The Jesus Problem 3

Today was loooooong! It was my rest day from my usual workouts. I planned to stay Indoors but that has never ever worked out for me. I’m glad i went out because a friend became ill and needed my help. I was glad I could be there.
But throughout today, I kept thinking about my friend Frank and my “Jesus Problem” story.
 It was a little bit  disappointing to come online and find out that no one had missed it. And it made me think again about life, how fleeting attention can be. Die now, and if you didn’t do a good work, people will forget about you. Only your work can speak for you.

As I was pondering these things, a wild flash ran through my mind.

Rain had fallen that day and the floor was messed up. We had been playing ball since 9am in the morning. Why? We were done with exams. Secondary school after exam life was the bomb! However, I wasn’t playing that day. I was in the stands in the company of about 4 babes. We were seeing the games and talking. I enjoyed that part of football a lot! Frank had done his magic on the pitch and was really tired. So he came up to me, and asked for my bottle of water. I gladly gave him; I couldn’t appear mean before the ladies. When we were done, he and I started home. We had a huge convoy of students follow us, and one after the other they trickled out into their respective streets. Eventually the great company of friends was decimated to just two of us — Frank and I. I can’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I remember how I felt. Pity!

Here was a kid with a seemingly perfect life, but he was haunted by the perfection in that life.

Thinking of it now, it seems to me that he was subconsciously revolting. Not against anybody, but against a lie. That revolt was completely misappropriated.

Let me go deeper.

He told me of how he would freeze in the exam hall thinking of the fact that his brother would have done better. How he tried to measure up to his brother.

How he hoped he could be loved like his brother.

How he felt life was unfair to him etc.

Somewhere inside him, he knew those statements were not necessary.

But somewhere else, every external occurrence had taught him to hate his own skin. To believe his brother was better.

He believed a lie so well, that it showed up in his performances.

Frank believed he was so poor at anything, because his brother was better at it.

Looking back now, I do not see why he went through such emotional drama. But he did.

Thinking of it, I began to ask myself simple questions and establish basic premises for judgement in my mind.

I am honestly convinced, fully persuaded, unequivocally vehement in my stand that our definitions of things especially outer things are a product of how we see ourselves.

A young chap like that.

With such brightness of mind.

Yet he defined his world as better than him. Not because that was the actual truth.

But because he saw himself as small….cheap…an after thought. He couldn’t see himself past his blinds.

He couldn’t see that he had the same DNA mix with his brother. Or that he could be better!

3 days ago I got news. Not strange news now that I think of it.
My friend Frank is dead.
Suicide. Yes, Suicide.
It seems he never got out of that shadow.
And as I write this… I see it.
It’s the Jesus Problem.
(To be concluded)


The Jesus Problem 2

*The Jesus Problem*
One of the strangest things about life is paradigm. If you check Webster’s you will find this definition of the word ‘Paradigm’: a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind” 
Well all that is big big grammar. Every time I think of the word paradigm, I always have the picture of blinds in my mind or windscreen or window panes. If you stand behind a window and try to look through it at the surrounding areas, you will see the surroundings through it. If the blinds are dark, the environment will look darker than they usually are. Paradigms for me are like that: mental frameworks that help us interpret our world. The problem most times is that we  forget that we are looking through blinds and that the world might not be exactly the way we see it.

Paradigms are great — they help us see our world, giving us a framework for reference.

But that’s the problem… That is the reason they can become prisons!

Yes, where was I…

Frank and I walked towards his house, which was one turn away from mine. It was amazing to see the order on his street. It was so funny as I was just screaming over the cute cars I saw parked outside people’s garage and then the fine girls! Gosh!

Let me digress a little…

In secondary school, my code name was “Mojo” or “Mojojojo.” Remember Powerpuff Girls? Now imagine that instead of creating evil stuff, Mojojojo created cute lingerie and always talked about cute girls… That gives you a background story. Between both of us, Frank was the calmer one, the one the girls liked but always perceived  he was naive. I was the one the girls used to talk to about him and eventually the girls would get carried away by my outgoing personality. So we had a sort of symbiotic relationship he could attract the girls, I could keep them. That’s how we became friends.

Then we bonded on Arithmetics

And football

(Stay with the discourse MJ stop digressing)

When we got to his gate, he hesitated to get in… I had to take a step back because I was agitated by his hesitancy. Did they have a big dog? It had to be big enough to scare it’s owner.  But Frank loves dogs — that’s another thing we bonded on.

Well, he continued in and faked a smile. I remember that smile — It was too fake. I know my friend. I know when he was excited. I had seen him score many goals. This, was nothing like it. This was the kind of smile he had on him when I told him May liked me. He liked May. But she liked spending time with me. I promised him I would keep my distance since it made him uncomfortable. I kept my word… But I still remember that smile.
Well, we were in the compound…. It’s all this English styled compounds that didn’t have our classical Nigerian prison gates. We walked in and I noticed the fake smile weaning.
See, as I write this I am almost standing in that place in time….A small boy with his friend that was slowly dying and I didn’t know what to do.
Well, we got in to the main house.

His mother was warm towards me. She had heard about Usen the boy genius, member of the “Fantastic Four.” Well, I still feel it was all over rated though.

But she was cold towards him.

I noticed.

It’s alright.

He slipped into his room and slipped the socks into my bag…. I wanted to go into the room with him, but his mother would not let me out of her gaze with talks about all my accolades and how her son had a great friend and how he didn’t wash plates etc.,  as though she lived in my house and knew that I washed plates.

It intensified when he came out of the room… She simply ridiculed him. I don’t know what her plan was. I was Frank’s closest friend. What she was doing couldn’t change my view of my friend.
So as I said “let me be going ma”, she slipped 200 NGN in my palms and said In a thick Igbo accent “bye dia, greet ya mammy”

 That was the longest walk I have ever been in to a person’s gate. We were both quiet.

So we got to the gate, and before we could open it, it was swung open by a huge formally dressed hunk of a man. I can’t remember his name, but I remember he was Frank’s elder brother. He barely paid any attention to our pleasantries as he walked into the house like a god. As Frank’s mother saw him, she ran out to him and screamed “my son!” She hugged him took his small bag from him and walked him in.

If I had known, I would have kept my mouth shut. As we left the gate into the streets, I asked Frank “where did he travel to?” He just kept looking at me like he was seeing a puzzle with no answer in sight. “Did he come back from a trip” I asked and I saw that former look blur. As it came back into focus, Frank was in tears. He understood why I asked that question. 

The problem wasn’t that Frank wasn’t a good boy. Actually the problem was that his brother was a great Son.

Another problem was that everyone had forgotten a simple fact; great was first good. Great couldn’t be great if it wasn’t good.

I left him crying. I couldn’t keep him from crying. I practically ran away because I didn’t know what to do.

If that was all, it wouldn’t be a major issue. But more events followed and I remember every bit of them.

(To be continued)


The Jesus Problem

I remember Frank

I woke up thinking about him.

See, I never grew up knowing an older sibling because I was (and am) the first child in the house. So I could never logically understand what it felt like to have someone else that wasn’t mummy or daddy care for me, bully me, give me the stare — Nigerian kids instinctively know what I mean by the stare — or boss me around. I was the older one. No fears nothing.
So I could never fully understand Frank. 
He was the brightest kid on our football team; Frank was a god at football, short, but fast. His mentor was Jay Jay as he devoted his life in the service and observation of the man. If you made a derogatory statement about Jay Jay, Frank could abstain from talking to you like you were some plague and he would begin a silent revolution against you.
In class, he was also active a real bright chap. I enjoyed mathematics and I enjoyed solving Maths with Frank. I also enjoyed being on the pitch with him.
So I could not understand why he constantly failed in class.
His results were below average, or just hanging on to the average class. But I knew him. He was my friend. I knew his mind was of the same range with Sumbo’s, Chima’s, Tobi’s and mine — four of us were not just the Schools fantastic four, we were at one time, Nigeria’s fantastic four, but that’s talk for another day.
So one day, after playing football I decided to stop at his place with him and get a change of socks — I used to play with my socks and it would get dirty. It also meant I would die by the time mummy saw the socks. On getting to his house, I saw something I didn’t understand then. Something I understand now, something i call

“The Jesus Problem”
(to be continued)