Dear Story

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First I would like to apologize to you.

I am sorry. I am sorry I have been sleeping on you for years. I have terribly underrated your power to have great effects on my mind and emotions. In fact, I don’t think I ever gave you a chance in my thoughts to even fathom your greatness.

In the past, my hatred for reading hindered me from giving you a chance. I mean, I was compelled to read Mother’s Choice back in Junior Secondary school because I didn’t want to fail literature. Trust me, if I could rewind time, I would choose literature over geography.

In the past few months, I have been enlightened on your abilities. I have been enlightened on how you are everywhere — TV shows, movies, novels, newspapers, magazines, video games and even ads! I have realized your ubiquity is based on how much of an effective bridge you are to the human mind and emotions.

I remember how I used TV shows to escape from the stressful/overwhelming feeling of assessment deadlines of last semester. After watching episodes of Chuck and Prison Break, I would find myself feeling almost engrossed in the lives of some of my favorite characters. This made me worry less about school work.

Story, it’s amazing how you are able to this!

After such an epiphany of your greatness, I have decided to read and learn more about you and your superpowers. I have started reading and learning from the perspectives of Lisa Cron (Wired for Story) and Jonathan Gottschall ( The Storytelling Animal). Now I don’t even watch a movie or TV show or read a book without taking time out to reflect on, analyse and appreciate your power and how you have been used in each context.

I hope it’s not too late for you to become my friend. I hope you would forgive me and reveal more of yourself to me as I learn about you. I hope you would let me use you to reach out to and connect with men, women, boys, and girls that need to be reached out to for salvation and life transforming experiences. I hope you can help me inspire people to be better.

Story, I really hope you give me a chance.

Your latest fan,

Ayo.

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WORDS

 

I strongly believe in the power of words. I believe words are like bullets. I believe words have the power to change lives for good — this is primarily the reason why I write. One beautiful thing about words is that they have the power to outlive their owners or users, so your words — said or typed — can either speak well of you or bad of you.

As a writer, I am determined to make good use of this power of words to positively inspire everyone (or someone) that reads any piece written by me. I have realized it is not going to be as easy as I thought because everyone writes these days so I need to constantly overcome the temptation of trying to be like someone else or the temptation of giving up when the inspiration is absent.

I must confess, the inspiration to be an inspiration via my words has been lacking for days or weeks. Sometimes I feel like writing fiction but these story ideas are hard to come by. I have started investing in some storytelling books anyway. I am hoping this investment won’t be in vain. Sometimes I feel like dropping off the weights on my shoulders by simply writing how I feel. But here’s the thing, writing about such things seem inappropriate to me because I’d basically be putting my whole life out here.

Maybe I shouldn’t care about being vulnerable and just express myself based on my feelings.

Maybe I need to pray more story ideas.

Maybe I shouldn’t bother too much about inspiring you as you read and just write anyway.

LackOfInspiration, you have lost.

 

 

Letter to my teenage self

Dear Awizzle4shizzle,

Before I get into the main purpose of writing this letter to you, why on earth did you choose such a nickname? I know the ‘zzle’ thing is what is in vogue over there but at least, can’t you just be unique? Must you follow the crowd?

I hear you are now a science student. Is that really what you want? I ask because back in primary school, you used to draw a lot and make your own comic books. Where did all that go? Something tells me your decision to opt for science class was greatly influenced by your closest friends making such decision. I know your parents do not force you to make important decisions so I am sure this has nothing to do with them. I just hope you don’t regret it at the end.

I also hear there is a girl you are presently chasing. I was told you are trying your best to win her heart with all your romantic moves — getting her the very best of valentine gifts you could ever come up with it, calling or texting her everyday etc. You must be feeling like a man right now. How old are you again? 14? 15? Lol smh. I hate to burst your bubble but this is not the time for all that. I know it’s hard because that is what is reigning now over there — being in relationships and trying all kinds of stuff. But believe me when I say I have been there and it’s just a waste of time at your age.

How are your grades these days? The last time I checked, you seemed to be comfortable with your average scores, telling me how you are afraid of the top because you are not sure if you would be able to maintain top grades. I hope you’ve been able to overcome this fear because you can never know how much potential you have if you don’t give it a shot and maximize the abilities in you. Create time to study. God didn’t create you to be average. Remember He created you in His image and we both know He is the embodiment of excellence.

Talking of God, how is your relationship with Him now? I hope you are now closer to Him as a result of accepting His offer of love, salvation and eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I hope you have stopped hating church. I hope you have stopped dodging Sunday school classes. If only you knew what you are missing. The world is turning upside down over here. Technology is something else; making life easier and making it easy to fall for the tricks of the devil all wrapped up as fun. Only the strong shall survive so the earlier the better.

Awizzle4shizzle, I will end with this: Get right with and close to God. Do not follow the crowd. Spend time, at this young age of yours, discovering your true self, your talents and your abilities (with God’s help, because hey, He was the One that put them there initially). Be you and do you. Make more plans and write them down. Imagine more. Dream more. Live beyond now. Live beyond your PlayStation console. All this may seem too serious for you but remember, there is time for everything. And time waits for no man. Your life is not an action/adventure video game, you don’t get to ‘Restart at your last checkpoint’.

Peace and Love,

Your future self,

Ayo Wright.

Been there, done that.

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I was in between trying to forgive myself for not heeding to the intuition I had earlier about making that turn and trying not to respond angrily to my wife, who, at this point, had become a bitter victim of the consequences of my bad decision.

“Eric, you never listen to me!” Rachel said. “Always claiming to be a legend of these Lagos streets, now we are stuck in this stagnant traffic”

It was my brother’s wedding and we needed to be at the venue 2 hours before to ensure everything was in place. Rachel and I were on course to achieving this objective just before I decided to make a turn in order to avoid unnecessary traffic. Myself and my brother, John, made use of this route to avoid traffic and it never disappointed us. I could swear I heard a voice telling me not to take that route on this very day, but nah, I overdosed on the road’s past glory. So we were there, stuck in a traffic that had the potential of turning into where we might be spending the night.

“Darling, I am sorry. I tho-” I said, before being interrupted.

“Sorry for yourself! Now how are we going to get to the venue to put things in place? Ehn! How?! And you know how organised this needs to be.”

“Yes, I do. But sadly I can’t do anything about the present situation. I am sorry for taking this ro-” Again I was interrupted, this time by an incoming call from John.

“Hello, Big bro! Thanks for your help, I hope everything is all set for my fantastic wedding?” John asked, filled with enthusiasm.

“I wish I could say so, bro.” I replied, not knowing how to break the deadly traffic news to him.

“What do you mean, big bro?” He asked, with panic setting in. “I am already on my way to the venue, in fact, I am about to make that our never-disappointing road in Ikorodu because I foresee heavy traffic on the other side”

“Ah! John, please don’t pass there! Pass the other side. Don’t make the same mistake I made” I said. “Myself and Rachel are presently stuck in a crazy traffic on that Ikorodu road and it doesn’t look like we would be out of it in the next 3 hours or so.”

“Wow. So you would be coming in towards the end of the wedding?” John asked, sadly.

“Yeah, bro. I am so sorry. But on the bright side, as a result of my mistake, you can avoid going late to your own wedding” I said, still full of regret.

“It is well, big bro. Everything happens for a reason. Thanks for the heads up. See you soon, hopefully. ” John replied.


At the end of the day, John was able to get there on time to put things in place and get married on time. Eric and Rachel spent 3 hours in the traffic before finally getting to the wedding. At least, they didn’t miss most of the reception.

Sometimes, we go through some bad situations as a result of bad decisions. But for those that love God, He always has a way of making everything work out together for their good, everything including bad decisions (Rom 8:28). Although we might face the consequences of such decisions, the good news is that we get to help others to avoid making such decisions and facing the painful consequences. We can say, “Been there, done that but this is the way..or this is better”.

We are helped to help others. We are blessed to bless others. We are allowed to go through and overcome some tough situations so as to help others to overcome similar situations in a better way.

Look beyond you, there is a bigger picture.

Stay On It

Image result for cartoon images of Person worker digging and mining for gold in an underground tunnel

No one wants to be poor or broke. Everybody wants to be successful. Everybody wants to achieve greatness. I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of achievement; the feeling of fulfillment. It is so soothing. How about the little guy within me that jumps for excitement when I give a set goal that Nike-esque accomplishment tick? Priceless.

I have not always been the type that sets goals. Ayo has always been the Take each day as it comes and just run with it type of guy. And even when I manage to set goals, I do it in my head. I have heard about the importance of writing them down so as to be focused and all, but nahh, I never really bought the idea until the concluding part of last year when the whole idea and importance of writing down goals kept coming from every angle — even from the angle of innocently watching my beloved Prison Break all over again.

How?

Well I am a huge fan of Michael Scofield and the way he gets things done. As I re-watched the series, I could see the importance of strategic planning in the each of Michael’s achievements. From tattooing his entire body with plans to how he and his teammates got Scylla by strategically copying each Scylla card from its holder. Mind-blowing stuff. Yeah I know he’s a fictional character, but damn it I have started considering him as a role model.

We all want success, but Joshua Selman once said (and I have also experienced it) that the process of achieving success is more important than the success itself. The process is never easy. Consistency is not easy. But if we want to successfully grow to the level of greatness in any area, we would need to stay on the things we know (from books, teachings, and sermons). A plant knows that if it stays strong in its rightful place, even in the midst of harsh weather conditions, its season for growth and flourishing would eventually come. The plant knows this and consistently applies this, hence it experiences fruitfulness. If it gives up and moves away from where it ought to be, it might just miss out on eventual greatness and fruitfulness.

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. It is the truth that we know, and consistently stick to and apply that will indeed set us free in every area.

Anyway, as for me, I have started making more plans now, not just in my head but also on paper (or my phone). The result of finally applying the idea of writing plans and goals down has been fantastic. And if not for anything, I intend to stay on it for the sake of that little guy that always jumps for joy when I give a set goal the Nike-esque accomplishment tick. I will keep doing it for the little guy.

So help me, God.

Amen.

My Medium Challenge

Happy new year everyone. Thanks for visiting my blog last year. Thanks for your great comments. You made my writing journey more encouraging last year. Let’s do it again this year.  God bless you all for the support.

So, I am on Medium (as Ayo Wright). It is a world of readers and writers that I have been a part of for close to a year now. I have been quite inactive there. As it is a new year, I want to repent of my evil ways and be more consistent with my writing (both here and on Medium). Therefore I have embraced a 52-week writing challenge. This means I am going to write 52 times this year. (This is stylishly my first one, so na 51 remain)

Anyway, I just posted this on Medium.

I have always, at several times, wanted to be more observant. You know, try to gather all the details of even the least detailed things in my surrounding. But this only lasts for a day or maybe some hours.

Maybe my attention span is low.

Maybe I need to be more self-controlled.

Maybe I need a challenge; something like a deadline.

A challenge or a deadline. Yes, that’s it. There is something about deadlines that keeps me going. So I immediately embraced the 52-week writing challenge by The Writing Cooperative when I was informed about it.

Therefore, this is me publicly committing to writing about my week in review every week of 2017 — most likely on Sundays. I also intend to mix it with writing about an emotion each week. So help me, God.

With this, I know I would be forced to pay more attention to my surroundings in order to see the simplest things others are overlooking and derive inspiration from them. And also, seeing opportunities where others are seeing problems.

For greatness lies in the little details, sometimes. It all depends on if and how you see it.

Open letter to Abbeylinko

Abbeylinko!

Where exactly do I start from to explain how much I love and appreciate you? Truth is, even if I could find the words, they still wouldn’t be as weighty as the love you have showered me with. Even if I could learn and replicate Ramsey Noah’s skills of expressing love, I still would fall short in comparison to how well you have displayed your love to me.

We have shared wonderful moments that will forever be in my head and heart, even the bad ones. Times that I have offended you to tears and you vow to not care anymore, then after some hours, we are homies again. Times that you would come and pick me late from school with some Gala and Chocolate ice cream in your bag for me. I didn’t like those days because I would stay in school till 7pm, or 9pm sometimes when my mates were already in bed. But the snacks you would bring along pacified whatever anger I had in me. Oh yeah, I also enjoyed the privilege of buying whatever I wanted (on credit) from the shops till your arrival. There were also times when you would seize my PlayStation console because it was affecting my grades in school. You have always wanted nothing but the best for me. Always encouraging, and being up to date with girls I have had something for.

Abbeylinko, you are the strongest woman I know. Always on the hustle..even though age is beginning to tell on you physically, your mind is still as strong as always. You would say, tori re naa mo sen sise (I am working because of you). 

It is because of you that we rarely go to the hospital at home. When anyone is sick, you are always willing to sacrifice your plans in order to help. Heck, even when you are the one that is sick and in need of help, you are still strong enough to go out of your way to help us. You too much, Abbeylinko!

I so much hate seeing you cry. It has this magnetic way of drawing out tears from my eyes (even if I have just done 100 sit-ups). I remember how you would get teary whenever I had to leave for Uni, which was just about an hour away from home. lol I just couldn’t understand why. But in times like this, I usually wished I wasn’t your only child. I wish I could be there for you as much as you have been there for me. I will never forget when I felt close to death in final year with a terrible malaria. I intentionally didn’t tell you when I was rushed to the hospital from school that night, because I knew you would literally break down. But you still showed up the next morning after the nurse contacted you the night before. Panicking, as expected. You told me of how completely disorganized you were when you got the news and how you went straight to my room upstairs at home to intercede for me because it was too late to drive to the hospital. I thank God I survived the sickness, and i thank God for blessing me with you.

Amazing superwoman! I am so blessed to have you. You have invested so much into my life — time, love, money, and yourself. I wonder how I would repay you, Abbeylinko. I promise to love you more. I promise to listen to you more even when I am not in the mood to listen to your gists or when I am watching football or playing game. Life is moving fast and we are spending less time together because your boy has to discover and fulfill purpose. I know this is a bitter-sweet time for you but I promise(by God’s grace) not to get so carried away with my life that I forget to love you.

Abbeylinko, I could go on and on but I will stop here for now.

On this day, which is your birthday, I thank God for keeping you, and I pray that He will bless and keep you to enjoy(to the maximum) the fruits and benefits of your labour in my life. I also pray that in this new year, you will get closer to God..in Jesus’ name, amen!

Happy Birthday to the greatest mother alive, Abiodun Wright a.k.a Abbeylinko!

Omo yin atata,

Ayobami.

SURULERE

I can’t but think of home as I write this. I can’t but think of my second home – Surulere, where I schooled and made lots of friends. But that’s not why we are here today.

Surulere means There is gain in patience. One would think that as a lere boy that I claim to be,  I should be full of patience. Well that’s what i thought. I don’t even know what I based this thought on, maybe a couple of incidents like having to wait on a  queue to mark attendance after a very boring class  or having to wait for very beautiful pieces of plantain to be ready for proper consumption.

I was wrong.

You know, everyone loves a finished product. When we go to shops to get things, we don’t ask the staff how they were created and the processes they had to go through. Ain’t nobody got time fo that. We are all in a hurry. Especially in a place like Lagos. Imagine me trying to buy a bend-down-select pair of shoes in Ojuelegba and I am asking the seller for the type of machines that were used to make the shoes. Man would look at me from head to toe and just collect the shoes and hiss.

We Africans love miracles so much that we forget the roles of principle and process. Greatness is a process. Nobody really likes the process. Even gold doesn’t like the process it has to go through to become highly valuable, but it still submits by faith to the person carrying out the process and the process itself, knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been going through a couple of things for some time now and I have been asking God to show up, I have been asking Him to take me out of it all. Like, let this my Christian journey be rosy again. Omo e just be like sey God just lock up for my matter. I almost started losing faith. Doubts and uncertainties here and there, going on for weeks. I even thought of running back home at some point. Lol my legs for just bend.

But I am beginning to look at it differently. Maybe this is all a test. I have had to change my attitude from just being frustrated with life to consciously deciding to be happy because I may not understand everything right now, but it will all make sense in the end. Early today while reading a blog, I was led to read the verses in the picture below and I felt strengthened afterwards.

PATIENCE

I am beginning to literally understand that for the fruit of the Spirit  ( Gal 5:22) to be made manifest in us, God will allow us face some tests and trials in form of dealing with people and unpleasant circumstances. Prayer alone will not produce the fruit of the Spirit. I repeat, prayer alone no go do am. So I have decided to be happy and rejoice from now on because for every unpleasant situation I go through successfully, greatness is being developed in me. Patience is being developed in me. Faith and patience/endurance go together.

Even Jesus had to look at the brighter picture of the unpleasant objective of carrying the cross and dying for you and I. The picture of Him rising again and sitting with God gave Him the ginger.

Bible makes me understand that He won’t allow me face more than I can handle (1 Cor 10:13), so , so far God’s got me, I know sey I go de alright.

 

 

 

He Knows a Lot, But..

In a world where it has been said that ‘Knowledge is power’, Samuel, in his low self-esteemed state, began to chase knowledge with the hope that the acquired knowledge would give him wings

In the space of 3 years, Samuel read 40 books. To him, this was a major achievement. I mean, for someone that hated books for the most part of his life, such accomplishment was a big deal for him. He mainly focused on reading inspirational and Christian books which helped build his faith and confidence

He no longer struggled to contribute in some discussions that pertained to life. Samuel was no longer seen and known as ‘Mr shy guy’..he was now seen as ‘Mr wise guy’. The guy that could now stand in front of people and construct meaningful sentences. The guy that knew so much about God from the perspective of several men of God from their books and sermons. He did a great job in not being puffed up in the knowledge he had acquired. Humble guy indeed! 

But having spent much time and money investing in books, of recent Samuel has been feeling defeated by some things he believed he had conquered based on knowledge. He goes to church these days and most of the things the preacher says are things he’s no stranger to, but still not a master of. Things like Self Discipline, Faith, Endurance etc. Things he thought he had fully understood. 

After much thought, Samuel had a moment of epiphany. He suddenly knew what the problem was. He knew so much but due to lack of consistent application of the knowledge, he had been powerless. If he had consistently practised the things he knew, he won’t have been experiencing his recent defeats. 

Maybe, just maybe, knowledge is like mathematics that needs to be practised everyday so as to gain mastery.

Maybe we can say that knowledge acquisition is a potential, but knowledge application is true power.

Or lastly, maybe true power can manifest via experiential knowledge, for it is written, ‘Those that know their God shall be strong and do exploits’ — Daniel 11:32. Nothing beats an experience, sometimes. Sometimes it’s the form of knowledge that can and needs to be held on to. Knowing something or someone for yourself is much better than knowing something about something and someone.

But what do I know?

So tell me, what do you think?

SATURDAY(APRIL 20th): LESSONS

Man, today was fantastic! For some time now, I have not been feeling too confident whenever the book of Esther in the Bible is being referred to or mentioned. Funny thing is that I have actually read it before, but for some reason the stories and lessons from the book never really registered so I decided to give it another go. This time around, I am making a painstaking effort to read it, learn a thing or two and ensure it stores well in my mind.

I started the book today. Chapter one is so rich. Most times when that chapter is being discussed, we normally focus on just Queen Vashti’s disobedience. We often conclude that pride was her reason for not obeying the king’s command. However, the Bible didn’t mention the reason behind her not showing up. So while reading today, I thought and asked myself, “What if she wasn’t feeling fine?” or “What if she was shy?” or maybe it was overfamiliarity that caused it. Only God knows. But the bottom line is that regardless of whatever reason it was, she should have gone, out of respect for the king.

vashti

Another thing I picked up from this chapter is that, normally, everyone is to live an exemplary life because you don’t know who is watching. This is more compulsory for people in high positions (like the one Queen Vashti was in) because everyone is watching. She was the role model for women back then, so her behaviour could have led to other women looking up to her or her position to also behave like she did. The thing is, when you are in a high position, people look up to being like you or being in your position one day. Now there is a difference between ‘being like you’ and ‘being in your position’. I realised today that character is what determines if someone would actually want to be like you. So when someone says “I want to be like you o”, what is that person referring to? Is it your position or your personality?

beauty

The last thing I picked up from this chapter is that the saying, “Beauty can attract a man but it takes more than that to keep him” is true. I believe this was what made Queen Vashti lose her position as the queen. She had the beauty to get the position but lacked the character to keep it.

loyal moses

As if all these lessons were not enough for today, I went to church this evening and learnt new things about loyalty. I thought I knew what loyalty was all about but I was wrong. I learnt a lot. The major thing I learnt was that true loyalty is when a man is loyal to God before his people and loyal to his people before God. A perfect example is Moses. He was so loyal to his people that he interceded for them before God regardless of all the rubbish they said to him. What even blows my mind is the fact that God wanted to start afresh by destroying those Israelites and making Moses the father of the new set of people. I mean he had a lot to gain from this new plan, but no, Moses was too loyal for that. So I started thinking, am I actually a good example of this true loyalty? My answer was “No”. Enough work still de but God’s got me, so there is hope for me to get to this level one day.

Thanks for reading. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

– Ayo.