After cooking I picked up my phone and went straight to WhatsApp. My coursemates would have littered the class group chat with messages but I needed to find the useful one in the pile. I waited patiently for all the messages to display and there it was as the last received message ‘Emmanuel prayer leader’. The devil is a liar. I went to my class group and searched for any information regarding a test for the following day. I saw nothing so I dropped the phone.
I dished my food and sat down to eat. My mind wandered to the message. It was just a message I told my brain but that was a lie to keep myself at ease. All he did was ask about my well-being as he had not seen me in fellowship for a while. My heart longed for him to say more but my brain knew this was only brotherly love. I gathered myself together and told him I was not feeling fine. He prayed for me and reminded me of the healing I had in Christ. Guilt washed me, I had lied to a man of God. I thanked him and wished him a lovely week.
The food seemed to displease me now but I ate it eventually, my hours of labour will not go to waste. I picked up my book after eating and went straight to the reading room where I eventually slept off.
By 5 am Fikemi came to tap me. I would say we were the only inhabitant of the reading room. Fikemi was a 4th-year medical student preparing for a major exam. That room had been her abode since we resumed the session. She told me she would like to pray with me. I wondered why but I obliged. We parted after the prayer and I went to prepare for class.
Exhausted from the day’s work, I practically dragged my feet as I moved to my hostel. We did not have the test but that didn’t stop the heavy transmission of information from the lecturers to the students within eight hours. I laid on the bed to allow this fagged out body rejuvenate. My body rested but my mind didn’t as I ran through the event of the previous weeks. The feeling of guilt was beginning to wash over me again. I was grateful when sleep started to creep in, defeating the reign of this troubled mind.
The thunderstorm violently sounded as though it was announcing the presence of the incoming rain. I rolled from one side of the bed to another hoping to continue my journey in the land of dreams that was cut short. I couldn’t so I sat up as the wind sent down chills through my body. My roommate must have opened the window. A glance through the clock on the wall said it was 8 pm. I slept in, I thought to myself. I picked up my phone, notebook and wallet, a hit on my skin by the wind reminded me to pick a jacket. I tiptoed out of the room careful not to disturb my roommate who was far away in the dreamland.
The cafeteria was the only option for the night. I took a careful stroll down the hall, taking in lungfuls of breath along the way. How I love the smell of rain. After eating, I went to the reading room. Feyikemi was already there and she flashed me a smile as I entered. I smiled back as I moved to my self-acclaimed seat. I opened my book trying to go through what we were taught during the day but the book seemed blank. I felt the urge to walk over to Feyikemi but I silenced the thought over and over again. What will I tell her? My heart kept beating like it was going to pounce out of my chest.
I went over to her seat and she raised her face from her book with the same smile I had received earlier plastered on her face. “Are you busy?” Of course, I could see her reading but I was hoping for a positive response as I fidgeted with my hands hung at my back.
“Yes, but I can listen. What’s up?” She asked directing me to the chair beside her.
I took a long deep gulping every spittle that had formed in my mouth. My mouth was open but the words were not forming.
“Calm down. Take as long as you want, I’m willing to listen” She reassured me with her smile.
I started to spill and mention every detail I could remember. She kept her cool throughout. I wonder how she was able to keep her facial expression calm. When I was done, she reached for my hand and led us in prayer. That was an unforgettable moment for me. The peace that came as we prayed was beyond me. I understood what Paul meant when he said the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding…”. It felt as though the burden of an entire country was lifted off my shoulder. Her final ‘Amen’ jolted me back to reality.
She started by expressing her joy that I had spoken up. She made me understand that these things were normal. “You are human, you have emotions and there is a reason they are there”. She said. She explained that what mattered was what I did with my emotions. She shared with me a story when she had a similar experience.
“I was the assistant treasurer in my third year in my fellowship and I worked closely with the treasurer during that period.” She kept a pen on the page she was reading and closed the textbook.
“He was nice. Always checking up on me and praying with me. We were getting close but I didn’t mind. A point came when I started to compare his qualities with the one I wanted for a partner in my head. I was getting attracted to him and I smelt trouble in the long run so I went to my vice president and narrated everything to her. She prayed with me and told me the same words I said earlier. She told nothing should ever take the place of my relationship with God. She told me that God is ever willing to listen to me so I should tell Him how I fee because I am his child. I followed her instructions and prayed about it. I felt a need to draw back from him. I stopped our long chats and limited our conversations to the work only.” I smiled imagining this beautiful soul before me being stern.
“Some weeks went by and I was balanced again. I prayed for the grace to love him as Christ loved him, no more. I gradually started to learn that. He noticed the withdrawal and asked me about it. I explained to him. He handled it well better than I imagined.” She smiled.
“He must have been used to getting such advances. Together we were able to keep our friendship in check and I was really happy about that. I ensured to report back to my vice president regularly.” She stopped.
The rain clouds had started to pour their content on the earth but she remained unbothered as she continued, this time with a serious expression, “Nothing is worth your relationship with God. These things happen and God wants to be involved in them with us. He wants us to tell him and let him lead us to take the right decision”. I nodded listening with every iota of concentration in me.
She continued, “So I want you to go back to pray. Ask for mercy and tell Him about what is happening. He will direct you. He loves you.” these were the most reassuring words I had heard in weeks.
“Thank you”, I said with all my heart.
I left so she could continue reading her book. A sense of relief swept through me as I opened my book to read. I left the reading room early so I could go to pray. It was the most heartfelt prayer I had ever said. I read my bible and continued like that through the week. I went for bible study the following Tuesday. We saw after service and he asked about my well-being. I told him I wasn’t feeling sick but I didn’t feel like coming for service. He nodded. I wondered if he did that in understanding but I didn’t ask. Dupe eventually came to meet us after exchanging pleasantries with everyone she could.
After prayer that night, I felt there was a need for me to be more active in the fellowship. The prayer Feyikemi told me came to mind and I asked God to help me love Emmanuel the way he loved him. I felt the need to build relationships with other people from fellowship and school. I needed to come out of my corner. I prayed for the Holy Spirit’s help and joined the workforce in fellowship. I also became more active in my class. It was amazing the number of classmates I didn’t know I had.
Now I flash my dentition as I greet people after service. I had become immersed in the ministry of ‘service after service’. The emotions had faded with time and we were good friends. Feyikemi’s prayer point had become mine and it had translated to my reality.
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