My hesitation and reluctance was due to what I thought people might say. I was so concerned about people’s reactions and my personal reputation that I almost didn’t do it.
I was extremely concerned about the gossiping and the slandering that would ensue (and boy-o-boy do we enjoy gossiping and slandering in Lagos!!! Lol).
Well, as you now know, I did eventually press enter.
I want to thank everyone that called or sent me a message of encouragement during the following hours / days of my posting that article. Your words of encouragement were most invaluable. Thank you.
What has amazed me since posting that article is the amount of people that have contacted me to say what a good idea it is to have such a seminar. I am actually quite shocked by the amount of people that have got in touch to say that the seminar is much needed and long overdue- some of them are people I would have expected to frown upon such a seminar. I guess it just goes to show that God really does have a plan.
I have heard tales of people having to emigrate because of the stigma and near victimization inflicted on them because of divorce. I have heard tales of people turning to drink and drugs because of the depression caused by divorce.
I remember my return flight from Atlanta on 2nd October 2011, after my ex asked me for a divorce. On that flight I wanted to get absolutely hammered (for those who don’t understand that term it means to get blind drunk). But fortunately for me, just before ordering some wine, brandy, whisky, anything in fact (I was ready and looking forward to indulging in all various forms of alcohol!), I heard God tell me; ‘You are not to touch a drop of alcohol until January 2012.’
I realized there and then that, although it would be a challenge and sometimes excruciatingly painful, the best way to overcome the sorrow was to face the next few weeks and months 100% sober.
In other words I was just extremely fortunate to have received an instruction from a God that loves us all so much, and indeed always wants the very best for us. Thankfully He also gave me the grace and strength to obey.
Trust me – in my past I’ve gone down the road of alcohol and drugs, either for fun or to overcome sorrow and it is definitely not the answer. We’ll talk more about that at the seminar.
During the next few weeks, one thought kept running through my head over and over again.
‘Segs, you’re free now, you can have as much sex as you like. Go and rock! You deserve a little release. Go and get laid Segs!’
But somehow God made me realize that although the sex might be fun, and as far as I was concerned much needed, I would still wake up the next morning wishing I was waking up next to my wife.
The reason I am saying all this is because we need to recognize that we are all human. We all have failings. We all make mistakes. But that’s why we are friends. That’s why we are family; to help each other.
In other words we are not here to simply focus on being better than the next person.
We are also not here to judge the next person.
We’re not here to go through tough times alone.
We’re here to help each other through tough times.
We’re here to support one another through times of sorrow.
We’re here to strengthen one another in times of weakness.
This is the real reason for holding this seminar.
It is not just to tell you my story.
It is not just to tell you what went wrong – the mistakes I made.
It is to help those who are going through challenging times to find strength and hope; to know that they are not alone.
It is to show people who may be feeling lost and confused that this is NOT the end.
It is to enable people to find their real selves again.
And yes – it is to have a forum in which people can speak openly, without judgment or condemnation, about their personal experience and anguish of going through a divorce.
During the past few weeks I’ve written a few articles that may have suggested that I have something against church leaders in Nigeria. I want to make it very clear that I don’t.
In this light I want to thank my church pastor for helping me to move on. Thank you Mr. B.
And thanks for all your prayers Mr. D.
I want to touch briefly on something very important.
We spend so much time worrying about whether things might go wrong. We spend so much time hoping that things go smoothly in our lives. Well, the truth is that if everything in life was smooth and easy how on earth would we grow? If everything in your life was easy and smooth then how on earth would you know how to help those who are going through tough times?
I’m starting to believe more and more that every challenging situation we go through in life is for a reason – for the sake of our individual growth and development and more importantly so that we can help people who go through similar experiences.
There is something you and I are supposed to learn from every situation and every challenge.
Once you learn what it is, don’t just keep it to yourself. Use your lesson and experience to teach those in need.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Let us build a society in which we are all friends in need.
This may seem like a small step towards that. But remember – small steps lead to giant leaps.
If there’s anyone out there feeling dejected, rejected, unloved, alone and rather like a failure, I want to assure you that you are most definitely not a failure. I want to assure you that the only rejection that really matters is rejection from God; and that can never happen. He will never reject anyone that comes to Him.
Many years ago (I think I was between 5 and 7 years old), two of my older brothers and I were playing war in the front garden of our house. Can you imagine?!! Playing war in the front garden!!! You’d think we had the sense to at least play our war games in the back garden – away from the cars!!!
Anyway – the front garden it was.
As well as using sticks for guns we also used stones as grenades. Our war games were strategic and fierce.
In the midst of one of our intense afternoon battles I mindlessly took up position in front of our dad’s brand new black Mercedes Benz. Dad had taken the other car to work and was still at the office. He usually returned home at about 7.30pm.
So, there I was, positioned in front of this spanking brand new Merc, when my brother decided to lob a grenade at me. Till this day I ask him ‘ how on earth could you have lobbed a grenade at me when I was standing in front dad’s Merc? Come on!!!
But he did lob the grenade.
As that stone sailed through the air, everything seemed to be in slow motion. We all knew what the outcome would be upon the stone’s landing, but there was nothing we could do about it. As the stone landed on, and of-course smashed the windscreen of the Merc, a deathly silence descended upon us. Without uttering a word the three of us left the scene of the crime and went straight to bed. It was 2.30pm.
I doubt whether any of us slept for even a micro second. Indeed our anxiety and fear intensified more and more as evening approached.
Finally, we heard the beep of dad’s car. He had arrived from work.
Before going any further I should explain that the usual practice when dad arrived home was for us to run to him, screaming ‘daddy daddy daddy’ in excitement and joy. We would then proceed to take off, or more accurately, pull off his boots (remember those boots dads used to wear?!!).
But on this occasion there were no happy and excited screams of ‘daddy daddy daddy’.
After a very tense 20 minutes or so, we were eventually summoned downstairs. I’m sure walking the green mile is not too dissimilar to that walk we took down the stair case. But unbelievably, when we got downstairs, all he said to us was, ‘you poor children, you’ve suffered enough. Have you eaten?’
And that was it. Everything returned to normal. But before eating there was something we had to do first. Yep – pull off his boots. Lol.
Apparently when dad got home he was surprised by the fact that his children didn’t run out to greet him. He also missed it. He asked mum where we were and she replied,
‘Babafemi, o ori moto e nita ni?’ Which, roughly translated means ‘Babafemi (my dad’s name), haven’t you seen the state of your car?’
Dad went to look at the car, and after seeing the state of it returned inside and said ‘those poor children. They must have been so scared and suffered so much during the past few hours. Please call them. I want to see my children.’
His love for his children far outweighed everything else.
As wonderful and loving as he is, my father on earth is certainly not perfect in love.
But our father in heaven IS perfect love.
So – multiply the love that a man had for his three rather mischievous children by infinity and you may just get an inkling of the love that our father in heaven has for you.
To our dear muslim brothers and sisters, I say
‘Barka Eid El Fitri’.
To everybody else I say ‘have great weekend.’