger. Snap! The trigger snapped without discharging any bullet. With a sneer, Paul turned around to see her holding the gun aimed at him.
‘You think I’m stupid enough to give you a loaded gun?’ He snarled as his fist united with her cheekbone. Lisa fell with a loud sound.
‘She is trouble’ Paul said to his partner who had just appeared through the door at the sound of the blow.
‘It’s just for tonight and we will eliminate her’ Sam replied reassuringly.
Lisa could taste blood in her mouth from the hard blow she had been dealt. She shivered.
Darkness spread across the sky like a wet blanket. The once busy streets lay deserted as the Van pulled up beside the Jewelry store. Lisa got to the driver’s seat as ordered and her wrist was handcuffed to the steering wheel. She was to be on the lookout for the police and call them if trouble arose. The instructions were clear and curt.
The masked men ran into the store with their duffel bags. With one earth shattering blow, the glass on the front door gave way to the robbers who doggedly rushed in.
Sam and Paul quickly scanned the empty store in search for particular diamonds they had gotten information on. There they were, carefully sealed in a glass case under security protection. Paul impatiently shot at the glass case until it cracked open. They quickly packed the diamonds into their bags along with stacks of money.
Sam’s cell phone rang and he picked it up.
‘We’ve gotten it.’ He answered excitedly.
‘Meet me at the back door.’ The man on the other end replied.
‘Yes boss.’ Sam responded as they quickly packed up the bags.
‘Did you hear that crashing sound?’ A puzzled look played across the policeman’s face as he asked his partner.
‘Yes I did. Let’s check it out.’ He replied as they got into their car.
The sirens of the police car pierced through the stillness of the night skies as Lisa squirmed in her seat, waiting for the guys to come out. She called but no one answered. Using her free hand, she grabbed her gun and shot at the handcuff with the bullet blazing her skin. Dang! She felt the burn on her skin. She quickly started the car in an attempt to run away.
Soon the policemen pulled over and ran into the store which had shattered glass in front. A store personnel emerged pointing at the van driving out of the bushes.
‘There!’ He exclaimed. ‘Don’t let her get away’
In no time Lisa was stuck in a police chase.
‘I didn’t do anything.’ She muttered as the policemen got her out of the cuffs into another. They did not hesitate to press charges including the possession of a gun and cocaine which was found in the back of the van.
She couldn’t believe Sam and Paul had left her as the fall guy. It was clearly a set up. Her heart slumped as she watched from the barred room what had become of her life.
If ever there was a God, he obviously did not care. The darkness seeped through her soul like water through cracks in the pavement. The one whom she once loved went to sleep and in came the thief, stealing away everything-including her very soul. Cold. She coiled up like a ball on the bunk bed, embracing her fate.
Mfon Etuk, 2015