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Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Do you feel like your life is the recurrence, every day, of the parable of the lazy servant, “a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. Upon returning home, after a long absence, the master asks his three servants for an account of the talents he entrusted to them.…”(Matthew 25:14–30); that every night, just before your senses close off to sleep, your conscience accosts you, asks how you have spent the twenty-four hours of your existence.

Which of the three servants are you most of the days? If you are like me — God forbid! — you are the lazy servant. Today, for instance. There is the nine hours I spent, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the office, the rent I have to pay to the world for my tenancy; the one-hour break in between, when I secluded myself to a corner in my frequent restaurant and ate my meal in silence; the hour-walk to and from my apartment. And then there is the hours I spend after work, crouched over my note book, scribbling and stringing words together — the only time I sense life tingle in me — in the naïve hope, perhaps, that the little signs I condense my whole being into constructing would amount to something, speak to someone. a soul lost in the journey of life would come across it, discover meaning in it, and find her way, like I did once whilst I was struggling in my thesis during my graduate education, when a Medium-article quietly made it to my email and whispered to my troubled soul that there is no such thing as ‘laziness’, that I should not beat myself up for being ‘lazy’; that even a grown-up man who spends his days in his parents’ house is not lazy — he is expending effort and energy; that the guilt that gnaws at his spirit is because he is in the wrong profession. That message brought me back to my feet. I shaved my beard in weeks, put on clean pieces of clothes, went out to the world, changed the whole outlook of my paper and never looked back since. …


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Image by Sawan Juggessur from Pixabay

Yet another Valentine’s Day with no valentine. Not that the day holds any importance to me, but only that it is the day I am most keenly aware of the absence of a valentine and feel the brunt of singlehood; that I am 35 — and counting — the eldest son among siblings of four; that all around me, it is all love-in-bloom — my best friend had his third child recently and the last of my siblings, our youngest brother, has got married and is in honeymoon; and that conventional wisdom has it that the natural purpose of life is to settle down and build a family; and that no matter how high a person climbs up on the ladder of success, they are failures if they do not build a family yada yada yada. …


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Image by Anja🤗#helpinghands #solidarity#stays healthy🙏 from Pixabay

When I was only seven, there was a house across our home that intrigued and mystified my infantile mind. I felt it was a fairy house that remained cold and lifeless in day time and sprang to life with the setting of the sun. I saw in my mind’s eye that it had some magic power that drew solemn and sane people into its stomach, spelled them and spat them out all out mad and insane. When mama had to go on one of her visits (mbtsah), she would ask me to look after our home until she or baba came back. At such times, I would sit at the window of our home overlooking the fairy house and watch in awe as people in our neighbourhood, polished and correct, make their way to it as if under spell. I used to spend hours into the evening attending to what went around the place as mama often ran late. And then, the house would spew them out, all nuts, kind of like Hailu, and our neighbourhood loony. I watched with horror as these men threw words and punches at one another and women hurled their shoes. Gripped with fear, I would duck into my home and close the window. It was after some time that I learned that the fairy house had a name: bar. Twenty five years later, as a man who has shed his childhood naivety and is guilty of occasionally being in it one too many times, I still hold the same sentiment. …


a graduation article

Today, I stand tall. I stand tall above other trees, so verdant, with my branches stretching out wide and free. I stand tall, tall up in the sky, relishing the caresses of the wind. This is the day people stand in front of me, and exclaim, “Now this is a good tree!” Today, I look back at my past life of growth and I see it has not always been spring but seasonal. I have had to go through winter, sometimes long and hard winters. These were times testing, with the bitter and biting winds blowing in gusts to stun my growth or extract me to rot, and the blazing sun overhead. I have seen passion flowers, rose briars, clovers, and golden mangroves wilt and rot, bedevilled by the unfavourable conditions of winter. Yes, I am speaking about all the life obstacles that come in the way of our education and the glamour of the world that lures us away from studying. …


Based on one of the many true untold tragedies in the lives of African women

Aaleyah was only fifteen undergoing bubbling orogeny into womanhood. She was acutely aware of the two perky mountains protruding out of her chest; her body folding into roundness and wider at the hips; her lady garden growing full and beginning to spill lava. These orogenesis of femininity both fascinated and scared her. And so, the day her classmate, a boarding student from the village across the desert who was three months younger, was getting married, unlike the other girls in her class, who were content to send post cards of congratulations through the boys who were going and see the bride’s picture after they get back in their phones, she had to go and see for herself, not so much out of friendliness as the sense it felt like it was a celebration, no the coronation, of the same femininity budding in her. …


Call me nuts, but I do not see any difference between this sentence and, say, a tree. Yes, one is a string of words and another is a being, but still both are expressions, the former communicating idea and the latter communicating being.

Nor is there a difference between words and me, for that matter, for after all, the Good Book tells us all creation is but a word the Creator uttered, i.e. ‘be’ and we have become. It is for that reason that we have to revere words when we utter them as much as we respect ourselves. In essence, we are uttering ourselves, so to speak. (Could this also be why John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”). I also communicate without ever uttering a word, just like a tree, in my being. However, unlike a tree, I have to build through interactions the ‘being’ I communicate, a curse I have inherited from my progenitors for eating off of a tree they were ordained not to. …


There is no such thing as ‘change’. Nothing in the universe ever changes. There is only ‘evolving’. And no, they are not synonymous – there is a world of difference between them. To change is to jump from one state to another upon exerting (conscious) effort. To evolve, on the other hand, is to undergo gradual, incremental development and it transpires below the conscious level of mind. This difference has a serious implication in our self-development endeavours.

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<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/business'>Business photo created by creativeart — www.freepik.com</a>

We never change, but we never stop evolving. Do yourself a favour — quit trying to change to no avail. You have not become who you are overnight. You are the cumulative result of all your mental and physical experiences since birth. All these experiences – what you have ever done and not done, what has ever happened and not happened to you, what you have ever said and not said, what people have ever said and not said to you, what you have ever thought and not thought, what you have ever felt and not felt, etc — have moulded you into the being that you are now (and your future experiences will continue to mould you). Exerting a conscious effort to change yourself, a trait you have come to dislike, is naïve. It is like pushing against the mountain. …


A Case Against Literature

I wish to make love to humanity, of every race, all ages, both sexes, across the face of the earth, through writing, in the potency of language. You see, I am an aspiring writer, lover of language. Making love to humanity, body, mind, and spirit, through language that is eloquent as silence, rolls off the tongue, carries sublime thoughts, and is clothed in expressions that are natural, borne out of the sublimity of the thoughts, is, I believe, my calling. …


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Image by ddraw on freepik

All moments are pregnant. They are imbued with meaning. The birth of meaning is the awareness of it, when the meaning descends from the womb of the moment, so to speak, into the horizon of our awareness. But more often than not, moments pass us by without delivering their meaning in our awareness but go past us and deliver the meaning in the infinite space of nothingness beyond our conscious. And yet there are few other moments, who go into labor right before our eyes, writhe to push their meaning into the thick layer of our awareness. This is when you sense the heaviness of the moment, that there is more to it than the ordinariness meets the eye. A light, halo of mystery, symbolism forms over the moment, like a dream. …


A humble advice to those who ever feel life is unjust

Most of us are step-children of life. Illegitimate children. We live apologetically, as though our very existence is cardinal sin. We tread the earth softly on the outskirts of life lest we in anyway disturb our few legitimate siblings. We clad ourselves in the uniform of anonymity and spend our days whining about how bitch of a step-mother life is. We cast furtive glances of pent-up jealousy and self-loathe at the few privileged legitimates gurgling on the fat laps of life.

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Image by Dirk Wohlrabe from Pixabay

This primordial phenomenon is concentric. It could be on global level (first world nations enjoying the lion’s share of the world’s resources while the large majority languishes in poverty and lives on their crumbs), national (few elites or their ethnic group are the legitimates over the rest), societal (where legitimacy is on racial, caste, sex, disability basis), or even familial level (there is always one in a family who is the apple of mom and dad’s eyes, who can never do anything wrong, upon whom anything, from acting, singing, or even fooling around looks good, while the rest are relegated to moping what is left off our parents’ love and attention). One can, of course, be illegitimate on many levels. …

About

Gebriel Alazar Tesfatsion

I envy the eloquence of silence.

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