I have invited God over for breakfast, and I am badgering Him with a problem: He gave me a big head for my big heart. My Father shakes his head at my infinitesimal arguments. I’d like to think I have a big heart, that I give a damn for people I don’t give a damn about. That I go extra miles on roads I’ve never been. That I hand out my sweaters to bare chested children in Kabale. As I say this though, He grins. He is leaving the words to me.
“Forgive me Father I have sinned…but you gave me a big head.”
I am convincing Him that while I cater to strangers and don’t mind being conned every now and then by, for example, a lass carrying a child, or a grown man in school uniform saying he needs transport home, I would like it if I wasn’t so boxed off when it came to people I already know. The ones I know. The non-strangers whose needs I am aware of.
He looks at me rubbing His chin, like a child at a new sibling. He takes a fill of groundnuts in his palm throws them in His mouth, picks a stick of fried cassava, begins to eat it as he continues to listen.
“Yes, I mean, what good is it if I talk to angels 1 without knowing but am given silent treatment by the Amazons down here?”
His eyebrow lifts, as if he’s asking me what I mean by Amazons.
“Dad, you know what I mean. Remember what the Lily-girl told me as she turned her back on me for good? – That I have a hard head.”
He is putting a glass of juice to His lips when I say this. The chuckle that escapes Him turns into a minor choking fit. When it’s done, he continues to chuckle gleefully.
“You think it’s funny. She’s not the only one you know. You can imagine even my father says I have no ears. Set in my ways. Plastic rice for jollof – no flavour. Matooke cooked in 5 star hotels, yellow like sponge, tasteless as paper.”
He’s trying to keep a guffaw in.
I am trying to convince Him that I need a solution to my big head. I haven’t even touched my own tea, gnuts and cassava. He sees the concern on my face, stops fumbling with unreleased laughter and motions to me for a pen and paper. I stretch to the the reading table and reach for a nearby pen and paper. He writes on it and hands it to me.
“You say big head. I’m thinking hard heart. You say big heart. I’m thinking wide mind.”
I look at the phrase, and Him with a twitch in my eye. I don’t understand.
He holds my hand and leads me out of my room, through the narrow corridor, into the open. He motions to me for the paper. He looks at the sky, then points to the phrase ‘wide mind’. Looks at the ground we stand on – a concrete compound with paves – and points at the phrase ‘hard heart’.
The house is next to a thick forest whose seeds the wind often brought in.
“You’re open to the idea of a lot of things but are not open to letting them grow. Even if a storm brought seeds of gold through your sky, your ground wouldn’t let them into the deep”
I hear His voice clearly even though He is just smiling at me. The voice continues.
“It’s fine if you’re sure you want nothing else to grow on your ground,” He said pointing at the lone mango tree in the compound, “But you do miss out on a lot of different kinds of smells, tastes and textures. That is living.”
I live next to a forest. I think to myself. What more do I need? – You cannot live by proxy, I seem to answer myself. And God continues.
“In Eden, I didn’t put a fence around the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You ask why. Two things. If there was a fence, inasmuch as they’d never have consumed the fruit with their lips, they’d consume it with their minds because it would have consumed their minds. Without a fence, they chose life willingly each day and that life was enough.
In your Eden, you’ve put concrete on your ground and have only allowed one tree to grow and its scent is of romance and the fear of failure. You’re rivetted because you don’t want to fall short. And yet that is how you fall short.
You are afraid. That is the only reason. Afraid new seeds will turn into trees that drop big leaves in your compound. Or have sour fruit. Or no fruit. Or have buttress roots that will dig up your house. Afraid the tree of life may fail to grow on your ground. You are afraid. It’s not a big head. You are afraid, and the only reason is you want to be completely in control.”
God has a straight face on. Mine looks down with worry. I belch out of the blue, even though I have not eaten anything yet.
“Oh look, you’re full already and didn’t even touch your food.” The voice and smile. “Think about these things though…you’re wasting your concrete and your ground. I’d rather you use the concrete for silos, leave the ground to the seeds.”
He puts His arm on my shoulder as we walked back into the house. At the door, He removes a seed from his trouser pocket and says
“Seed incorruptible 2 – lives and abides forever. You better find space for it.”
1 – Hebrews 13:2 (ASV) Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
2 1 – Peter 1:22-25 (KJV) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit[d] in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,[e] 24 because