“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” – Joss Whedon
Everyone is looking for relevance… and more relevance. That is your conclusion after your futile attempt to answer the too many questions that you and your friends and the strangers around town seem to have.
On the bus, you look around and see smiling faces and angry people. Smiling, because they are lost in a trance – daydreaming. Some other persons on this same bus are angry, yes they look really angry. You can tell because of the scowls on their faces. The young man sitting next to you is beginning to raise his voice over the phone. “What is she taking me for, a fool!? Ken, abeg, I have spent almost a million Naira renting and furnishing that flat. What nonsense charges is that agent talking about again!?” Of course, you don’t have an answer and you wonder why everyone on the bus must be dragged into this. He has only succeeded in reminding you of that apartment you must secure for yourself soon. The third category of people sits there aloof; you cannot tell for sure what is going on in their minds.
While you are still trying to wrap your mind around these things – why we do what we do and all – your mind drifts to a recent discussion with an acquaintance. How she had been in a church for several years and was now feeling distanced and more distanced from the environment with the greying of time. How her mind often drifts during the sermons and she often feels guilty fiddling with her Blackberry. One Sunday, she left in the middle of the sermon for a recreation centre. That was neither the first nor the longest time for which she had abandoned the church; she had once joined a different church for a full year before returning. You had many questions you did not ask her: was the problem with her, the preacher, or both of them? Could she have been better off joining one of those units/sub-units in the church where she could have felt a sense of purpose and fulfillment ‘working for the lord’? Had she become so familiar with the weekly dose that the Word had lost its impact in her life? Had she become numb out of inaction on the ‘sacred instructions’? What was the state of her heart?
You are hardly better than her. You remember the so many decisions you are yet to make. Motions and pressures and the harsh reality of corporate world survival vis-à-vis illusory societal demands stick you like glue to the same spot year-in-year-out. You acknowledge there is a greater power, a most-powerful force in charge of the affairs of the world and its inhabitants. You are tempted to question His existence like many of your contemporaries, but you realize that they all get more confused in a bid to ‘make a statement’ and sound intelligent. You have been there and you know too many people who question their faith openly only to seek God’s forgiveness secretly. He must be really patient, you like to reason.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” You want to touch souls. You feel the need to be relevant in this world and beyond, but this bus – and most other places you can easily flee to – is filled with confusion and confused people.
You want to be relevant in the scheme of things. You need to find purpose. You need time to find some silence, but they say time is money. You wonder when you would be able to afford that silence. Yes! You need to buy some time from this crazy world. Or, could there be a way to create silence in the midst of so much noise?