Not long after I entered the
We had come to Jos for the Missionary Conference that CAPRO Missions had organized to draw up support for indigenous Christian missionaries that laboured for the Lord among the unreached people groups spread across outlying villages of
Having spent a significant part of my early life in the North, I saw Christians in the South as being lukewarm and unserious for up north, we faced persecutions and there were no middle lines to tow. You’re either a radical Muslim or a ‘Jimjim” Christian who rightly divides the Word of Truth like we were taught in fellowship. I had caught the revival fire early in my life from my dad who pastored a local congregation in
Soon after I became the Bible Study Secretary at SCM in UNN, I established a Counseling and Visitation Unit in the fellowship which I christened “Abraham’s Bosom’. With my interest in Christian counseling and spiritual formation, I began to volunteer my psychotherapeutic skills to help people with diverse emotional problems within and outside the fellowship. Many sisters and brethren as we called each other had stories of emotional trauma dating back to their childhood days. Some had personality disorders and not a few suffered from self-rejection and esteem problems. But most of the brothers in the fellowship didn’t take advantage of my free services, save sisters. And they always ambushed me on the way to pour out their hearts to me, or came to my hostel room or the SCM office to seek my counsel in a lot of issues, especially relationship issues like heartbreak, courtship, and how they’d know if a brother who proposed was God’s will for them. A brother would walk up straight and tell a sister how God had revealed to him in a vision that she was his missing rib, and the sister gets flustered especially if he’s one of the serious-minded and deeply spiritual brothers in the fellowship. The seemingly ugly sisters hardly had suitor-brothers knocking on their doors to share such heavenly vision with nuptial undertones. It was as though God never had the ugly sisters in his plans, or the brothers are seeing visions with their eyes wide open!
I remember one sister Adanna who was nicknamed ‘Eze Katapila’; the teeth of a caterpillar by one funny guy in campus, because she had a rather awkward dentition. Her genetic system seem to have sent discordant DNA codes to her teeth-forming cells as they gave her three; instead of two rows of teeth that struggled to fill up her mouth leaving room for the tongue and gums. Sister Adanna was very intelligent though, and a straight A student in her engineering faculty, but had no close male friend in the fellowship, let alone her class. She had suffered rejection and despite several sessions of counseling, she still made no progress.
At some point, she had fallen in love with a guy in the fellowship who seemed to have shown some interest in her. They were getting along well until the guy began to withdraw. No sooner had they started dating than he waltzed out of her life for no reason, but ostensibly her teeth was the major culprit, leaving her heartbroken. She needed no prophetic insight to know that her greatest undoing was her funny-looking dentition though she had a well-sculpted and beautiful face, which drew attention towards her. But when she attempts to laugh, and show off her teeth, trouble mixed with pain becomes her lot. So she always kept a straight face, which also made guys stay at some safe distance away from her.
In one of our sessions, I gave her a book to read titled ‘Rejection: Causes and Cure’ written by Derek Prince, a seasoned Bible Teacher which I hoped would help her. Two weeks after, Adanna came to my room to share a testimony of what the book had done in her life. I was truly delighted.
‘Bro Okey’ she said excitedly, ‘I didn’t realize that I should accept me the way God created me. I have always thought I was plain ugly and unworthy of anyone’s love until I read this book you gave me’
My ears retuned and it was as though they rose up like that of a rabbit in shared excitement.’ Wow’, I said to her,’ please tell me more about your story’
‘I read that God calls me His Beloved because he accepts me the way I am. That’s very liberating news for me. So I don’t need anybody to accept me or not because God loves me in spite of my teeth. Is that not true bro Okey?
‘Praise God.’ I exclaimed. ‘You just have caught a revelation sis, and it’s not flesh and blood that has revealed this to you but God Himself. So from today, go ahead to smile, laugh and make merry without bothering who likes your teeth or not.’
We talked at length about how people treat us as rejects because we fail to accept ourselves the way we are ,and that what we would think normally about ourselves influences how others treat us as well. If we think no one loves us, we feel rejected and the cycle continues. I spoke to her like an authority in psychotherapy and gloated inwards like one who had made a great breakthrough in social psychology.
Just before she left, she made me quiver when I heard her utter a request that I hardly knew how to meet. ‘Bro Okey’ she called, looking deep into my eyes to see if I’d hide my true feelings behind the façade of a smile.’ If God truly accepts me the way I am, do you also accept me the way I am?’
‘Yes of course!’ I answered with a glint of smile.
‘Then give me a kiss on my lips if you truly don’t find my dentition detestable’, she said with expectation written all over her face.’ Did not the Bible say we should greet one another with a holy kiss, yet no one attempts to give me even a peck?’
I was transfixed for a while and didn’t know what to do since I haven’t really kissed any girl in my life before then
except my blood sisters. After what seemed like a stretch of eternally-long minutes, I decided to give her the kiss. It was a hurried one but our lips brushed against each other in an awkward manner, but there was no rousing of suppressed sensual feelings in neither me nor her. It truly was a holy kiss, and of course my very first.
And there will always be the very first kiss, which I had long kept it for my bride, only to give it away to someone who needed it like air to live. Adanna glowed like a neon sign after the kiss. She had a bubble that made everyone wonder what had become of the reclusively quiet Adanna that everyone avoided. Her dressing changed, and she became more actively involved in life.and it was that first kiss that ignited in her the passion to live. I never knew the potency of a kiss on a woman until Adanna requested one from me, and I never remained the same too.
But there was a second kiss that I don’t always like to talk about. No one in the fellowship knew about it as it’s a secret between me and Sister Osinachi who was my daughter-in-the-Lord. I was the one who preached to her before she got born-again. I also discipled her and that made her so fond of me, for I literally took care of her like a father would. My room mates thought she was my younger sister, as she was the only girl that I allowed to visit my room at will. She read her books and did her assignments in my room whenever she felt her hostel had become uncomfortable to her.
This fateful day after my graduation from school, I came to process my transcript and popped into the fellowship to see those that I had left behind at SCM. They were all over me especially the sisters who gave me bear hugs at will, but Osinachi wasn’t too happy with their show of love to her ‘popsy’ like she fondly called me. She waited while others left the fellowship venue until I finished exhorting the excos on the need to uphold the values we had enshrined in the fellowship while we were in their midst. When I was done with the business of the day, I called on my ‘little daughter Osy’ to come and escort me to the staff quarters where I was to spend the night. She shrugged her shoulders like a little girl in need of attention would do. So I had to draw her close to my side and assured her that I’ll always remember her, and never will forsake her like we read in the Bible.
I noticed she had so grown and matured into a big girl over a year since I left school, and my eyes noticed the obvious change in her physique and attitude too. She made me quit seeing her like my little daughter of yesterday and we talked at length that night, as we took a long walk to the staff quarters. Along the line, she clasped her hand round my right elbow and after a while; she requested that we sit on a large stone that was smooth enough to accommodate two people. I asked about her courses and sundry issues like fellowship activities, relationships and all that I could remember. It was obvious she didn’t want to go back to the hostel having missed my company for too long. When I insisted that she must go back to the hostel, she made a strange request.
‘Bro Okey…emmm,I want you to give me a holy kiss’, she stuttered out from her well-trimmed mouth.
I was dumbfounded to say the least. And after she insisted that she can only leave if I planted a kiss on her lips, I decided to oblige her. And we kissed. It was my second, but it was not as innocent as the very first holy kiss. Little did I know that Osinachi had so grown from the innocent girl I discipled going by how her lips locked mine as though she was starved of life and needed the kiss of life like someone that was drowning. She stirred up feelings in me that I never knew had resided deep within me. And I wish I never accepted that kiss from someone who was not my bride.
My hands began to grope and search her body, and she didn’t care a hoot about what happened. We were all alone and shielded from prying eyes and the darkness around served as a perfect backdrop for this experimentation. The seconds raced into minutes. It was like we’d spent a part of eternity locked in each other’s warm embrace. In a flash, she had transmuted from my daughter-in-the-lord, to a passionate lover-in-the-lord and the father-daughter spiritual relationship I had built over the years with her crumbled before me. While I was enjoying the feeling, she released me from her grips and pulled away. I wanted more than a kiss, and wouldn’t release her from my own grips. But she pushed me away and when I came back to my senses, all I could see in the twilight was a silhouette walking back all alone to her hostel.
I raised a wail in my heart and cried, “Chineke eeeeh, what have I just done to myself?” wondering how I would be able to stand before the fellowship members again preaching about ‘holiness unto the lord’ without a finger pointing back at me in utter derision. I quietly left the campus the next morning without a word with Osinachi, and God help me if she doesn’t tell anyone about our shared secret!