The election/selection (forgive me…I am not sure what the ‘spiritually correct’ word should be) of the new pope got me thinking of spiritual health? What comes to your mind when you hear this? Whether you are born again? A pastor? An imam? A worker in church? Whether you’ve got your pastor or imam on speed dial? Well, I mean none of those things…though I am sure it is perfectly appropriate to do or be one or more of the above. This is something a little different. Something that we do not readily ascribe to health…our feeling of being at peace with ourselves and the world!
The bible tells us that as much as possible, we should live in peace with all men and I oftentimes wonder at the conditionality of the ‘as much as possible’. Now I am not a pastor and would not dare to start a religious dissection of this bible verse…there are others who are better versed at this than my poor ordinary self. However, I would go as far as suggesting that the conditionality in this sentence perhaps implies that irrespective of our very best efforts (which sometimes includes bending over backwards, walking on our heads and sometimes shedding blood!), there are just those who would never see anything good with anything we do! It could be a neighbor (who just doesn’t like you because you generally mind your business and don’t stop over to chat and discuss the other neighbours); it could be your former customer in the market (who has decided that 3rd world war isn’t about to happen fast enough and needs some help coming up earlier, just because the last time you came to the market, you purchased fruits from someone else); it could be someone who just thinks ‘your own is too much sef’ because you like to carry yourself in a particular way or speak ‘properly’ (we shall gingerly step over the exact meaning of ‘speaking properly’); it could be your in-laws, boss in the office, colleagues or even (horror of all horrors), your co-workers in church!
Now how do you handle this? Remain at peace with yourself doing nothing to provoke them but generally being yourself knowing that whatsoever good you do, you shall reap. Understand that the only person who can really ruin your mood or peace within yourself is anyone you give the permission. If you do not give the permission then they do not have access. Whenever they get under your skin and you are threatened to retort or retaliate, listen to your heart pounding, feel your tummy tighten and an ache start there ,watch your hands trembling and your body getting ready to move in whatever direction you wish to propel it. All these are the results of substances released into your blood stream by that loss of peace and resultant anger. These combine to give you stomach ulcers, hypertension, diabetes and other disease conditions that have long term effects.
So, as difficult as it may sound, when you ignore these people who upset you (for the purpose of this post, we shall call them irritants! Just because I think it’s easier and quicker to write that, and not because I am being mean and classifying people in a derogatory way…I think! Anyways, hopefully my pastor does not get to read this and call me in for deliverance!), you’re really doing it for you and not so much for them. You want to live long and healthy and so any activity (legal, of course) that takes you there is a good one. Remember, we are enjoined to love our neighbor as ourselves…not more than ourselves! (Now my pastor must really be squirming!!!). Take for instance this story. I was driving out of my house one day and wham! A bus from nowhere just appears…and hits me! I sat down in my car minding my business, telling myself that it didn’t really matter, to ignore him and move on. I had convinced myself that this made sense when all of a sudden I heard quite a bit of noise. Looking up, I realized that during my period of meditation (in a bid not to lose my peace and ‘click ignore’) this bus driver kinda got the impression that I was a JJC and thus started raining abuses on me, the details of which I shall not burden you with! The summary though, was that I was a woman who did not think she should use a driver because she wanted to show the world she could drive myself and that I should go and park that thing (!) and stop blocking people on the road! That was it! In one split second, all that peace disappeared! I became a seething raving mass of human! I came out of my car, went to the bus and ordered him to get out and do something about my car. In the meantime, traffic had built up behind both of us on both sides. (Did I see you cringing? Well, if you live in Lagos…you’re kinda used to this sight L).
From somewhere behind me, I heard the voice of the head teacher of my daughter’s school call out to me. That was like a bucket of cold water dumped over me. My heart slowed down, my tummy ache reduced and all of a sudden, I saw the light! What on earth am I doing in the middle of a road screaming at a bus driver…who by the way, at that time was prostrating, begging for mercy!
Lesson in this, let it all go…put it in a bubble, blow it away! You can’t win with the bus drivers. They start off abusing you, they end up, prostrating before you. At the end of the day, you are left with chronic ailments and a battered car…which still has to be fixed! In the spirit of spiritual health…I reject it in Jesus’ name on behalf of all of us!!!!
Here’s to…..a healthier you!
Good, sound advice but truth is that it is never easy to swallow! The irritants can sometimes be very annoying and really determined to upset you. The bus driver could choose to rave and rant more than prostrate and beg. And unfortunately, our children’s head teachers are not always there to provide that bucket-of-cold-water effect. That is where our own personal determination to do right, be right and keep right AT ALL TIMES comes in.