Hello everyone ,
You must please forgive the absence. This compulsory year of National Youth Service in Nigeria is neither for the Weak nor for the faint hearted. You would think that after the three weeks spent at the Youth Service orientation camp, life would sort of slow down and ease up but really that is when it hits the accelerate button. That is when every single aspect of your life would decide to show you how ‘adulting’ truly plays out. Either way, I am grateful.
I was writing a post on sexual abuse which took so much longer than i expected it to but i have put that on hold , for good reason. Today I would be sharing what Granny said.
I spent last weekend ( Easter Weekend) with my grandmother and we had a lot of sit outs. It gave me the chance to draw from her well of wisdom and experience . An opportunity I am not only grateful for but I would never swap for anything in the world. It was wonderful to just chill with my mums own mum. It is amazing how similar they are and how much the look alike.
My grandmother amazes me. She would be eighty-five this year but she remembers people and events so accurately. She still conducts her daily activities like she is in her fifties . She knows where the key to each locked door is or which store has what item. One habit of hers I found particularly interesting was that daily , she would have her care taker pluck her Vernovia ( popularly known as bitter leaf ) and keep in a plate for her to snack on anytime she felt like snacking . It just amazes me how alert an elderly person can be. I remember a previous visit I paid her back in 2015, she asked if I had a lamp in case the power went out and I told her I did not. She told me to come to her room and get one but I forgot to do so before she retired to bed. To my surprise much later when the power went out she came to my room with a lamp for me, ” chiamaka , take the lamp ,you did not come to take it”. This time around when I arrived she ran through a checklist of questions on whether I had come with one item or the other , waiting for me to say no so she could direct me to where to get whatever. ” Did you bring toilet paper” ” yes Granny. ” ” Bed sheet ?” “I did. ” ” A duvet ? ” ” No. ” when its time for bed I would give you one.” which she did without me reminding her . I am just thankful that even though she is getting older she is not besides herself.
Asides giving me life advice and recounting her experience of the Nigerian Civil war of 1963 to me, she spoke about marriage. I would be sharing ( in no particular order ) the bits I can articulate as simply as possible.
In no particular order…
Tolerance: My gran emphasised that marriage in itself is a game of tolerance . A paraphrase of how she put it is that tolerance really makes up a marriage and it is very bitter . She compared tolerance to the vegetable Vernonia amygdalina(which Nigerians call bitter leaf) . She said bitter leaf is not even as bitter as tolerance because it leaves a sweet aftertaste. Tolerance on the other hand is bitter all through but it helps in keeping the home unit.
Keeping pure hands and heart : She spoke of integrity in every circumstance one finds themselves. False accusers exist , bad influences would come, wrong doers may come but you must never vary your standards . She gave an instance of a misunderstanding she had with someone after the Nigerian civil war had ended. Apparently aid had been sent and the person was in charge of sharing and delivering rations . She felt he may gave forgotten to give the family theirs and sent word to remind him. This must must have upset him for some reason because the person in question angrily drove into the compound ( she pointed at the spot he parked) . He then got out of his car and threatened that he would show her that she was a stranger in the family ( the family into which she had married ! ridiculous ). When he finished he drove off. She said immediately he left she went up to the spot, knelt and said to God that if He wills let it be so but that if he sees her pure heart and hands over the matter that he he should deal with the matter accordingly. Apparently , some days after this the threat giver was put to shame. To her she could not explain what happened but his days of cheating people came to an end.
Forgiveness: Never hold anyone or their offence in your heart. Learn to let whatever anyone does to you go. She told me how one day before my grandfather died he asked her to forgive her anything he had done to her in his lifetime and to return and speak to him on anything she had in mind. She told me how surprised she was that he said that and she feared he was dying . She told him there was nothing she had against him and all he ever did, she had forgiven. She told me it was funny to her because if she held unto whatever he had done over the years, they would not have made it to fifty-four years in marriage before he passed on.
Observation & Dialogue: Granny also mentioned that before marriage, it is important to observe and pin point what ever you do not like in your partner. She said after this it is always good to discuss. Never run from dialogue. She emphasised that dialogue is to be conducted maturely and not with raised voices , high tempers and insults being thrown around .The culture of dialogue must be carried into marriage and nurtured. Always discuss and if you know from time that a certain issue would bug you through out your marriage you then probably should not venture into the marriage. She rounded that point up with ” no man is perfect “. Meaning do not be too harsh or quick to find reason to call off an engagement thinking that a perfect man would come because no man is perfect.
I am confident you picked a thing or two from my version of grans articulated well of wisdom.