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By Debbie Olujobi

The paths we take in life are often not of our choosing and sometimes we reach destinations we never set out to. Vanguard has been a staple of my world for what will shortly be a decade come December and it’s been interesting.

I have made fast friends, met many people, been complimented, criticised, insulted and even threatened! My idea was to write for a decade and move on but it almost feels like a marriage now and I don’t believe in divorce so I will continue to possibly entertain or irritate for a few more decades!

I apologise for my abrupt departure for a while but some wires were crossed and were just recently straightened to make a reunion possible. I am beyond honoured by the friendship of the readers who called and sent messages during my brief hiatus; I am also floored by the generosity of spirit of my publisher and the kindness of my editor. (I appreciate all the concessions).

Lately my vision has been enlarged by how little I am in the scheme of things. I don’t know whether I am the only person alive who feels insignificant and unimportant especially when you consider the big issues the world faces. Sometimes watching war, death, earthquakes, famine and so many evils makes my desires and personal prayers inconsequential. Lately I have found myself praying the prayer of petulance! I get down on my knees and ask God to pay attention to me.

I ask to be remembered because I sometimes feel forgotten and I ask for some “me time”; a time when I am divine priority. I guess it’s the nature of man to always want attention but lately I seem to crave a double dose of love from the Most High. It’s not a small world; it’s a big, humongous one and I am just a small creature needing validation.

I am watching television in between writing this article and my daughter demands we change from one of the news channels because they only make you scared and sad. I looked into her eyes and her expression mirrors mine; horror and fear. A man is charged with killing a 5-year old girl in England and he admits killing her but claims he has no idea what he did with her body!!

Last week I was appalled at the gang rape of another 5-year old girl in India and worse still horrified to find a 7-year old girl raped repeatedly right here in Lagos. Abomination is becoming common place and evil is everywhere. It is killing hope, fostering fear and making us all smaller.  Is it any wonder that all I can think of is making myself the centre of attention of the Most High against the backdrop of all these negative vibes?

So I guess if anyone was looking to me for some cheer in the weeks I was awol; they needn’t have bothered. Against this backdrop of dwindling glee; I started saying some prayers and made it a point to ask for God’s attention at all times (I am a student in the School of Disciples, so I have a new understanding of prayer). I was sure I felt a shift in the spiritual climate but like all things spiritual; its just one person’s perception. I shared my thoughts with my better half and he was very encouraging.

He had noticed how tired, burdened and overwhelmed I had been lately and expressed his concern. When the physical manifestation of that spiritual shift began my spirit was lifted. I have the attention I so crave and I am renewed and rejuvenated. I don’t think the world is a better and safer place but I am beginning to feel like a toddler who is seated on her father’s shoulders. The view is much better from up here and it feels a tad more secure.

At the Vanguard canteen over lunch on Monday I enjoyed an interesting argument. It was an explosive discourse on religion and modes of worship. At the table was a Christian who believed in ancestral worship, another Christian who dabbled in traditional worship, a catholic yogi, a protestant, an atheist and myself a born again Christian. Only at the Vanguard could you assemble such a mixed bag of flammables!!

I respect the right of belief of everyone and while I hold fast to my own truth, I try to respect even those views that run contrary to mine. I found all opinions mildly amusing except for that of the one person whose response to everyone else was disdain despite seemingly having the least knowledge or even wisdom for that matter. Rebellion is not attractive in middle age and one can only pray for enlightenment for those whose eyes have been blinded by the gods of the world and pure undiluted ignorance.

So here we go again or should that be here I am again! I initially was glad to rest my pen; I didn’t think I had anything more to say, write or share but I am told otherwise. The world may be big and I may feel like a grain of sand but then aren’t we all? It’s never a bad thing to reach out and rub minds; to offer words of comfort and encouragement; to share experiences and ideas. So hello, yet again!

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