DADDY I don’t believe in God

“It’s still beautiful though.” finally agreeing with my son. Many years have now passed, when as a young catholic boy, I had shocked my mother with the news of being born-again. I was persecuted to say the least. But that’s not the point. Here was what I have come to understand. My boy is being honest, and that is beautiful. His views and feelings are authentic, plausible and sincere. I saw beyond that sharp pain in my heart, and the mockery that I had lost to the devil, only as true as my limited self was capable of understanding at the time. Then, latter, I was happy and I became more confident of his future… If God is not True, why shouldn’t my boy come to know?

In my art class, I learned how the blue box wasn’t blue, yet it was blue. It had six sides. The side that faced the light was a lighter blue than the two sides I could see. The lighter side had fleeting properties of green, resulting from the ‘yellowy’ sun ray and the ‘bluey’ hue on the box. When I moved my drawing board to another position, I was able to see only one side, and this was easier to draw and paint. This side had almost one colour of blue, but at the end, it was more of a rectangle, a flat shape than a box. I painted in the shadows and the surrounding background, and was happy with my artwork. So was my teacher. We all saw the box with six sides in my ‘artwork’ with only one side.

Our imagination is an important gift and a space of ‘zero’ gravity. It is akin to that grocery supermarket, that is totally different from the kitchen where the food is eventually cooked.

In my art class, I saw how true it is that ‘we’ see in partial dimensions; in familiar shapes and colours, mostly flat. The closer the object, the more our dimensions of thought and perception improve, and our understanding is sorted in perspectives; with either a dominant vanishing point or multiple ones, within a common and shared space. The free ‘will’ or the audacity to imagine is not a rebellion from the absolute Truth, but a bidden of it, occasioned by His dignified non intrusiveness.

But in His ferocious strength Truth snatched the Harlot, the thief, the corrupt public servant, the numbed rich and the poor fishers.

Absolute Truth stands dignified at an inspiring space, in a reassured confidence that through our subjective perception of what is Truth, through sincere and honest curiosities, seasoned by our tempting interactions with the corruptions around our evolving selves, we will become. Truth by imagination frees our heart to question and own our answer.

My son’s dissent, could point to my language, and yet every day, he embodies and preaches the story of God; a language my generation has lost to speak.

Let’s cheer up.

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Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

Ending

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TRUTH is that it’s not True

Cheer up!

The illusion is that Evil is dominant and does not live in constant fear. It indeed does but only projects a perversion of its core identities and strength. It also continues to send messages of its presumed dominance to a less perceptive world, that it is the marauder and conqueror of all Good. Yet in its nerves, it shakes and lives in the frail subjectivity of its constituents and the inevitable notice of their existence, through the undeniable christening of Light. Deep in its innermost consciousness, it lives with the evident Truth that there is therefore no such place as a place of darkness. It continues to cave in on its futile attempts to shot out light from spaces where it operates and yet, surrenders to its own sincere and entire sense of lack of dominance.

If there is no such thing as a place or space of entire darkness, a place shot out for the eye to see or make out an object, that there is no such deeds that in its evil nature could triumph without the existential threats which are only real sure and time sure, then we begin to share in the empathy of a desperate invader and a frustrated eventual loser.

Light comes and caress all things, places and spaces. It quietly reveals situations and enriches it with its own understanding of its self. It makes no trumps or unveiling of its lordship over those situations. The situation is shredded and understood, often making it look worse and out of its monstrosity; the earth of its death, the promise of its solution hovers in the light particles of its shared understanding.

I went to the pit of hell. In my darkness I lost orientation because I did not know where I was backing or facing. I was blind, but it was worse because I even felt no grounds on which I was standing; all seemed to float. In my blindness, I was dazed and pressed by torrents of darkness beating every coast of my lost orientation and balance.

In that darkness, its persistent rage and unending perturbs became a predictable normalcy. In my inexplicable buoyancy and pitch darkness, I could start to see. In the greatest pitch of darkness, my pupils could grow larger and darkness yielded itself to the definitions of its masses and content and I could in my retina see the silver lining cresting every mass. In every object there was an inherent light because all things consist of light and defined by it.

I walked in my darkness; through the compressed spectrum of its irrepressible rainbow, sorting out the constituents of my depressed self, my depraved mind, the knowledge that rain terror in my helpless parts; the hapless poor in Arabia, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Indies and the Americas. It was as though it was day. In fact, all were day. And the truth remained; that it was not true that evil is the ultimate conqueror but Truth the Light. Keep walking!

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Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

Our Cause

DICK was a student Teacher

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Today was Tuesday the Twenty Seventh. The month of January, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen, the day Mr Dick Hamilton; the student teacher was fired. My name is Harry and I will tell you all about it.

“Good morning, Mrs Smith”.

“Good morning Harry and how was your weekend?”

“It was alright Mrs Smith. Miss, I was at my Dad’s, so, so I couldn’t do my homework”

“Not to worry Harry, am sure Mr Hamilton will sort it out later”

Mr Dick Hamilton came differently. Gold coffee; his aura was plain and formal, and he left an innocent air of vintage sophistication and confidence. He was charitable with what he knew and wore his age and experience with a casual hint. With no conscious effort, he became an unavoidably focus and a contradiction of a student teacher.

Jack’s father of all people also liked Mr Hamilton. The other day, he said something like this, “minorities is good and we’ve come a long way with sorts and chocolates…” Ha-ha, that doesn’t make sense. Yeah? But, anything that sounds like m&ms, smarties and chocolates, I’ll reckon must be something nice he’d said.

“Thank you Mrs Smith and Good morning children” said Dick Hamilton as he starts his lesson for the day.

Mr Hamilton’s starter came on beautifully. He is made it more inclusive by differentiating, the answers as it appeared that only the high and middle ability children were leaving the rest of us behind. It was getting to five minutes. He began to quicken his pace. He calls out to me, saying that I have been good, although I had been day dreaming.

“Alright, our topic for today’s lesson is…”

Smooth! His introduction blended well, with his questioning which invaded our ‘privacy’. O! Sorry, did I say that? No, I meant that his introduction blended well, with his questioning which investigated our previous knowledge of the substance of the lesson’s topic.

It’s a bit quiet today; everybody is behaving themselves. I remember when Mr Hamilton was new and we used to wind him up. He’s learnt this behaviour management tricks fast, I must say.

Like the African fireflies, the splint of an invading curiosity crawls from the depth of darkness. As it scrapes the crust of the knowledge it seeks, the sparks illuminate, and ‘a fact’ sees the face of the risen sun.

Mr Hamilton crawled gently. He remembered not to be too ‘teachy’. When he was new, ha-ha, he used to talk too much. Now, here is the secret, “Save Your Breath” Start banter amongst us and just stand by the sides to tend the fire. In teaching these kids, it’s best to use them to develop and answer their own questions.

Moreover, we don’t listen much these days. This is because there is a lot going on around us. You could practically get run over by everything, if we listened as much as adults want you to. You could even lose your own life listening to an adult, trust me on that.

Also we think all adults especially teachers are boring, and sometimes don’t make sense, as well. Now, Mrs Smith thinks I need a statement, can you beat that? I don’t need statement from anybody, because I can make my own sentence with my own name. I bet you don’t get it too.

However, If we don’t learn by the way you teach, you have to teach how we to learn; pupil’s Voice ‘innit’? Ha-ha, I know my rights, yeah, and ‘every child matters’

Mr Hamilton has enjoyed some respite since his trainers succumbed to his wishes to tailor his training to the dictates of the monitoring university’s tutor. This has not happened without a few blunt communications from him. So much has been at stake, by implication, and it’s been an uneasy calm and Mrs Smith has been out of the class more around here since then.

“Write on your whiteboards guys…”

Shush! Mr Hamilton is looking at me. He’s coming this way. I hate this Assessment for Learning thing teachers do.

 “Harry”

“Yes, Mr Hamilton”

“If I have double of what you have, and you have TWELVE, what do I have?”

“TWENTY FOUR, Mr Hamilton”

“Super! Well done. Guys on Harry’s table, I owe you all a sticker each at lunch time.”

Whoosh! That was close. How did I pull that off? But how was I supposed to learn these answers when am not soothsayer or psychic? Sometimes I don’t see the point of coming to school. Phew! He almost gave me a heart attack! What did he do that for? Well that one was a nice one though. I like him.

My father says that Mr Dick Hamilton is one teacher who’s got a better head than his own name. Of course my father, like most adults, sometimes, doesn’t make sense too.

But surprisingly, he is one thing my mom agrees with my dad, whenever my dad mentions names of teachers in my school.

I really like him a lot.

The mini-plenary pulled off well. So was the task for the day and the plenary. However he must evaluate his lesson plan and reinforce our understanding on ‘tens and unit’ to further address our misconceptions, for progress into the next lessons. But sadly, there wasn’t going to be another lesson.

Those who learn are sometimes better to be fully immersed in the darkness caused by the ignorance of what they seek to understand. They should even feign ignorance, if that will pander on the ego of their trainers.

However, one of his own; Fela Kuti, quickly dissents in his fluting, saying “Teacher don’t teach me nonsense”

This story is best told when darkness is on one side and light on the other. Then the light will permeate the darkness, and there will be Light.

While darkness is always dark, LIGHT could sometimes be faint. Only light can be made brighter, even then to brighter brilliance.

Like the way the story started, it was today Tuesday the Twenty Seventh. The month of January, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen, at a quarter hour before mid-day that Mr Dick Hamilton; the student teacher was summoned to the head teacher’s office.

Now, I was not part of it but it was decided again that it was expedient that one person should die for many people, than for many people to die for one person.

I was also not part of it but reasonable amount of spurious evidence was stacked against him. He was sent off and implored never to foist himself on the Sanhedrin of another primary education’s sanctuary.

And his wage was taken from him.

I was told that three days and three nights, while bent over by the indignities and chastisements of an empty pocket, he fell forward to the ‘truth’, that his ‘time’ has just been given back to him.

And that forever, the ‘wage’ they took off him, will palter miserably; against the bounty of the ‘time’ he has gained back from them.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

I need your comments and questions please. Thank you.

Our cause

Our cause is a battle against our worries and fears which say ‘Worse things will happen to us’

We say that though there is no such life as one without challenges, or rose beds without prickly thorns, we tell the story of life’s challenge to illustrate that they are finite.

Our friends will come out with an after taste that they too can pull through their challenges.

In celebrating the ephemeral nature of all life’s impediments, our story is a collection of how all troubles ENDED.

Therefore, at any point you wish, you can, DONATE to support our cause.

 

 

 

TEN years since she Died

Ten years since she died

It was April fool’s day 2005. Dike Obiora was forty-two and Tonto Nwankwo was thirty-eight years old. “Sir, Madam has died” says Mallama the house girl. Between their difficult thirteen years of marriage and a dreadful time now ahead, Dike would cling on these dark clouds, perhaps to find and surf their silvery crests. The doctors explained the primary cause of death was heart failure and secondary as cancer of the colon. Tonto had lost the last drop of her blood to the killer tumour which she had fought 18 months long. Crucial on Dike’s mind was their children. How was he to explain these concepts; death and bereavement to them?

“My soul is tired for the things that have been done on it. My body is weak. I am older than my age and sometimes I am ashamed of what you could remember behind this thick love you have for me. I have squandered everything for nothing, not really nothing but what my heart yearns for, though most times I am led to nowhere by it. You have often done more than I could have done for myself; definitely anybody has done for me. The emptiness catches up with me and so often overwhelms me…”

Dike awakes. He finally walks into the room where the children were watching television. They barely noticed him. Confused and wary not to alarm them, he took another deep breath. “Guys, please ‘pause’ the cartoon channel and listen to me for a minute”. As they turned their heads and flashed their pools of clear large eyes towards him, he clinched his hands and took another deep breath.

“God has taken mummy to heaven to rest. You all know that she has suffered a lot this past year and half”
“Yes Daddy” they said. They were merely seven, six and three years old. He was unsure how they were processing the information, but he resolved to be strong for them and to never let them off his sight for a very very long time.

Tonto was a sweet soul whose troubles were overwhelming. Her mind wrinkled as it destroyed her body. Despite her rage and destruction, she was consistently a troubled mind and never a wallowing sordid soul.

“I heard a voice when I was 3 years old. Something told me He was God and that he loved me. I was over joyed and loved it. The days after, I heard it so much as he came around so often, that I began to live in dread of it” she says.

Tonto loved her mother, three sisters and two brothers. They probably loved her more than she felt. But for every other person who tried to love her, the trauma of her natal scourge snuffed every effort to fill her gnawing emptiness.

“I struggle for love, may be because I don’t understand love. Like every child, I want to own my own sisters, brothers and mother. I should have the same surname with my siblings because I share the same womb with them. I want to be theirs. I don’t want to be accepted, because that says something about being an outsider. I don’t want them to be nice to me, because that is about hospitality, may be to a stranger. I want to be them, family, and love, not given but co-owns, not logical but emotional. You understand, don’t you? She asks.

What tears the fabric and tissues of a child’s soul and refuses to heal for 38 years? What wakes a baby from sleep to stack adulthood, and keeps her up for 38 years? moans Dike.

“I hate you Dike. You think am not good for you, you want to marry one of those girls when I die. Good man, you think you have won? I will tell everybody what evil you have been to me. You don’t like me. You snuff off everything I ignite. You don’t encourage me. You are always competing with me. I am never sufficiently good enough at anything. You love your mother, your sister, my mother, my sisters more than me”.
Dike reaches out to love his wife, but sometimes in logic, and once again fails.
“You always make me feel guilty. What is the point of this love when you make me feel am no good? Your love, your mother, everything, even God, yes God, all of you can go to hell”

The phone rings “Hello sister, yes I am fine today… yes, yes. I just want you to know that it is my husband who’s killing me. He is responsible for my illness and death when it comes. Yes, yes. Thank you, sister. I love you too”

Towards the last days, on her death bed, she came near to that conviction that she has now gained her family’s undivided attention. They love her. They are all now preoccupied with her in that special way she has always wanted. If this was it, then she may have lived all her life to get it. She wanted her ‘mommy’ and it was all worth it.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

These are real life stories. I will love hear your comments,  questions, and suggestions please. Thank you.

EMMA wore a Scar

Relationship, Family, Love, Wife

On this mountain, her husband Tutu has been of all plants, the cactus. “Tutu, my husband has applied for bankruptcy and I am not in the picture” she said to me.

It has largely been a thankless affair. She is obviously worn out by her intense flirting with the guts or belief, that there would be some easy path, down the other side of the mountain. This dream had been her hope and often her only lust, after each sunset.

Tutu had lived a life characterised by skipping and stepping on those smooth stones, spaced on life’s puddle. His quiet and handsome face has been a shielding facade of modesty and cultured manners. However these belie, a man whose tender fingers, had once tampered and stifled the mews of some female flock in his manor.

His imagined depository of ‘heavenly’ wealth and delusionary right to comfort, had been occasionally relayed in spending orgies, excused by some conjured gratitude to God. A situation Emma was to cease complaining about.

There was a time Emma was virgin. Her world was airy and rarely clustered. She did Good. Carefully, she populated her world with people who showed her genuine need for her virtues. It felt good and muted pains sacrificing brought. She was equally good to her family; parents and siblings. The world may forget, but your own family will always remember you for good, she reminisced.

With a lot of effort and hard work, she has pushed away days when the long wait for her father’s pension and gratuity extinguished every mustered hope in the family. The nightmare of this godot aged each new day, and inspired it with terror and exasperation. Those days were gone. They were gone behind lovely remembrances of her eldest brother’s eventual marriage and relocation to the United States of America.

Also the little girls, how they would pack their boxes and be driven off to that premium, safe and beautifully located boarding school in the country. The younger sister had married an evangelist who lives in Germany and would be off to some missionary tour to North America. Her father’s burial was decent and respectable and her mother is dignified and aging gracefully.

It’s often said that it’s no good doing good, because the world will pay you back with evil. But no one has said it is ‘so’ good doing evil, because everyone will pay you back with good. Yet on our tattoos we all wear the scar of the deeds we have done. Loving your neighbour may often not be reciprocated, but being good is the sure reward of doing ‘GOOD’.

Now on the mountain top, confused and listless, Emma would comb for that dreamed world; that beautiful plateau, where ‘good’ will come to her and bear her on scented petals. She would remember when she was spurred by the dreams that her friends and family will always remember her for good. She would also realise how sad it is to discovers that through this path she must travel alone. And being in the thoughts and prayers of friends and family was one more call to keep her head high.

Emma would refuse to leave Tutu, not even the consideration of a measured safe distance; something to give him a shock therapy or a period to let things dawn on him. But then, she also knew better. Tutu had planned to reach for a more time relevant substitute far from remorse.

The scar clings deep. Emma embodies the fight; the troubled terrain and tumultuous duels, the grease and grime of years of torture on her face and dress. In her gait she took it all.

Late this evening though, through the cracks of this parched and withered soul, a thought would sprout, nagging and persistent. She would peer into both palms, confused but resolute to confront in the dark, which dignity is better for the woman, who society will nonetheless judge as one who left her husband.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

Feel free to support, comment or share your story or stories with the ‘Community’. Make it an interesting, short, compact and well punctuated story. Your candle shines brightest where light is needed, so let it appeal to all people and gender, across racial, political, religious, and sexual orientations.

Taruzimaso is a growing community of people who have loved and shared their challenges, and are investing in patience, thought, and prayer to help one another.

IMELDA doesn’t call Again

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Imelda has called again. Things would have been different if any of us had a manual on how to be angry with God. Since this is not the case, then everything is Dominic’s fault. Imelda believes Dominic can make her happy, but he is not doing that and don’t seem to find any motivation to do so. If some people should have a problem-free marriage, by God, Imelda should be one of them. All she wants is to be allowed to watch one or two movies on the television. The next thing she asks for is for Dominic to sometimes walk with her around the neighbourhood or to the city centre or a bus ride together to some museum or beautiful mall. Of all the difficult things in whole wide world, this has proved so more difficult for Dominic to do.

“I was late to marriage and for that, marrying a widower with children was upfront with needs I could avail myself of. I would care for his children, and he would continue to love me and we will both be happier for it”.

“Why is he ‘ganging up’ with the children against me? Can I possibly understand this? Rationally he knows the teenage girl is impudent and disrespectful. She is determined in her tricks to haunt, ruin my happiness and wreck my marriage”

“Dominic now makes me feel I complain for no reason, and that I just hate his children. Can you believe that?”

“Some days are not worse enough until the night comes when he decides to fiddle under the sheets. Apparently he wants to do me some favours; to give me some happiness I must be quick and grateful to respond to”

“How come I don’t have confidence in myself anymore? My self-esteem is gone and my weight is piling”

In all of these, Imelda looks forward to a future when the children have grown up and left home. Now she doesn’t call me frequently anymore. This could be indicative that the situation has changed or that she has changed enough to take control of the situation or what do you think??? My thoughts and prayers are always with you, Imelda.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986