Friday Reflection

1.) When a stranger decides to destroy your life.

2.) Such important message from Jane Fonda on love, hate, empathy, fear, forgiveness, and growing old.

3.) Tammy Duckworth, on being a new mom at 50; the first Senator to give birth while in office; and the first female amputee in the Senate.

4.) I felt this video (about women with different salaries and their anxiety about money) to my CORE; Way too real. But it is also the PERFECT example of how fleeting money matter what you earn.

5.) Njideka Akunyili Crosby, daughter of former NAFDAC chief, Dora Akunyili is now somewhat of a superstar in the art world, with paintings selling for $3 million. This article tells a little bit of her story from Enugu to Los Angeles, California.

6.) "To not be political is to be political", Timothy Keller says in the New York Times op ed. His argument is that Christians don't fit into the two party system, and I am very inclined to agree.

7.) "I am black and I'm a member of the 1%" Check out this feature on some of the richest black people in America.

8.) Everything you could possibly want to know about therapy

Defining Home

My friend, M got married on the last day of August. Now, since she is practically a sister to me, this meant I had to visit Nigeria after a VERY long time. Coincidentally, on our way back, M, her husband, siblings-in-law, and I were all on the same plane. After the most chaotic airport experience in Lagos, we briefly talked about what home meant. How could home be so...hostile? Annoying? Stressful? In addition, the woman that sat near me from Lagos to Paris narrated her frustrations with the system in Lagos and vowed to not return home.

Interestingly, before all of this, the Luvvie situation got me thinking a lot about what home meant to me. Some background on the Luvvie story: Luvvie made a joke on Twitter (like most people do) about an African American musician. And before anyone could say Jack Robinson, people (some African Americans) questioned her blackness, told her to return home to Africa. The same sentiments of neo-nazis, really. People deemed her unqualified to speak on African American culture and pretty much told her she wasn't black enough. The same way the neo-nazi would say those of us with darker skin hues would never be American enough. Now, all of this was said to Luvvie who moved to America when she was just 9; whose formative years were all in America; and who frankly, probably has no recollection of the Lagos/Nigeria she left behind. To better understand the Luvvie story, check it out here. Is it possible some Africans haven't educated themselves enough on racial history and black American culture? Hell yes. But when white people say I'm not American enough, and black people say I'm not black enough, you know I gotta sit and think about where and what home is. What does home mean to me?

Lagos will always be home. By default. Yet somehow I had a more difficult time fitting in that I thought. I thought it would be a perfect fit like my pajamas. But I had forgotten roads and struggled to identify major places. I passed by my secondary (high) school and felt no tinge of nostalgia. The driving drove me crazy and the potholes worsened my motion sickness. Is it weird to say people just...stared...a LOT? Nonetheless, Lagos was still familiar. I took a local flight from Lagos to Port Harcourt, and the pilot introduced himself (or herself, can't remember now), it was weirdly cool for me that it was a Nigerian name. That everyone knew how to rightly say my name. All of that felt...normal.

The funny thing is I'm probably (almost certainly) not as American as Luvvie. This means that the African Americans who abused Luvvie would definitely tell me to go back home. And for a minute during the Luvvie debacle, I started to wonder if I would ever be accepted in America. After all, people still ask, where are you from? And when I tell them where my family lives in America. They say, no, where are you really from? Hmmm interesting. America is home. America is where my family is. America is where my phone automatically connects to wifi. Hell, I am incredibly privileged to have more than one home in America. America is where I found a career[path] I love. America is where I found my voice; where I better understood justice and equality. America is where I truly understood my spirituality, and frankly, where I re-found God. America gave me a world class education. No one can take that from me. Ever.

When we landed in Charles de Gaulle airport and I saw my city on one of those announcement TVs with our time of departure to the United States, I screamed, “home, soon!”

A week before then, when I was landing in Lagos and I saw the view of the cityline, I thought “home, again!”

I'm incredibly lucky and privileged to have more than one home, and the world is globalized such that it doesn't or shouldn't matter as much anymore. Home is where my heart is. Home is when I am with people I love. Home transcends bigoted views. And make no mistake, I am black, blackity black, blackity blackity black. That my progenitors were not slaves does not and will never nullify my blackness. So what does home mean to me? No other person can define what home is to me. Home is wherever the hell I want it to be.




One reason I rarely blog is because I feel like I have to say something grand all the time. This is of course ridiculous; just write is often is advice. To be fair, the main reason for my absence is busyness. I am busy; am I ever not? Are we ever not?

I just took what was my last exam ever (I think for the rest of my life), and let me say, I feel relieved. Relief. Joy. Hope. Excitement. I will be honest, it was an all encompassing, thorough, and HARD exam. But I am grateful to God because it represents an advancement in my career.

I am taking a few hours to not think; you know, re-watch Grey's Anatomy from season one, or maybe West Wing? Who knows? I just need to chill.

I have been wanting to blog about contentment for a while, and today feels like a good day to talk about it. I remember reading in my September devotional that we often conflate what we want with what we need. The Bible says we really only need food, clothing, and shelter.  But then we crave more and more and more. If you took away competing with people you know, showing off and the likes, would you find you have all you need? Could you actually enjoy all you have without an audience? Without anyone liking or validating your experiences?

Satisfaction should not be found in money. Money is meant to provide our needs, the needs of others, and an opportunity to give back to God as an act of worship. In Philippians 4:15-19, Paul mentioned he was content. When all the gifts they sent were enough, Paul said, enough, and kind of returned the rest rather than acquire more and more and more. Now, I don't mean to badger pastors (because frankly, it's trite to keep abusing pastors every time Lol) but our current spiritual leaders never say they have had enough. They continue to acquire and acquire and acquire. We live in a world with no contentment whatsoever. Everyone of us is freaking greedy.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches in glory." Verse 19.

This part, he has proven to many of us over and over again. We can trust that God will meet our every need. His generosity exceeds ours exponentially, so there is no need to worry.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for moment, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."  
- 1 Timothy 6: 6 - 10

This one is filled with many truths: we came with nothing to this world and will leave with nothing. So why can't we be content with with what we have and especially when we have enough? Why do we get carried away? The temptation to acquire more and get more can lead us into more temptation and make us get carried away. When the truth is we will leave this world with nothing.

Maybe this will give us rest and peace. We need to know that peace comes from God; security comes from God not money. Forget competing with friends,  forget living your life just so others can have a certain perception of you. Stand your ground on principle and don't be afraid of being different.

"I can't afford it"  is a perfect response.

True godlinesses with contentment is itself great wealth. Longing too desperately to be rich can push you to be trapped by harmful desires that plunge you into ruin and destruction. Don't we see this everywhere? People will do just about anything, and I mean, anything for money. For fame. For attention. I don't know that a lot of people can live without attention.  Let people think what they want, but live with your means and on your terms. All of this is of course, counter-culture. Even spiritual leaders want to fly in private jets and own as many cars as the colors of the rainbow. So feel free to ignore this, but know that we can strive and strive and strive, ultimately except we get peace from God, it will be chasing the unattainable. You will find that no amount of cars, designer clothes, Instagram likes and comments can feed the giant hole in your heart.

Yeah, I'm telling it like it is today, sorry.