THE FRACTURED FAITH

Hello lovely readers, quite a beautiful Sunday it is. I trust you are all in perfect health? Well yes, I am! This should be my last post for the year. 2020 has been all sort of things right? Tiring? Draining? Amazing? Well, it has been God, this whole time carrying us through and assuring us He would definitely bring us to an expected end. If you are alive, count yourself blessed!

Currently, I am in isolation. By isolation I know you have already figured out what it means. During this period, I have conducted a thorough assessment of the self, and identified what I stand for, my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, and ultimately my personality. A lot of amazing things can happen in your life when you come to the realization of self, so I will highly recommend it for anyone battling with self-esteem and confidence issues. Also, I have clearly defined my goals, vision and resolution for the upcoming year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year despite the persistence of the COVID-19 virus.

We meet people for different reasons in our lives. Some are passers-by, others are acquaintances and colleagues, and others are friends. Identifying this helps you build a solid network and solidify your inner circle. Ultimately the people in our lives should not drain us of the energy we have left. We are supposed to feel uplifted and encouraged just by interacting with them. Bear in mind, everyone’s experience whether good or bad is supposed to have an impact in your life, from which you can draw lessons and experience from.

The story begins with a 17 year old boy in the confines of a hospital bed after sustaining lacerations from a blunt cutlass some days ago. A typical display of biblical dexterity resulted in the admission of one, and the incarceration of the other. This scuffle ensued just because of a misunderstanding in coming into agreement with the word of God. “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”

This man grew up in a loving home where both of his parents were very supportive of his goals, passion and ambition. It was his childhood dream to be a pilot; to escape the family’s status quo of being a doctor, lawyer or politician.

On his 17th birthday, his parents began to have issues. Issues they didn’t see coming. The man of the house had accepted an appointment from the Ministry of Defense. This meant he would be spending a lot of nights outside home, typically tightening up security in the country. This directly meant a higher pay grade and social recognition in the country. Was the security in his family tightened too? Were the bolts screwed tight?

As private as his wife was, she strongly objected to his decision. But her objection was not enough to change the already made-up mind of her husband. Little did they know their children were already falling into bad company.

One day, Maggie, his wife opened the door that led to the room of their first born son, Kwesi. She was led to go straight to his room after she had finished evening prayers. What welcomed her was a rather unbearable stench, with her son covered completely in smoke. “What are you doing in here, Mum? Couldn’t you have knocked and waited for the door to be opened for you before coming in?” Kwesi said, as he hid the packet of marijuana he had bought the day before under his bed.

Margaret feeling ashamed, slowly closed the door and wondered what had happened to his prayerful son. A boy who did not know how to skip worship and prayer sessions even in his busiest of times. A boy who frowned at any tiniest vice committed with so much hatred. How did he fall within the clasp of marijuana? Might have been from bad friends? The infamous peer pressure!

It was there she came to the realization her family was in shambles. She immediately reached for her phone but put it down, when she remembered her husband could only be accessed through a one way private number. What was she going to do?

Unable to sleep the whole night, she waited for her husband’s return the next day. Heavily disturbed to the core, she could not pray neither could she eat.

To her utmost surprise, her husband returned home the next day heavily drunk! This was very unusual for the morally upright man she had known for the past 36 years. The neatly pressed suit he had left home with, had been replaced by a filth-stained singlet. Immediately, she rushed to receive her husband as he alighted from his car in a dazed fashion; brushing her own complaints aside.

What welcomed her was a dirty slap. “Pick up all your things, you are leaving this house. I am bringing in a woman I love. A woman I would want to start a new family with. This family is dead!” He said as he trotted off to bed.

Margaret was torn apart. So many troubles for a day. She felt broken! Reality nudged her right in the eyes, when she attempted waking up from sleep. ‘Not today, Maggie!

She gathered the little courage she had, dialed the digits of the only man he knew aside his husband. “Dad, I am coming home!” …

Her husband’s chauffeur stood there quietly unable to take a step. He was confused. Should he comfort this woman who was clearly in despair? Or head home, like he does every time?

As he stood there dumbfounded, Kwamina, the last born charged towards him with a Bible in his hands. “Why does this have to happen to my family in a matter of split seconds? Where is the God I serve? He should come down and cause a miracle” He desperately said. No amount of Biblical quotes from this chauffeur could calm this boy down. Kwamina was so agitated he did not realize he had mistakenly picked up a wooden plank lying beside the car.

When the chauffeur realized what had happened, he tried to grab the plank from his grip, however what greeted him was a sound smack in his face in absolute fury.

The adrenaline rush of the chauffeur retaliated by finding a nearby cutlass and slashing the wrist and abdomen of his abdomen in two complete moves.

The whole scene turned bloody and horrific as Kwamina lay in a pool of blood unable to speak. All raised tempers abated as everyone rushed to the scene. The drunk father, with deep regret reached for his car keys and drove their son to the hospital in the company of his loving wife, the chauffeur, and his drug dazed son.

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Following the declaration of the presidential results after the elections, there has been unrest in some parts of the country. This had led to the death of some and the admission of others in a critical state. But this is not a time for war, but a time for peace. A time for us to accept and appreciate our differences, and move on as a country in spite of this pandemic. A time for us to pray and seek the face of God in the face of this constantly mutating COVID-19 virus. These Christmas celebration should be a period of merry making even in the presence of an empty pocket.

Be of good cheer, and make merry for you do not know what tomorrow brings. Pray and then plan your future. But remember the future starts now.

God’s hand moves when people and pastors pray together. Through prayer, God greatly multiplies our efforts and makes the impossible, possible.

Enjoy the Christmas celebrations and Thanks for reading!

Eliezer

AMANDA

She woke up to a familiar tone from her phone – Beep!  With one eye open and the other half shut, she checked the alarm close to her bedside – 2:25am. She wondered who would send her a text at such a weird hour of the day; hoping it would be confirmation of the paycheck she had earned from her employer. It was the end of the month.

However, she found herself hurrying for a handkerchief, after she had held her phone close to her face for close to a minute. Tears flowed uncontrollably from her face ;It wasn’t a paycheck but a payback for everything she had said and done. The phone giving a few flashes, highlighted the unknown number anytime she took a glance at the message. Looking askance, she wondered what she would have done if she was back in France.

Reporting to work the next day, was a figure with scuffled hair and pulsating eyes. Her pupils were dilated with fear and the fine tremors of her hands made her usual neat work clumsy. She kept turning her head left and right, looking for hidden cameras. Her colleague brought her back to her senses, when she was reminded she was not acting a reality show. But the serial messages did not make sense.

The phone beeped again- What followed was a shallow breath which made her lose the pager in her hand- to fright. She wanted to pay heed to the advice of ignoring the messages, but she was scared! It was just like she had her twin in custody, and that she had to follow command within her means, to ensure her sister was bailed out.

The message read “You are not forgiven, I know what you did and I am telling everyone”. Screenshots of conversations she had engaged in, followed like a thread. This threw her into a frenzy and drove her nuts. She had been tagged with an explosive, patiently waiting for detonation in the hands of her predator. She was scared stiff and did not know what to do, and who to trust. So, she took a cab home.

She is Amanda, A Christian career woman who had gained a lot of fame in the business market recently. She had just began working in a reputable firm, and had the skills and guts required to progress the corporate ladder very easily. She was willing to go above and beyond the sky, for what she stood for, and boy! She climbed the ranks- hitting the position of Chief Finance Officer in the next 3 months. There she worked overtime, making all her field goals attempted and filling any voids in her work. It appeared she was loved by all because she was hardworking, friendly and eager to learn. She was a firm believer of good will, and the fact that hard work paid in huge amounts at the right time. Unfortunately, she had made quite a number of false friends and true enemies.

Inadvertently, she had raised the eyebrows of quite a number of suitors from every mansion and den. She wouldn’t pass by without necks being turned and glasses dropping. Ceramics in restaurants were even knocking their heads anytime she passed. Her hair was silk stranded, long and dark, flying with any slight breeze of wind. Her glasses were state of the art- designed to conceal her beautiful features. Her eyebrows and lips? Darn!! Enough of the imagination, Reality beckoned.

It was a cold, blustery night so she didn’t expect anyone to be out in the car park but then, she found a note plastered on the windscreen of her car. She was thrilled at how the person could have evaded the parking lot cameras and sent her the blackmailing message. This sent chills down her spine; so she left her car behind, and took a cab to her best friend’s place, to narrate everything that had happened over the past few days and seek a safe haven for the night.

Chris, her childhood friend, sensed the terror in her eyes when he opened the door on her arrival. She was soothed with a cup of coffee and slow dazzling music- soft spot. When she had calmed down, they tried to narrow down the suspects but tallying the people she had met recently with the contact she had, just to find the missing link.

Not surprising, Chris dialed the number. phone off. He then tried to access the number from the phonebook directory on his phone.the number was registered, however such classified information warranted the nod of a number of signatories. She spent the night at Chris’s, hoping to unravel the identity of the mystery man the next day.

6:00 am the next day, she awoke to a welcoming breakfast in bed with a ‘best of luck’ note from Chris. She showered down and set off, ready for the day.

Then, the phone beeped! With a message from Chris this time. “Meet me at the parking lot, I have something to tell you. We have found our person. It is Esi Akoto!”

Right afterwards, the phone beeped again, she hurriedly swiped the screen, like her life depended on it, hoping the message would be from Chris but then, it was another blackmail message. “Send 5000 Ghana cedis to the stated account number or everyone would know what you did”. She would have brushed the message off, had it not been for the numerous intimidating photos that followed.

An hour after meeting Chris, she had no time to waste; she picked up her phone and dialed the ‘known’ digits of her former best friend.

Esi was her classmate, throughout primary school to the world of work where she was her colleague. They basically did everything together which included exchanging phones for a week or two, to sharing the same desk at work. Their friendship, however grew sour, when Esi’s boyfriend dumped her and went after Amanda, some months ago. What killed her was that fact that Amanda had a new office of her own with her name written boldy on the door while she still worked at the front desk.

Amanda had asked of her help a countless times, anytime she got to work distressed, but Esi always had a cool head; feigning signs of concern and love.

“Can I come and spend a few days with you? I’m so scared!” Amanda said, over the phone, when she had already packed her things for a week. “You know my house is always your house” Esi replied, smirking on the other side of the phone.

The next 2 hours, Amanda found herself at the doorstep of her friend’s house. Esi’s welcoming smile made her swallow a gulp and clench the backpack she had brought along. ‘Friends!!’  She thought, as she entered the house.

Amanda took a seat, and examined the room; it looked like recent renovations had been done. The internal décor looked fresh and brand new. ‘The girl must be making a lot of money out of me’ she thought, as Esi returned from the kitchen.

Lodging her seat right beside her, she listened attentively to Amanda’s ordeal, shedding tears a number of times, until the message got to the point- “I have found who she is”

Esi stole a glance at her friend, whose demeanor had changed now. Guilt fell on her face when she attempted to ask who the blackmailer was. However, what mirrored her face was a 3mm gun in the hands of her ‘best friend’

“Why me? Esi? Why me?? After all these years. Why?” Amanda cried, holding the gun up close. Esi was dumbfounded.

Then she leapt, in an attempt to seize the gun from her hands. In shock, Amanda pulled the trigger, landing a bullet on her chest with a resounding blast.

Esi let out a scream, and landed on her own carpet in a thud, covered in blood. Realizing the harm caused, the gunwoman attempted to stop bleeding but then, how do you stop bleeding from a ruptured vena cava, when you are not a cardiothoracic surgeon? Her last words were “I did it out of jealously and envy” and she kicked the bucket. Like a staged play, Amanda fainted.

9:00am, Amanda found herself in her bed, with a towering figure over her. Surprised, she wondered how she got to her room and why she was still in a night gown. It took a minute before she made out Esi; in her executive dress. “Amanda!! I’m quitting my job if you aren’t fired today. I called your phone a couple of times, so I had to come over to see if you were okay”

Amanda shook her head a couple of times, wondering if this was real. It was then she realized it had had a nightmare she could not wake up from.

“Thank God it was all a dream” she said as she hugged Esi, hurriedly showered, and got ready with breakfast, as her best friend ironed her clothes.

The End!!

PhotoCredit: Google Images

Eliezer Bernard Owusu Ntim.

EMBRACE

At 03:09 a.m., glimmers of light streamed across my ward cubicle, as the main door of my hospital room opened. It wasn’t unusual to see a nurse come and go at any hour. I remained wide awake as I found no peace or rest from the inner turmoil I was facing.

My previously “nearly perfect life” was wrecked by the cruel intrusion of stage 2 breast cancer. I could not understand how this had happened, to begin with. Mike and I had been happily married together for the last 15 years, and we had three sons of the ages of 3, 10 and 13. We were planning to move to a new home, which Mike had custom-built for the five of us.

Anyways, one day following a mastectomy, I tried “picking up the pieces” in regards to my breaking life, and simply trying to analyze how to best cope with this new turn of events.

The nurse who had entered my room had a familiar face. I had known her from church, a place where she always appeared both quiet and reserved. And for some reason, our lives had never intersected outside of the occasional crowded church foyer greetings. We’d maybe say “Hello”, and that was it.

But on a particular night, she happened to be the one assigned to take my vitals. She did something beyond extraordinary and completely unexpectedly —- pulling up a chair to sit by my bedside. My left ventricle contracted pushing blood through my eyes.

Without uttering a word, she took my hand. For the next five minutes, she held it in calm silence. Her very presence was so sensitive that I cried away every last word and remained 100 % speechless, not knowing how to respond.

Others, of course, had previously offered several encouraging — and even often clumsy —- words and well wishes when I was admitted at the hospital. Some went to the extent of even leaving behind a novel, for me to read, which, to me, meant absolutely nothing in such a dark hour-When death kept barging on my door.

But this special lady, instead, gave me something significantly more invaluable: a gentle touch that made everything get better, by providing the gift of understanding through human presence.

With her, I did not struggle to hold any conversation or simply make excuses for why this terrible thing could have happened to me. With her silence, she would simply let allow my soul to rest as she then gave me a supernatural comfort with each kind touch. It felt so heavenly; like I had a healing angel holding my hand, enveloping me with the weight of her full, miraculous love. Words alone cannot fully express this —- you have to have lived it to understand.

Later, those dark days came to an end, and the breast cancer went back into its bud. My life had moved on — one filled with a great family, wonderful friends and a bright future.

I never saw this nurse again when I returned to church, and asked around for her by mentioning her first name. To my surprise, the other church members — and even the church staff — had no recollection of her, when I described her to them.

Very little did I know that God would have sent me a miraculous angel at the hospital, a deep compassion that took root with the embodiment of one sweet nurse.

As a result of this encounter, my husband and I have told this story, even several years later, in an effort to help all women who have no means with which to help themselves be free of breast cancer, once and for all, just as I am.

Why do we, as imperfect human beings, so often feel that we need to fill our atmosphere with mere words, as if everything we’d say would make things “all right”?

Next time you encounter someone battling breast cancer, kindly commend the person for being a fighter. You could start by observing their needs ;Then, reach out with a sincere touch of affection. You never know what could happen from a touch of your hand.

In my case, it became nothing short of a miracle.

Eliezer.

#DoctorDiaries

THE ZEPHYR

Tick, tock, tick tock, Michael counted the clicks, as death flashed a light as he strolled by. He attempted to avoid death’s gaze by looking left and right but the beam directly fell on his face in whichever direction he turned his head. He couldn’t escape today. There was no way He was breaking free from the spider’s web. “Mama!” He called out! But then even He could not hear himself. He lay afloat the sea of desperation and envisioned a raft dancing from a distance.
Then, he heard the gentle sobs of his mother and felt the agonizing heart of his father, as imperceptible hands clenched his cold fingers. His heart skipped another beat on the monitor in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the doctor strenuously pressing on his precordium, forcefully pushing his strong palms against his frail, weary heart.
Every moment happened in succession and his worlds began to drift apart, the broken framework continued to shatter, revealing pieces of the other world, – So beautiful and lovely! The thin thread affixing his soul to his body wavered. With every tick, the thread detached from its fastness and propelled him further downwards. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
There was my hand, fiddling for a pulse, just a single pulse! The sign of a persevering life. His pulse however kept tapping my finger lightly like an oscillating pendulum- So faint and thready.
The story then unfolds, Michael was wheeled in by the nurses after He was triaged a code of red, which meant he had to be seen immediately. He was involved in a road traffic accident, as a restrained passenger, in a top speeding bus. On that day, He was sandwiched between his grandmother and his mother who were seated on his left and right respectively; His two guardian angels. They had said a word of prayer as they set off to their destination. – The airport.
Daddy had returned from a 7 year expedition which earned him the title “Specialist Physician”. He waited patiently for the arrival of his family because he had not set sight on them in a very long time. He longed to see his son; who looked so much like him.
Rewind to the bus, Michael read a bedtime novel he bucked in his backpack before the journey. Mother enjoyed her playlist from her favorite musician –Joe Mettle, and Grannie went back to the blues; keeping her gaze fixed on the moving glass window, seemingly reminiscing the past – the good old times with Papa Mensah. She held back tears, as she aroused her last moments with him – on the hospital bed.
The man writhed in pain and gasped for air, battling so hard to set himself free from the terminal stages of prostate cancer. She clinched her grandson closer retaining the presence of her husband in the boy, Michael.
It all happened in a flash, Misery in motion. Her mother recalls recoiling herself backwards to take a nap, the driver throwing the car in a berserk motion to avoid collision with the big truck, frantic screams, convulsions and gasps from the passengers, in different motions of recovery, from the front to the rear of the car, dilated pupils bracing themselves for impact, rigid flexed knees ready to take a knock for being hard headed, and bloodshot ears which screeched to the sound of the bang.

Fast forward to the hospital, Grandmother, mother and grandson are being wheeled to the emergency department. Michael was in a coma, not responding to command, touch and pain. He was triaged RED and images from his head to his foot were taken.
The head and neck CT scan showed a large bleed on both sides of his brain with associated fractures of the cervical spine vertebrae. A chest x-ray showed serial rib fractures with collection of blood in the right lung and a pelvic x-ray showed widening of the pubis symphysis. He spiked a constant fever of 40.6 which was unresponsive to anti-pyretics. Even his lungs denied the oxygen being impaled through his nostrils.
He then began to deteriorate, very fast! The call was made and pride of doctors surged in. Surprisingly, his father too joined. His pulse glowed faintly and diminished with every shot of adrenaline being pumped in, eventually moving into hibernation. The atmosphere hinted it was his time to leave; the doctors reclined when the zephyr disappeared.
After 30mins of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Michael’s pupils were fixed and dilated; unresponsive to the touch of a cotton wool. There was no respiratory effort and no carotid pulse – The pulse we had fought to bring back.
I gently closed his eyelids and checked the time: 11:25pm. I wished I could have done something more to save his life but then, I had ran out of options and so He had assumed room temperature. I bowed my head as I exited the emergency department breaking the unfortunate news to his uncle. Rest in peace Michael.
#DoctorDiaries

Eliezer Bernard Owusu Ntim.