I think Christians and Nigerians don’t know how to (allow people) grieve or celebrate (well).
Double wahala for who be Nigerian Christian.
Our testimonies are often of the “I better pass my neighbour” variety. As if these good things lose value without comparison. For the more dignified, the flippant and insincere “Na God o” / ” it’s not a big deal” is a poor attempt to mask the pride in our hearts.
Our pain is often surpressed, we act like if we admit the severity / hopelessness of our situation, we are denouncing God’s sovereignty or cementing our fate.
So, we stuff our mouths with platitudes, whilst our worries continue to fester. We shut down anyone who expresses concern with “these things happen for a reason” or “na oyinbo person problem be that”.
BUT! Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to have issues that transcend discernible reason and continents… Like a Pandemic. Like COVID-19.
First, we are thankful it’s only in China – but we pray for the Chinese, afterall – we are good Christians. Then, we are thankful that it’s not in Africa but we pray for the rest of the world – because – you know – Christian duty.
Then, it gets to Nigeria. The prayers don’t stop but the tension is palpable, we’ve seen it ravage countries with far superior health infrastructure to ours and now it’s our turn.
We wait. We panic internally. We bake banana bread. We buy onions. We start drinking ginger. We panic externally. We wait.
Nothing to see here… Just calmly baking banana bread.
International businesses shut down, death tolls pile, everyday we find out something about this virus we didn’t know before. One thing is clear – we know that we don’t know anything.
As “saner climates” start going into lockdown and we follow suit. The country is torn. Some people say ‘it’s just cold’ and others are being whipped into an emotional frenzy. Others have been in a frenzy because they have seen and / experienced the sheer insidiousness of this virus.
As the days pass, anxieties grow – anxiety of the unknown, anxiety that you are not maximising your productivity in this period and finding opportunities, anxiety that your essential business will crumble under the sheer weight of increased demand. Anxiety over job security.
For some, the lockdown was claustrophobic – everyone is at home. ALL. THE. TIME.
For others, our desire to be loved, wanted and coupled up plagued the emptiness of our hearts and homes.
For some, stagnation. Plans are in limbo and others postponed until their inevitable cancellation.
For others, we’ve had to shrink ourselves, douse our happiness and adorn a cloak of constant collective gloominess because admitting we’ve had a great year, in the midst of this chaos, opens us up to “read the room” guilt and accusations of insensitivity.
Anyway you slice it, 2020 has been something.
The real highlight of this year (and every and any year) is that we serve a kind and merciful God – a God who loves us and is close to us. A God who has good plans for us – individually and collectively.
He can and will make every seemingly senseless low and extensive euphoric high an avenue to grow, cling and become more like him.
THIS is our Christian hope and for this we are thankful.
So, grieve if you must, laugh when you can, rest constantly and pray always.