Monday, September 7, 2009

Part of a Writing

Love: An Orientation

What if love were real?
What if love were intimate and close?
What if love were here?

What if we had such a desire for rightesouness and justice that we no longer had to stop ourselves and ask "'O man, what is good?'" but instead were justified by this righteousness and compassion that it becomes simple. It becomes simple to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. It becomes simple to not look away from the homeless person in order to avoid giving. Rather, it becomes an orientation. Our orientation.

And, I don't just say our because it's in me or can be accomplished by one person alone. It takes a joint effort. People, coming together in unity, a community, acting as a symphony with one rythym and one beat as we take this message of love to the street...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Coming home in three days!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I heard MJ died this week? This is a truly sad story. His words were so inspiring. Once I get back home, I am turning on the songs, "Heal the World," and "Will You Be There?" I would recommend them to everyone. Note the beauty of the key changes in his songs too!

Although his death saddens many, let us "Keep the Faith," as he says, and continue to dwell on the happy moments and happy times we all had while listening to his music in private and public, rejoicing in the beauty of his music, lyrics, and message.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fear of the Unknown!

What is it about me that I so desire to stay comfortable? That I prefer to do things like I know how? To speak a language I speak well? To not talk to strangers? To spend more time in the doctor's lounge than on the ward floor or in a patient's room (lately, after ward rounds I have been complacement and just remained in the doctor's lounge instead of trying to stay around where things are actually happening)?

I feel like I'm in the third grade Mrs. South's class...and I just got back an english test grade and I need to get my parents to sign it or else I won't get the two points extra credit....or I'm in the 7th grade and I need some extra credit in a class and I have to go ask the teacher, but I'm scared too...b/c I'm afraid...afraid the teacher will _____. Exactly. Nothing. She won't bite my head off....She won't physically attack me...What will she do? Say No? Say something that in the end will probably only help me? If I continue to stay comfortable, then how will I truly learn? If I'm not willing to choose boldness and choose action, then how can I be a healing hand or a hope for anyone?

There was so much potential for this trip. A lot of it was seen and used. I feel, though, that after the first week or two, I leveled off...that is...I hit a standstill because I became comfortable. The good thing is there is still more potential to learn more these last 7 days. I head back to Atlanta next Thursday, and then back to school the following Monday. When I get back to the hospital tomorrow, I hope that I apply what I've said here to the environment. I could be applying it today, but I became pretty sick yesterday and last night...and so I couldn't go to work today. Things are looking better now and I should return to work tomorrow.

Our actions can be so powerful, but only if we choose to act. Our words can be so powerful, but only if we choose to speak. We have the choice.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Love the Person in Front of You

Sorry for the lack of continuation on the last post. I am almost out of time again at the internet cafe, and so I will not be able to finish. I did want to write something and that was just the title of this post: love the person in front of you.

It's true...there is so much wrong in the world. So much death, persecution, oppression, sadness, suffering, false hopes, lost hopes. But there is also hope...hope in the work that we can do. That hope can lead to action (and in turn life) if we choose to love the person in front of us. It takes more than one of us. It takes all of us.

If we can become a community of healing and loving hands, then we will, like Michael Jackson says in his song, "Heal the World," "together cry happy tears."

In a hope that comes Today,


Friday, June 19, 2009

Love: Giving and Accepting

I was reading a book today and I came across the prayer of St. Francis.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

This prayer is so powerful. It asks not only for strength, but it asks for God to let us be a force. A force of peace, love, forgiveness, faith, hope, light, and joy. Then, the prayer asks to seek to help put others first. Because in all these things, we are still receiving.

There is still this other side though...of love. Accepting. This can be a multitude of things, which I will hopefully expand on this weekend. Out of time. :(

Stay well, all.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Denying to Believe in Something Bigger

[First, I want to apologise to people who I haven't emailed back, yet. I received them and am really grateful to hearing your voice and words when I open them up. It's really encouraging and rewarding to come to the cafe and have emails from you guys. I will try to respond as I can. If I do not respond by July 4, I will definitely respond that week of July 6th, when I come back and access will be easier! Really, sincerely..sorry.]

This past weekend, I went to the village. It was about a 10 hour drive from Lagos due to the bad roads and a couple of go-slows, but we made it. Seeing family was really nice...even if we did not talk much. It's different just coming by myself...normally my Dad or Mom would talk a lot with everyone, and us kids would kind of hang out with each other or talk to our cousins sometimes, but I always had them for comfort and conversation. Comfort...something I've been thinking about.

I look at my life. I see nothing but comfort. A roof over my on the table...a school to attend...if I wanted to name all the material things I had it would take a long of course I'm comfortable. But then there is this element of conversation that comes in? The silent conversations are sometimes the ones I hear the most.

On the car ride back from the village yesterday, I was talking with myself. I read the verse in John, chapter 4, verse 48, I think..It says something (I don't have a bible on me right now) like "When will you stop asking for miraculous signs and wonders?" Something along the lines of "Why do you need a miracle or sign to believe in me?" So why do we?

Two thoughts come to my mind: First, wait...stop....we already do have these miracles around us...check out the sky outside? the setting sun? the human body? the intricacies of DNA, cellular respiration, the healing of the human body? Are these not miracles themselves? Second, what about the life that Jesus led along with the miracles he performed? These ideas of love, compassion, grace, mercy, humility, me...the very essence and definition of these words are desirable...and if we desire them....what is at stake if we try to live by them? What is more, having something mightier than you, mightier than me, mightier than money...what if we had something bigger helping us to live out a life of these qualities?

I think for me, part of my the disbelief was so intentional...because I know that if you choose to follow and take up the cross, my whole life changes...and all of a sudden, it's not about me. I think there was a fear that it would be hard...a fear that I have to face the problems I see in the world not as an observer but as a participant. Because, then it's on me (with others of course) to live out Luke 4:16...because deep in all of our hearts, we want to change things. We don't like to see someone who cannot walk or afford healthcare...we don't want to see someone bleeding on the side of the road...we don't desire to see the news of violence continuing in the Niger Delta. For me, it's taken a lot of thinking...a lot of hope...and a lot of want to change...and to desire that change. I know I still have a loooooooong way to go on desiring it have a true heart of love...but if we look around at each other...we all have stories. stories of our day, week, year, and life. If it were just about me, why would we have those stories?

I look around me...and I can't deny I believe anymore. We can't deny we believe anymore...because when we do, we are only taking a step backwards from the change that so many of us deep down inside desire to see, witness, and be.

Let's take our hearts to a higher place
Transforming this body to an act of grace
In everything we do, a smile on our face
As we run this race, this race, this race.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Random, I know. So appropriate though, for everyone in life. We have choices. Sometimes we have two options, sometimes three or more. But what boundaries or possibilities are there in choice? Endless.

"I want to know God's thoughts. The rest are just details." Albert Einstein

The math genius said something along those lines. I was thinking about that quote after yesterday's post. I wonder what choice would look like if we did see the world through the eyes of God. What kind of way would or could we approach life if we perceived any and every situation the way God would? I guess we can try though, right? We can ask ourselves in "any and every situation, "How would God approach or look at this? What would he say or do?" I've been thinking about that while being in the hospital. Today, the first patient I saw at the hospital was a woman who was suffering. Breathing was heavy. Pulse, both fast and faint. Foaming at the mouth. Suffering. I won't go into all the medical terms, because I doubt I really know them anyway, but I really do wonder what God is doing here? The other doctor that was attending to the patient is a Christian. She is trusting and praying too. We walked outside and the family had wanted to go in and pray with their relative. God was alive in the room, outside the room, and in the family's hearts. It was cool though. I talked with them for a couple minutes after and it turns out one man lived in NY for a long time. The sister had a daughter in Decatur, GA. She is a nurse. Funny that I, a 19 yr. old boy, would end up observing the treatment of a patient whose family lived less than 100 miles from my house back in Atlanta? I ask myself sometimes, what is going on here, both in this moment, and in this world? How can we stop and look at a situation and try to see what God is doing? What growth is occuring? What good is happening? How, then, can we seize this moment?

We can choose to seize it. I'm reading a book (recommended by a friend) entitled Chasing Daylight. It is all about "seizing divine moments." It's true. The back of the book said something about forgetting fear...that what if instead of having fear of falling backwards, we anticipate the beauty of constantly falling forwards...rolling..stumbling..picking ourselves back up as we move towards the light and towards the good of the world.

Choice. Choose to do good. Choose to have mercy. I realized lately how much of a life of convenience I have been living. Even if it's just in my heart and how intently I listen to a conversation or the much I'm spending on learning about medicine while I'm here...I wonder, how much good all of us, both separately and together, could do if we choose to be intentional, bold, and loving.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Power of Perspective

Hmmm...this was a really poor job on my part...keeping a blog. Well, the important this is that I am now finally writing. I have been writing since the day I arrived in Lagos in my journal and on my computer, but I have yet to put anything online. I didn't bring any specific to write today, but maybe will post about the journey thus far.

It is June 9th, and today is my 10th day here. I am working at the Havana Hospital here and it is amazing. Seeing death is hard. Seeing healing can be harder because it only leads to the question of why death? From my perspective, I don't understand. But that's the powerful is my perspective, and how powerful is the perspective of a community?

It is my plan to find out more what the means. I've mentioned the phrase "a community of healing hands" before, and I truly felt that while I was here. Last Friday, one patient was in a poor condition after some complications after an appendectomy (I believe that was the procedure). Young man, if you ask me, and his condition was worsening. I know very little about medicine, but I do know what healing looks like and what the power of healing looks like. On that day, five of us (nurses, doctors, and myself) clasped our hands in prayer both separately and together. But when I came into work on Monday, one of the doctors at the hospital informed me that the man had passed away early Saturday morning. I was so sure all weekend that the prayers would be answered. That the man would be sitting upright and laughing when I saw him on Monday.

I was talking to another one of my friends about it from back home, and she made a good point: even though the prayer was unanswered--in a sense--it is still so powerful. I think back to the power and community I felt I had found here only after one week in Nigeria. I was able to witness firsthand the faith of true healers in this world. I found faithful doctors, nurses, and humans, pleading with God to save this man's life. I was able to find that community of healing hands that I so desired to find.

The Power of Perspective. I can only imagine what it would be like to see every situation through God's eyes. I hope to develop an increased vision in the days, weeks, and years to come in my life. I hope to develop perspective.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Beginning

I have just created this blog: Okwukwe - Faith in the Igbo language.

I hope that this experience presents me with the tools and motivation to write out the daily happenings of my life, the meaning behind these occurences, and the implications they have on my future.

Jisie Ike!