All my life, I have dated men from church. Men who speak of the realms of the blessed. Men who sing, and sing good. Men who love to call upon the higher Man. You can not blame me. It is partly my mama’s doing. She, like any other African parent, instilled it in me that good men are only found in church. To date, I still admonish myself silent every time I catch myself ogling a gentleman who is not feeding on the goodness of the Lord.
Si you guys remember me cautioning ladies that the Ankara shirt never lies? Well, I am not as immune to those African shirts myself. Let’s put it this way. I’m easily floored by tall men. Men whose feet the Lord God has planted on higher ground. Both literally and figuratively. Men whose subjects and verbs agree. One after the other. Men who wear their money well, little or much. Men who listen and nod in amusement while I explain how I’m in love with the Range Rover Velar. This car is sinfully perfect that it has the covetous person in me bribing the gods.
Men who walk with a spring in their steps, the way each of us does when going to withdraw windfall money from M-PESA or the ATM. Men who maintain eye-contact. Speaking of eye-contact, have you any of those friends who look you in the eye till you squirm in your seat? Their gaze peers into your soul, peeling layer after layer till you find yourself blurting foreign things. Things like, ‘Yes it is I who hired the thugs who lynched Wangu wa Makeri years ago?’ When I meet a man such as that, and he happens to be in a proper Ankara shirt. One that spreads across his wide shoulders like the Aberdare ranges, fitting in all the right places. There, I make sure to cling to my guardian angel lest I fall into a box without further a thought and the whole world bursts out chorusing ‘Melodious has fallen.’ ( What am I typing, really?)😂
So much for trying not to digress. There once was a man. It was years ago. He was from the lake. A swimmer, albeit a horrible one. He was pretty big-headed and with an ego the size of a rhino. I always wondered how he actually fit through the doors. So stubborn was he that it used to tickle the Kisii in me. Forgive my next choice of words but I think that when God was distributing talents among men, the poor chap must have been accorded melanin in a yellow gorogoro. Because boy, was that man tinted! And before you all Kenyans lynch me or brand me a pathetic tribal girl, I’d like to announce that I am far from light-skinned myself.
Truthfully speaking, Jaduong was not exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier. However, he did have his strong points. Which were oh-so-strong. That son of an African woman had bewitching vocal cords. Every time he sang, I am persuaded that the heavens listened in absolute awe. When he quoted verses, he did so with eloquence unheard of. When he condemned something, he did it in the strongest terms possible. He was those guys whose existence (I always felt) would have been more relevant during ancient biblical times.
Somewhat, Jaduong found, or rather, sang his way into my heart. Since we are all suckers for stories with a happy ending, I should tell you that this isn’t one of those. You see, Jaduong Malaysia-d on me a few months later. With a lame, rather too lame, excuse. He could not serve God and have a girlfriend at the same time. Msijali. Hata mimi sikuelewa alikua anamaanishaje. Simply stating, multitasking was not Jaduong’s forte.
Jaduong was not the only black spot in my chapat. A few others left too, after him. I so much wish to state that there were no hard feelings on both sides in any of those Exodus-es but that would sound like Uhunye saying maize took one day getting shipped from Mexico. Some left with interesting reasons and some with no reason at all, it was even funny sometimes.
One particular guy did not like how I sing. Look, I am not one of those chics who can sing their way out of Satan’s trap if there was one. I do not posses a voice like those accorded to kina Ligala, Agit, Merah, Kessy, Autonomous, Verah, Kasuku (you should hear this girl singing). I sing just loud enough for the heavens to register my presence and mark the register that I, Melo was in church and was feeling blessed with 152 others.
Some felt my skirts were not long enough for their preference. They said my hair was okay, just not too okay. Not their ideal length or style. And that is alright. Si we are all a bunch of liberal mortals who like to chorus the phrase ‘To each their own’? And so they left-ed. Well, of course, not without giving a few recommendations on what they felt I should change. (Talk of sprinkling icing on an already ruined cake.)
Eventually, it got to a point my emotional muscles were crying for relief. I was mentally strung out. My heart was begging to return to its maiden role. Pumping blood. And boy, was I willing to comply!
If I ever told us that it was all so easy, I beg to take back my words. Because it wasn’t. I’d spend my whole week trying to figure out which church to attend the coming Saturday. Thing is, I just felt like avoiding my school church or whichever church carried any history of me. I desired to attend bible study like old times, but man, was the flesh weak! The very departmental meetings I once loved, and with all my heart ( ilikua department ya kupika maumbile ), I found abhorrent. And for no particular reason.
The flesh was weak. Too weak. My spiritual body was numb. And it felt wrong. Tuseme, I had trusted the vessels more than the creator of them. And so when the vessels failed, I found myself losing faith in the creator too.
I couldn’t call mama and tell her that she was wrong about ‘these men’. No. She would just scold me for my poor choice of men and encourage me to pray harder and feast on the joy of the Lord. Till kingdom come.
Social Sundays no longer appealed to me and neither did the relationship weeks of prayer. At the time, I did not want anybody telling me how there is love at home. How now? All I wanted to hear was those powerful messages about His Second Coming. About the way He who is above will open the windows of heaven upon those who give. ( Agit, denarii is life!😂😂 😂😂)
All I wanted to hear about was the way silver and gold belong to God. About Jesus and Him crucified. I wanted to hear anything other than love. Whether it be about Balaam speaking to a donkey without batting an eye… anything else. Not love. When reminiscing, I still find my then shallowness extremely cringe-worthy. You see, everything about Christ zeroes in to love. How daft was I not to decipher that?
For months, I stayed bitter. Pepper-mixed-with-bile kind of bitter. On the brighter side though, single-hood was proving thoroughly blissful. There were no texts that I felt obliged to reply to. Calls that had to be returned lest an argument ensued. Life was awesome. Like that ka-feeling of chewing the last piece of cane real slow, eyes closed, as in a trance.
Any man who tried his luck was met by impenetrable Jericho-high walls. Walls that I thought would keep me safe. Walls I was not about to let anyone climb over. Or break down for that matter. I looked at them: the sons of Adam, good intentions and sincerity plastered all over their beings but no nerve in me throbbed. Why did I feel my own skin shrinking by a size or two when anyone asked me out? Why is it that those admirable virtues no longer tugged at my heart? Was my heart suffering numbness for lack of motion after such a long period? Or was it because that was an all too familiar road that I was not ready to tread again? The rawness just hadn’t thawed out yet.
When fourth year came, and grass was not growing, friends started asking that question we all dread. ‘Uko na mtu?’ ‘Ama you are an independent candidate?’ ‘Maneno ya multi-party haikuletei shangwe kwani?’ They, like good friends, would go ahead to remind me gently that school is ending. That it will be very difficult to find someone good out there.
Well, the story could go on and on, but that will be too much word for nothing. This article is for the girl who was made to feel like she was not good enough and for any other person who loves to read. For the damsel who jumped, but just not high enough for the mister. The girl who is trying so hard, but doesn’t feel strong enough to let go of the bitterness. The girl who feels there are no longer any truly good men in church.
My people, not all the oranges in the sack are spoiled just yet. The sun will rise tomorrow. It always does. The sons of Adam, in their quest for God, may seem a little over the top, but good men are still there. Safely tucked among-st them. Just dance with God and he will bring the right man along into the music. ( Philip, hapa sijaongelea choir trainers please. I am talking about proverbial music, aye!)
Most importantly, do not give up on this God. He hasn’t given up on you just yet. It is not worth it to stake his service just because some guy toyed with your heart. Neither is it worth it to skive bible study just because Jaduong’ or sijui who might be there. Instead, go there because Jesus will be there. There is balm in Gilead. There.still.are.good.men.in.church.