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A GLIMPSE OF THE WORLD 2 (before I say I DO)

by Kingsley St John Enninful on Friday, November 13, 2009 at 8:15am (For a very very good friend) Years ago, in some of my enigmatic moments as a young person, I would scribble a quote here and sketch a picture there. I really didnt know why, but I knew I wasnt going crazy, thats for sure. One time I wrote down these words Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser. Now there is something I could relate to - a pencil. Not merely in its ability to write or sketch but that it has an eraser stuck to it back. That sense of being able to right the wrongs, erase the edges and make things perfect just as you picture it in the deep recesses of your imagination. Most of the time I have all these thoughts bouncing around in my head but with a pencil in my hand, the world just gets kinda quiet. God, the master artist has a plan in this topsy turvy stage in our lives right before we walk down the aisle and mutter those immortal words I DO. In a world that seeks to desacralize everything that we hold sacred, we are being forced to accept what the world has to offer. We suddenly seem not to know where the lines are anymore, how do we find a partner? What does it mean to be in love? Do I give my body before marriage? Do I date several people at the same time? Questions linger, answers vary. Torn between the sketchy lines of what people say (in most occasions that which we have come to accept) or what we believe to be true as God has said. We cry out. Who are we? Are we really all that which other men tell of? Or are we only what we ourselves know of ourselves? Restless and longing and sick, like birds in a cage, Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing our throats, Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds, Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, Tossing in expectation of great events, Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all? Who are we? This or the other? Are we one person today and tomorrow another?

Are we both at once? Hypocrites before others, And before ourselves contemptibly woebegone weaklings?

Knowing who we are, will help us see through lifes dim window and to catch a glimpse of the world and its allurements. Many times in conversation with friends, we have struggled with these issues. We have discussed it uncomfortably in some strange setting or in petty chats with each person fearing we might step on the others toes. But in these words our world as we know it is captured. The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. We've learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; we have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we've become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, sex before marriage, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill but more divorce; more broken homes.

Do we stand by what we have come to accept or do we do what we know is true. What we know is love. Join me as we take an imaginary journey in conversation and lets see what really the world has got to offer.

THE CONVERSATION
(A walk on the high street right from circle to the overhead) Bee: Can I ask you something, Kay? Kay: Sure. Bee: Do you believe in love at first sight? Kay (Startled for a while): By that do you mean the kind that would eventually lead to marriage? Bee: Yeah, kinda? Kay: Honestly I think great loves that lead to great marriages are not founded merely on seeing the other person for the first time, but its a process that develops along the way. Bee (Playing with her hair): So you dont right? Kay: Not in the way you put it. I think like at first sight is more reasonable. Like the way I felt the first time I saw you. Bee knocks him in on the head and giggles Bee: Stop kidding around. Kay: Serious. There was no way I could have said I was in love with you at that particular moment. Cos I liked you but I didnt know you. Remember I told you what to be in love means to me. Do you want to hear it again? Bee (Almost closing her eyes as if to savour the words): Slowly this time ok. Kay: love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you. Bee (Grinning): Awesome. So you mean to love someone you must know him? Kay: Yes. Love is too grand a thing to be determined merely by sight. Often we see with our eyes instead of seeing through our eyes with our conscience. How often have you seen something you think you like

and have gone closer only to realize it was not really what you wanted? Bee (Turning sharply) Aha! Then why do you guys always pick ladies based on how they look. Kay: Dont get me wrong Bee. There is nothing wrong with looking nice but that cannot become the only basis for love. Because in 20 years time you would not be as fresh as you look now. So if I said I loved you merely on how you look, what would keep me going after 20 years? Bee: I see! Is that why you men go out cheating with small small girls after you get married? Kay: Not all men, those who know that love is more than looks and not determined just by sight, see. Bee: I see! Hmm. Tell me what would guide you in choosing a woman to marry. Kay: Dont get heartache ok. First I would seek counsel from my parents, my pastor and people who have a big say in my life. Bee: You paa! That is old school. Kay: But truth is old school marriages worked. Our way is certainly not working. Bee: Then you must believe that virgins exist to. (Laughing hard and long). Kay: I dont know why you think that is funny really. But they sure do exist. You know how I find the bible very fascinating, right? Have you ever wondered why in describing Rebecca, Isaacs bride the bible says this she was pure, she was a virgin, neither had she lain with any man. The reason for that I believe is that the Hebrew word for virgin in there does not mean biological virginity; it can also be translated a young maiden. But just so you and I are sure, he punctuates it there as virgin, comma a woman who had lain with no man. Clearly, describing her as a woman who had treated her body as the temple of the living God. Bee: Ei! Osofo. Kay: Osofo or no Osofo, I think that it is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give to your partner. That you have respected this body, that you have treated it with all the purity in spite of all the surroundings of temptations. You have learned to honour this body as a temple that God has given to you. Bee: Our bodies, a temple? Kay: Yes. That is how God describes it. If you remember after He gave the details as to how He wanted the temple to be built to Moses He said this there I will dwell with you.

Bee: In other words when we go to church now we dont go to the sanctuary, we instead bring the sanctuary with us. Kay: Brilliantly captured. I firmly believe that in this mortal body God meets with me. And if I prostitute this body, if I squander it in illegitimate, adulterous, vile, relationships, if I have wasted the mandate of God for this body then He cannot meet with me here. For God cannot look upon sin in comfort. Bee: Hmm. Then your wife must be a lucky woman then. Kay: This is not just for me but for all of us. Bee: But you do know that this is so hard especially in our society. Kay: True but that is no justification is it? These are principles these are very precise you see. Thing is, you get into an illicit relationship and very soon you will be justifying any other illegitimacies and it will turn desire into disrespect if not hatred. Bee: Sometimes I just cant help myself. I hate all those guys who wanted me to proof my love by trying to make me sleep with them. I felt used, empty. But where do you stop really. How far can you go when you are in a relationship? Kay: You want a word of advice? Where to stop it? Let me read something for you, from a man you might consider archaic, Clovis Chappel, a Methodist preacher. (He shuffles through his pocket and brings out an old scrambled sheet) This is what he says about our modern films. Take, for example, our stage folk. They are neither better nor worse to begin with than the average. They are just ordinary human beings. But they play at love-making so much that it loses all its sacredness. Caresses become cheap and common things to be dispensed to almost any passer-by. Such a girl, to use a figure from James Lane Allan, becomes like a bunch of grapes above a common path where everybody that passes takes a grape. He who takes does so without reverence and to his own impoverishment. In the golden coin of real and abiding affection such spendthrifts soon become utter bankrupts. Where does it all begin? It begins by playing at love making. Bee: So what do we do? Kay: Be careful of those moments you spend alone. If you enter into a relationship make sure your times together are spent in places where you are accessible to others. The bible says put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh. Bee: Romans 13:14

Kay: Hahaha. Who is the Osofo now? Bee: I think you deserve a bottle of coke. Here let me get one for you. Kay: Wow! Thanks. You know that is one thing I would be looking for in a wife too. Bee: Coke? Kay: No silly, kindness. I really believe there is never a reason to be unkind either in words or in action. Bee: So tell me this, you seem to know so much, how come you are not in a relationship yourself? Kay: I think it is for the ready and willing. Bee: What do you mean by that? Kay: The Bible talks of our blessed Lord, when every eye shall see Him when He comes back for His church and even scriptural writers with all of their superlatives are unable to describe this grand scheme. And even our Lord Jesus told his disciples that they werent able to understand earthly things, how were they to understand heavenly things. Bee: Your point being? Kay: My point being, we talk of streets of gold, we talk of gates of pearl, we talk of angels, we talk of seraphims, we talk of cherubims. I am not sure we understand the grandness of all of that beauty. Jesus is the bridegroom coming for the bride at the TIME WHEN THE BRIDE IS READY FOR HIM. If marriage is as grand as the bible intended it to be then it is worth it waiting until you are ready for that right moment. Bee: So what do we do whiles we wait for that moment? Kay: We live our lives and we pray. I spoke to a friend who is marrying in two weeks. And I asked him how he managed to woo such a lovely lady. He said unblushingly I prayed for it. Bee: I find it so hard to pray. Kay: We all do. Selecting a good partner is the second most important thing we can ever do. We simply just cant give up and not pray. Bee: God help me then.

Kay: God help us all. We can talk all we can about dating, romance and relationships. But the real question is, are we willing to be men and women of prayer. So that as we are deeply devoted to God, He will reveal to us that partner of our lives and make us to be the person God wants us to be. That is what I believe is the FIRST STEP. They walked on silently as they approached the overhead. Each one thinking deeply of the eternal truths they had just shared. Marriage means handing over yourself, your body, your future, your keeping to the one whom you dearly love. Although this person in many ways, may still remain a stranger. This tremendous act of faith is something that can unlock in each lover, powers of compassion, generosity, joy, passion, fidelity and hope that no one guessed was even there. That is why the confidence of young lovers is not foolish or arrogant but is an expression of a basic fact in human experience that the greatest of all human gifts are said to work only when people are prepared to RISK EVERYTHING. And first you risk it before God.

Selection by an authority other than your self, the kindness of the person that is being selected, looking for purity, being a man or woman of prayer. Can we leave the world behind us and practice these or as the poet says are we ourselves contemptibly woebegone weaklings? No we are not. That is why the poem ends with these very words Or is something within us still like a beaten army, Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? Who are we? They mock us, these lonely questions of ours. Whoever we are, Thou knowest, 0 God, we are Yours!

[References: Who am I by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Isaac, take thee Rebecca by Ravi Zacharias, Paradox of our time by Dr. Bob Moorehead]