Close Encounters of the Roch-Kind

Few years ago, I read a book by Jesse Duplantis – read the book and listened to his sermon on the same title – the title was “Close Encounters of the God-kind”. He detailed and chronicled the experience he had on his numerous visits to Heaven. You see, Jesse is a willy old charismatic preacher so you can bet that I enjoyed listening to the sermon more than I enjoyed reading the book.

However, something struck me during that period – I was highly impressed with how he recreated the divine scenarios he had experienced and also how he related those experiences to seemingly mundane and trivial everyday life experience here on earth.

Before Jesse, I never really paid attention to stories of people who went to Heaven only to come back and try to coerce people out of fear to live for God, it doesn’t work that way, but I was drawn to Jesse’s version of events and led to believe them, simply because there was a lesson in there for me!

I want to follow Jesse’s example in talking about the various encounters I’ve had in the last couple of months. You see I’ve met different people under different scenarios, and I’d try to relate some of these encounters to a general allusion.

I look back at my life and see how far God has brought, and I see how every new phase of growth in my life has been distinguished by the kind of interactions I indulge in. I have never been one to have numerous friends. You know, I still don’t know how people do it. I’m not your guy for the long term or after party. I am still trying to come to terms with the concept of sharing your life with people, it got me really worried at some point until I had an epiphany – people will fulfil their mandate in your life with or without your help.

The people who are meant to stay in your life do not need your help – you play no part in orchestrating it. The people who leave, left for the same reason, they had played their part, and their business was done. No sentiments. I look back at the people in my life right now and I don’t think I’ve played any conscious part in them staying. I’d more likely give you more reasons to leave rather than stay.

I wish people would stop whining about their interactions with people. What I have come to understand is that people are in your life for a reason and season – it is your duty to find out what their role is while they remain, not your duty to make them stay. People who would stay will stay, those leaving, will. You’d hate yourself if you ever had to lower your standards or give up your comfort just to prolong the exit of a bystander in your life, you’d be worse off.

The things we go through in life aren’t meant to be reproduced in a soap opera, there are lessons in even the mundane things we experience. If you don’t figure out what the lesson(s) is, you’d keep running round circles. What are the current encounters you’ve had in recent times? Can you point out the inherent lessons that were for you? Jesse Duplantis wrote a whole book from encounters, can you even write half a book on the encounters you’ve had in a life time?

That guy you met last week; you guys are buddies now, but to what end? What role is he playing in your life? Quit letting bystanders take centre stage in your life, quit incurring losses all because you want to have people in your life. I’ve studied people who know so many people – it came effortlessly, on its own. Life is not LinkedIn where you can wake up one morning and set up a connections target for the day to increase your connections. In the real-life version, you don’t increase your connections by tapping the button. Rather, you increase your connections by staying true to yourself. I remember when we were derided in high school for not being promiscuous, they kept trying to make up believe that we would be disadvantaged in the real world when it came to choosing partners as we had not been well versed in the art of “toasting”. That’s a big lie, the things that are meant to come your way in life come not because you went after it, but because you stayed true to form and it was easy to locate you! Stay true to form, do not be distorted because you want to fit in. Any success you get from otherwise, will only be short-term.

 

Stay True!

 

Miracle Roch.

Advertisements

Thoughts on Old Age

I admit, I am such a baby boy. I am too soft and kind hearted. I don’t understand how some people do the stuff they do, I can’t even hurt a fly with my hands; I let my Insecticide do the job. Recently, I’ve craved spending time with very old people, I just enjoy watching them talk and move. Whenever I see one in a BRT standing, I quickly give up my seat and watch them seat, if I see anyone on the streets carrying something heavy, I quickly offer to help. No I’m not trying to be a good boy, I just love coming closer to them, even if words aren’t exchanged. There’s something about their aura that heightens my humaneness.

Image result for world's oldest person

World’s Oldest Woman; Misao Okawa | Credit: Daily Mail

 

Most times I try to wonder what goes through their minds as they navigate through their day. How different is the world now from what it used to be forty years ago. Do they wish they did something different? When I look at their wrinkled faces, I try to imagine the spotless beauty that covered this face during their youth. When I see them frantically holding on to pillars for support, I try to reimagine the swagger with which they moved around in their pomposity.

I’ve noticed quite a whole lot of striking similarities between old people. One of them is that, nothing seems to matter anymore, none of the things we hurriedly worry about. An old man once insisted I gave him the broom to sweep, I didn’t understand why at such old age you would want to bend down and sweep. It got me thinking; as young humans, we demand so much respect, we want to feel important and respected, but these guys have seen it all and they realise all that counts for nothing.

Old people also don’t like to admit they are old. Isn’t it funny? Because as young people, we try so hard to convince people that we are old enough, we never want to revel in the innocence and exuberance of our youth. We always want to speak like King Solomon and dress like Benjamin Button, just so we’d convince people that we aren’t young. But here’s an old man frantically trying to do things to convince those who care to listen that they’ve still got fire in their bones.

Old age is exciting, little wonder most of them tell you they have no regrets. It’s a blessing to live long. I can bet there’s no way they would have lived this long if all they did was regret the decisions they took or didn’t take years ago. Another crazy juxtaposition because we young people are so fond of living in regrets. You cry everyday about the actions you didn’t take that you end up missing out on the present opportunity starring you in the face all because you’ve got your eyes still fixated on the past. No one moves forward with their gaze behind. No one.

Old people smile a lot when they see us young people strut our stuff. I haven’t been able to ask them what fuels that smile. I like to see that smile as an approval; an approval to enjoy life and make all the mistakes you possibly can while you are young. An approval that no matter how careful you are, you still need to fail a little so you can succeed plenty.

Old people understand the power of words. Once they send a “God bless you my son” your way, they nudge you to say “Amen”. They understand how powerful words are. Another wonder about old age is if there’s a knowledge bank where old people just go to freely to access nuggets. I haven’t met an old man who didn’t have some real truths to spill. Is it something that comes from experience?

When next you see an old person, take a pause, if you notice, they are never in a hurry, so where are you always rushing to? There’s really never a missed opportunity that doesn’t come back. Take a pause and appreciate the beauty of old age, bask in the euphoria of your youth and visualise yourself one day with grey hairs and weak bones and an ever cheerful smile. Take time to appreciate the soothing air and landscape around you for in less than no time, they would be your greatest companions.

What are you currently doing to ensure your old age is blissful? Old age really is the annuity returns you get from your investments as a youth. Have you started investing towards your old age?

 

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

The In-Betweens

Life is a journey, or so we are told. But I don’t believe life is a journey. I mean, I had to check my dictionary for what the Englishman defines as a journey, and it’s pretty straightforward. A Journey is an act of travelling from one place to the other. My problem with taking this popular definition of life is that is neglects a very important part of life; the in-betweens.

I don’t mean that other “in-between” people use to demarcate life and death; in-between life and death, as they refer to it. I mean the “in-between of life, mostly found between “li” and “fe”.

The in-betweens are those numerous minuscule details that serenade your whole life and actually do the damage (or good) without ever taking credit for it. Your in-betweens churned you out the way you are right now.

I am grateful for my in-betweens, mainly because it’s made me who I am. We all go through various in-betweens daily, and I feel so bad because, they appear so irrelevant to even spring up to mind.

As you go through life, don’t be in a hurry. Savor the in-between. Don’t be too focused on the future that you end up missing out on the present. Once I wrote about having tasted both sides of the coin and how that adventure helped me realized which side of the coin was better. I thought I got a better understanding because I was on “the other side”, but with the benefit of hindsight, I realized I only landed on the “in-between”! Even coins have their in-betweens.

Most times, when you actually feel you’ve flipped the coin, what you actually did was tilt it upwards. You landed on the in-between. The in-between gives you a better view. I make bold to say the “in-between” is the best view; it doesn’t make a fuss, it just goes on about the job and gets it done.

Your ability to sideline the efficacy of your in-betweens is the reason why you keep running from pillar to post looking for refuge, it’s the same reason why you keep falling into different arms looking for protections and spend every resource you’ve got materials because you’re looking for satisfaction. The satisfaction, security and protection you require are all within you – disguised as your in-betweens. Quit looking in the wrong place.

No time is ever wasted, what you actually call “time wasted” was a precious stop over at the “in-betweens”, enjoy the experience and embrace it wholly.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

I Chose This Life

I Chose This Life

So I’m here all seated in my office. Nothing wrong with that except that I’ve been seated since 6.30AM. Yeah. The thing with Lagos Traffic is that you always have to make a decision every morning, would you rather sit out 2-3 hours in traffic every day or sit them out in the comfort of your office? Crazy thing is, your choice doesn’t even determine anything. There’s always traffic. But today, there was no traffic, or would I rather say the cab driver was clever enough to follow a less public route.

So why am I writing this? Because I’ve been reminiscing about my life. Was this the life I dreamed of at 21? I have no idea, I don’t remember ever saying anything spectacular about my “21”. But why am I not somewhere at home sleeping? How did this corporate white collar life start? Shouldn’t I be balling and goofing around like the others?

I realised that at 21, I’ve tried out virtually everything there is about the corporate world – at a rudimentary level at least, I’ve even done blue collar jobs. I’ve done plenty things all in a bid to discover premium time occupancy.

I chose this world. After I left school, I started craving for a job or task that will make me leave my house every morning and come back late at night. I wanted that routine, I called it The Discipline of Routines (got a blogpost with the title for over two years in my head now). I wanted to learn how to wake up early, get my clothes ready for the next day and all that stuff.

I’ve been so rigid with routines that it’s almost become my holy grail – finding a routine that works and yields progress at the same time! At some point, I had to buy a white sole sneakers, just so I’d learn how to wash my shoes. I wanted this kind of job because as a student, I almost regularly missed my exams and important stuff because waking up on time was war for me.

Back in school, I dreaded every morning that followed a “night class” I went for, it looked like my body will always take its statutory 6 hours of sleep no matter what was at stake, it didn’t care that I had an exam the next morning. This was worrying, and I don’t know any great man who slept more than he worked. This got me really worried, my sleeping habits became my bane.

I knew I couldn’t continue like this as an adult in the real world, so I needed a routine responsibility. I’m here to say God has helped me achieve that. No matter the time I sleep, I always get a nudge around 4.30AM, even without an alarm most times. Of course, getting a nudge and getting out of bed are two different things, I’m sure you understand. But progress, nevertheless has been made.

I chose this life because I have decided to pay now and play later. “Satisfy me Lord in the days of my youth”, says a popular scripture. “But what right do you have to ask for satisfaction if you haven’t been working”, I quipped to myself. Ever since then, I have been putting my youthful exuberance to good cause, all that energy, rather than waste it pounding girls, I’d rather pound books and my laptop keyboards with it.

I chose this life because I chose knowledge over money. I have been massacred (not literally) by all and sundry because I have simply decided not to chase money. When I got my current job, they told me how much my salary was going to be, they expected me to negotiate, after an awkward moment of silence, they had to ask me if I wasn’t going to say anything about it, I looked at them and told them, I wasn’t here for the money. They were all shocked.
People don’t understand yet that money is just paper. That paper becomes important when you place a value on it, I have rather chosen to place my value on better things, things like the human heart and the human mind.

I believe that knowledge will get you as far as money can’t. I believe that knowledge will thrust you as far as power can’t. This is because, we happen to fall into a generation where the emphasis placed on knowledge dwindles with each passing time. A beauty pageantry has more rewards than a science contest. Don’t fight it, it’s the world we are in. It will only get worse on a large scale.

I chose this life because, caring about what people say all the time won’t get you nowhere. I don’t care how I look in my selfies, I take them for my pleasure and not for yours. In my head, I’m a Bradley Cooper (or a Stephen Curry), I don’t care if I’m an Idris Elba in your head, and it doesn’t matter. No matter how I look in those selfies, it wouldn’t change that image of me in my head, stop trying to please people. You can never please them.

I chose this life because I chose God. I know He is my creator, I know he’s got the advantage of hindsight and foresight, and He will work out what’s best for me, so long as I follow Him.

I’m following him, I won’t stop.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

Celebrate Life

Miracle, celebrate.

Sometimes, I wish I was enthusiastic
Sometimes I wish I act my age
When am I going to realize
That it’s alright being 21
And acting 21

I want to get excited sometimes
But it’s not just there
Watching people excited
I just don’t get it
Really, what’s the fuss?

But don’t be like me.
Celebrate life
Because there’s no second
Don’t end up wishing
You didn’t stuff you wanted

Don’t try fitting into a stereotype
Enjoy the moments that bring joy
They won’t kill you
They will teach you

Miracle, celebrate.

Stay True!

The Search for Martyrs

Death is strong.

Far too much value has been placed on the real value of the Human life that when someone offers to voluntarily give up his for others, he is termed a hero almost immediately.

Well, I’m sorry to debunk your myth, but the Human life has a price. There are so many things far more important than the Human life.

The value placed on life is not in the amount of oxygen one inhales, it’s not in the breathing space one occupies, that in itself is not arbitrary.

In the famous words of the Nigeria artist Tuface Idibia, “nobody wan die but they wan go heaven”. Everyone wants to end up in Heaven, yet they don’t want to die but experience rapture.

Some say they wanna live till 120, I laugh because when you place this much value on life, even at 150, you’d still be scared to die. The key to overcoming life is by standing up to it, little wonder our old men and women care less about most things. They realise that most of the things they spent their hey days pursuing were not really worth it and only wish they could turn back the hand of the clock.

I’m tired of a society that keeps granting hero status to just about anybody all because they have offered to die for a cause. Be the offering!!!

In Nigeria, there’s someone called Nnamdi Kanu. He has been termed fearless because of his outrageous remarks. He pitched his tent with the Biafra struggle. With the struggle of a people having to live the rest of their lives with the tag of a defeated people.

Nnamdi Kanu has been championing segregation for his sect. He was recently arrested by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the grounds in Treasonable Felony. The irony in this story is this; Nnamdi Kanu keeps saying he’s willing to die for the Biafran struggle. It is this stance that has won him a huge following amongst the people. But I was amazed and perpelexed when his followers came out en masse to protest against his arrest alleging that there were plots to kill him. Why protest? Hasn’t he offered to die for you already?

You then see that the Biafra struggle wouldn’t take a lift with a Martyr, Ojukwu tried, Uwazukike tried, and no, it’s not just about the Biafran Struggle. It’s about all life’s struggles, in all your endeavours, you’d never get a facelift if you keep waiting for someone to do the difficult stuff. You have to get up and do it yourself.

This post is not about Nnamdi Kanu, neither is this about the Biafra struggle. I only want to highlight something here.

Humans don’t care if you end up giving your life or not, so long as you brazenly come out in public and rant about how you’re willing to die for a cause, that’s all you need to win people over. People love their lives so much that they would willingly give their all to support a sacrificial lamb. This is pathetic.

This is the reason why so many Jihadist movements don’t lack funding, people are willing to support anyone that wants to die in their place.

We are all in search of Martrys. No one wants to be the martyr. We are all in search of someone who would go ahead and pave the way. Keep living this way and watch life trample you.

Little wonder people like the Wright Brothers and Gates who had been bold enough to venture into un-martyred zones became so successful that they’ve left their indelible mark in the sands of time.

Human life in itself is not valuable, the value comes in what you do with it. If you decide not to do anything valuable with yours, then forget it, your life isn’t worth a piece.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

When Life Happens

Where do you draw strength from when all sources dry up?
Where do you look toward for inspiration when all your heroes fizzle out?
What do you cling on to when all the ropes are cut?
What do you look at when your vision becomes blurry?
Where do you run for protections with the guns blazing?
How do you stand straight with wind blowing?

When life happens…
When life happens, the very thing that will matter the most will be far from you…
When life happens, the little things you’ve neglected will all be up in your face…
When life happens, theories count for nothing…
When life happens, experience becomes the worst teacher…
When life happens, materials become worthless…
When life happens, you have no say in the outcome…

I’ve seen life happen, how I survived, I know not…
I’ve seen life happen, the outcome I still don’t know…
I’ve seen life happen, six and half a dozen aren’t the same…
I’ve seen life happen, and yet I’m not scared…
I’ve seen life happen, but I didn’t see life itself
I’ve seen life happen, how it happened, I can’t tell…

When life happened, I stood tall against all odds…
When life happened, I took the heat without deceit…
When life happened, I was resilient even with no alms…
When life happened, I forgot all I knew…
When life happened, I ditched all my theories…
When life happened, I didn’t look at the mirror…
When life happened, the mirror was a source of weakness…
When life happened, the inner man fled…
When life happened, I was alone…

…I’m still alone.

Miracle Roch
Twitter: @Mr_GudMan

The Abraham Letter Lincoln didn’t write

There’s this popular letter that has made the rounds; a letter purportedly written by Abraham Lincoln to his son’s school teacher; this letter is insightful and thoughtful but Lincoln didn’t write it sadly…it shouldn’t deter you from reading it though. You’ll enjoy!

****

My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently. It is an adventure that might take him across continents. All adventures that probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love and courage.
So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him – but gently, if you can.

Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader.
Teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found. In school, teacher, it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat.
Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win.
Teach him to be gentle with people, tough with tough people. Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter.
Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears.
Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach him to scoff at cynics.
Teach him if you can the wonders of books, but also give time to ponder the extreme mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hill.
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if every one tell him they are wrong.
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it.
Teach him to listen to every one, but teach him also to filters all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him to sell his talents and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul. Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patient to be brave.
Teach him to have sublime faith in
himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.
This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do.
He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.

Cocoon of Reality

There is something tragic about running away from who you are supposed to be. You think that you are the only one paying the price to be someone else and you forget that there are men and women, teenagers and children watching you with keen interest, waiting for  you to find yourself so that they too can find themselves. You wanted to be a painter when you were younger. You painted with grace and ease, brush strokes gentle and precise, images coming together in your head in surges of sight and sound and light. You wanted to save the world when you were less jaded. You made placards from the old television boxes tossed out at the back of thehouse and scribbled stuff like “cockroaches have a right to live” or some other expression of the outrage you felt at the injustice around you. You
drew indulgent smiles from the milling adults who gathered for drinks in your parent’s home but you were undeterred, a little fire
burned in your chest and you knew that you would be the one to save the world. You wanted to be a dancer when your innocence was untainted. You choreographed Michael Jackson’s Jam song with your siblings and ordered them to get the steps right even when they
complained that they were tired and needed to rest. You had a move for every beat, every song, legs and arms twitching; a faraway look in your eyes as songs came pouring out of the radio like water cascading over you under a waterfall. You could see the stage, hear  the sounds, feel the burning lights on your skin and you could hear the  crowd screaming. You would dance for hours and feel energy
coursing through your veins still. You were unstoppable. You wanted to be a model when you could dream without fear of barriers. Your legs were marred with scars but all you saw were the long limbs that could grace international runways.You strutted in practice each day, wearing your mother’s oversized clothes and picturing them moulding your body until they were a designer’s dream. You saw your sculpted face on the covers of international magazines and imagined yourself casually handing one over to your father
sometime. That kind of gesture that would say “look at me now dad”. You wanted to be many things at eight, then fifteen, then twenty,
thirty. Now you look in the mirror and do not recognise the image staring back at you. You avoid the eyes of the image in the mirror
because you see them accusing you as you get brush your hair. Accusing you of lying, of giving up, of giving in…of falling asleep.
You see yourself encased in a cocoon of reality. “Let’s be realistic”, you say to the image in the mirror whenever you manage to meet its eyes for more than five seconds. “ Let’s be realistic”! I couldn’t be a painter because dad wanted me to be a doctor. Am I not making
money now? Have I not bought a house and a car way ahead of my peers? Am I not important? Do women not run after me when I
flash my credit card? “ Let’s be realistic”! I couldn’t be a dancer because I was born a Nigerian. And besides, I am a woman. People will say that I am loose, that I bared my feminity for the world to see without shame. I would not have gotten married if I had become a dancer. Am I not the envy of my friends? Married to a rich man who takes me out for vacations? “ Let’s be realistic”! I would never
have been a good model. My father’s family would have disowned me… You go on and on until you realise that you are talking to yourself in the mirror. Until you realise that there is a lump of emotions deep down in the pit of your belly that has been there since you gave up your dreams and pursued the  “right” things, the “approved”
things. You do not forget the dreams you had and sometimes when you watch the television and see a  dance video you say “ what crappy steps to a perfectly good song, I could do better! You say this without realising that  you have said it until your husband looks at you, or his mother, and then you remember the right things…the approved things. You have wrapped yourself in a cocoon of reality so that you will not weep every day when you think of what you could have been. You have buried your dreams  under the pile of  obligations and duties and expectations and you do not realise that you have died and are simply existing, that your purpose is gone.
Only the brave and daring chase these dreams and you look out for them. You Google the top models of the year or the best song of the year and you read about them, inflicting pain on yourself but relishing it all the same. It is punishment for being the weakling that you  think you are. Only the brave and daring chase their dreams, pushing  expectations to the ground, sidestepping good and approved
things. And you are there on the side-lines cheering  them on, pumping your fist in the air and yelling till you are hoarse. And when they win their trophies, you turn and walk back into your cocoon  of reality, the lump growing bigger in the pit of your belly.

It is all you have after all. It is all you’ll ever get.
That is the reality of life!!!