A scapegoat.

Merriam-webster dictionary defines the scapegoat as, a goat upon whose head the sins of the people were symbolically placed after which it is sent into the wilderness in the biblical ceremony for Yom Kippur. It also defines it as one that bears the blame for others or one that is the object of irrational hostility. Based on the first definition any goat could be selected during the feast of Yum Kippur to be the scapegoat. Up till the point when the priest casts the lot in the Jewish tradition either of the two goats could end up being the goat on whose head everyone’s sins were cast. It is important to note that the goat did not commit any sin of its own. It was only culpable in so much as it was a member of the Jewish community, at the time of Yom Kippur. It was unfortunate for whatever arbitrary reason to catch the attention of the priest and thus selected as one of the chosen for the fast .

This unfair fate is not relegated to goats alone. As the second definition above demonstrates man has been known to make a scapegoat of his fellow man. Regardless, of status in life whether noble, serf, leader, follower, innocent, guilty, loner or life of the party. One can quickly find themselves under the confessing tongues of many accusers. In similitude to the biblical scapegoat it would take an act of God to alter the desired outcome set upon by the community in which the accused exists in at the time. For many goats and people, being a scapegoat has never been a threat, nor even something they have ever imagined.

There are two fundamental things required for a scapegoat system to thrive. First, the system must be in place. There must be a need to have someone or something to take the guilty, sins and scruples of the people away. A conduit between man and his conscience, a tool to make a man feel that his deeds are not as gruesome. Or that they have been erased/forgiven thus neither God nor karma can revisit those sins on them. Although we no longer live in the olden days, this system still prevails in society. A good example is the current situation in Nigeria, where the presidential candidate for the labour party Mr Peter Obi has been designated the saviour of the nation. Alas! I fear he is nothing but a scapegoat. Atonement for the many sins of the past and the present.

The system has certain characteristics, one , it excludes anyone that does not fit in with the exisrung modus operandi in place. Two, iy is a rootless as well as ruthless system. Devouring both the fruits (benefits) and seeds (foundation) of the system. It also celebrates results rather than methods. Mr Peter Obi from all indications is a man who does the opposite. He wants systems that outlast a class, a group, a tenure, or a generation. A system that does not want to wash its hands of its guilt or wrongdoing. But learn from it. It is completely impossible to rid the world of guilt or the process of placing guilt on someone else’s shoulder. However, it is possible to create a system where a scapegoat is not a desired option. This can only happen when a system has its resources and demands/expectations evenly paired. For instance, two managers, four general assistants and one receptionist are required to smoothly run a business every day of the week. We will assume that this number of staff is decided to run the business at the peak hours. This means that at a less busy time, less staff might be required. Regardless of this, it must be understood that the office or system would be set up to fail if someone decides to run it with either less staff or with a different mixture of skills. For example hiring one manager, four general assistants and two receptionists, might seem adequate as the number of staff is accurate, but it, unfortunately, leaves certain parts uninsured and others unduly fortified. Creating the perfect opportunity for a scapegoat to arise, should the system not run smoothly.

The above scenario creates room for undue or maladjusted interpersonal skills to thrive. One that has less to do with the overall objective of the system/business or organisation in view and more to do with personal likes, dislikes and opinions. This system would make it easy for cliques to arise and for other variables which should normally stay on the parameters of the system to become the heart of it. Thus, elevating the people above the system. Whilst this is not a bad thing, in so much as “things were made for man and not man for things”, it can, unfortunately, become dangerous if the wrong people are at the core. This sad reality is the sorry state of Nigeria and a lot of organisations around the world. Systems that bear no resemblance to the original sketch on which it was built, as piece by piece people have changed the original with alternatives that are more individual serving than having a wider reach in view. This makes it a different system; its expectations and resources are altered. This is why placing all hope in one man might not be the best approach. For if or when he fails another will replace him. It will remain fallible unless the people refuse to move the structures to suit personal gain. This brings us to the second factor that creates a thriving system for the emergence of scapegoats; people. Whether they are leaders or followers.

In the series ‘The Last Kingdom Cnut answers Ragnar the fearless’s question regarding the worth of Æthelwold’, saying “his worth is in his ability to drip poison into every ear”. As simple or as mindless as it sounds, the aforementioned is the very backbone on which systems are re-engineered, broken or simply destroyed. As earlier mentioned, a system is made for man, but man is the only thing that can determine if the system will stand and endure. According to Winston, B. and Patterson, K. (2006), leadership is a major factor that determines how people fit into a system. But for this to materialise the leader must thoroughly know the system and uphold the system. This perhaps is the bases for which many people herald or advocate for Mr Peter Obi to become president. The hope is that a good leader will spearhead a good system. This is an ideology shared by Winston, B. and Patterson, K. (2006), in their definition of a leader, they assert that not only does a leader know how people should fit into the system, but a leader also deals equitably and supports diversity amongst his followers. This type of leadership also fosters the individual growth of each follower, encouraging them to take risks and innovate, (Winston, B. E. and Patterson, K. 2006). Under such leadership, when properly executed the chances of a scapegoat emerging is slim.

In addition to the above, (a good leader), there must be good followers. People who refute the “dripping of poison into ears”. People who hold the system above the individual. The task is not an easy one, it is often even difficult to identify when one has become caught up in the words that start the rot in the foundation of every system. From the above example regarding the number of staff required to run a business to the example of Æthelwold who exemplifies the spread of rot that destroys the system. Both show that a failure on one side or a gap on one side creates lapses and births a new system in place of what should be. There must first be a lapse in the system, an unbalancing of the scales. This creates the room through which the oil that destroys everything starts to drip, slowly but surely. But to achieve its maximum effect it must have willing vessels; leaders who through direct or indirect means encourage the spread. Followers who revel in the safety provided in the number of shared drips that oil the ear.

In summary, it is my opinion that the scapegoat system was replaced with Christ, to ensure that the corruptible and fallible arms of man do not taint the new system. Each man under Christ is given access to admit his guilt, ensuring that his heart and God alone know the truth of his intent. Similarly, systems need to be built in a way that safeguards the system as much as possible from man’s fallible nature. Every man is much the same as the other, fallible in different ways and through different means. Often, in need of a scapegoat to justify his actions. If he is also allowed to buy the conscience of others over then a new system emerges and the scapegoat system becomes successful. And will often find a head to fit into a noose.

Au revoir 2022

The year of all years.

Tears a fountain of relief, a faucet for pent up weariness.

Heart palpitations a plenty.

Fears like racing hordes from hell.

Unswerving doubt a cloak of comfort.

But…

Hope in the voice of a mother (s) rises …

I have been blessed to have several women who in the past and till today continue to nurture me. They pray with me, they advise me. They encourage me to go beyond praying to doing. They call my mind back to the multitude of reasons to be thankful. To count what I have, rather than miss what never was or is not yet. They make me live in the now. I love them.

For all my mum’s thank you for reminding me that now, is all we really have.

Echos in the voice of a friend (s) beckons …

I am thankful for these ladies, they listen, they hear me and although many miles seperate us they see me. For them I am grateful. When stressed I can hear them say, you are not alone. I have got you. I have gone through this, I am going through similar. This cannot end you. This is a phase. I hear them and I sleep, to wake with a resolve to be better.

Laughter in a cord of three holds tight ….

Two of three

Where do i start with this. Sisters by blood, by heart. They stand like amazons with a whip to shape my over thinking mind into focus. They correct me. They defend me. They shield my mind when it seeks to spiral out of control. We trade stories of all the craziness around us and keep each other sane. We consciously choose to stand despite our differences. A cord of three, our bond holds fast.

Trust in the steadfastness of oaks, comforts me….

I am thankful for the men in my life. Like an oak tree they are strong within as without. In a world that allows them leeway to be dubious, i am most thankful that they stand as people of insight, integrity and faith. May the father keep you and sheild you from the axe of the wicked.

Pleasure in the eyes of youth, renews me …

Bright as light

What can I say, this holds my world together. Your smile illuminates my world. Your tears jar me from all depth of angst. For you see, in your eyes i see a thousand tomorrows and yet many todays. So I want your memories to be sweet but not sickly so. Sour but never rancid. I want your life to be balanced. For if your inner voice holds sure, the world can stand on it’s head and you will know without a doubt that you are standing right side up. You will know whose you are and why you are.

Glow with confidence

Then …

I remember that i also brought something to the table. I remember that I also listened as I was listened to. I prayed for others as I have been prayed for me. I remember that no matter how small, i brought what I could every time I could. I find strength in this.

Finally ….

I am so very grateful to everyone who donated to the kids running page. It made a difference to someone’s christmas this winter. And the lessons from this endeavour is still ongoing. The kids haven’t completely grasped the concept that money does not come freely all the time. You need to add value or create value. Once again thank you so much for your donations. Our page is now closed. We raised a total of £310 before gift aid. So proud of my community of friends & family, you are beyond awesome.

And I am deeply grateful to you my reading audience for staying loyal over the years. Thank you.

Hope the new year sees us soaring in the air like the bird.

Au revoir 2022, I know I wll see you slightly in 2023. The years don’t really change but with God’s help we will be better.

Thanks Again.

Not planted.

Wild roses. Planted by the wind, nurtured by mother nature’s capricious temperament. Like stubborn weeds they bloom in-spite of admiration or its lack thereof. Seeking connection with something familiar. Surrounded by what looks nothing like it. Struggling within itself, “why am I here?” “Why didn’t I get to No 64’s garden, I mean it is only two doors down?” Refusing to smile, ignorant of the pleasure its’ fragrance brings to a wanderer. Blindfolded to the reality that winter harbours same fate for one and all of them including those at No 64. A wild rose is still a rose. Photo prompt courtsey of Trish Nankeville.
Thank you Rochelle for hosting the writing event Friday fictiooneers. To rule is to write a 100 word piece in response to the provided picture. Please click the link to visit Rochelle’s blog. It will be worth your while. And click this link to read other stories and write ups. Some times we get stuck in difficult places and the stress makes us forget our blessings. We envy those being favoured or nurtured by the system. We begrudge them that blessing of famililarity and comfort that we forget what we also carry within and the blessing it can also be. It is indeed great to have people pour into our lives but sometimes we need to pour into others even when our tanks are slightly low. Keep the faith. Chin up and you will see thin pockets of blessings enriching your life. But you will only see it if you open your eyes.

I have a dream

According to Cambridge dictionary a dream is a series of events or images that happen in your mind when you are sleeping.

Another definition from the Merriam – Webster dictionary defines a dream as a strongly desired goal or purpose.

No matter how young or old, independent or dependent on others we are, it is fairly safe to assume that all have dreams which fall into one or both categories above. Of course, every dream will differ per person, and perhaps per stage of growth, we find ourselves in.

However, one marked difference exists between the above definitions, and it is often influenced by the nature of the individual harbouring the dream. The first definition explains a dream as a series of events, while the second assigns a single objective/focus. Likewise, based on the former definition, dreams sometimes can be very intense, scary and realistic at the time. Other times they might seem nonsensical, whimsical or even a fairy tale. Sometimes we wake up able to recall every event in the dream. Whilst some others, no matter how hard we try, nothing seems to emerge from our memory. But a sense of deja vu or danger persists afterwards.

In contrast to the above, with the second definition, the dream is often something tangible or obtainable. It is rooted in the individual’s mind as a fixture. We often have a clear mapped-out path to attaining these dreams. Sometimes we have a timeline assigned to each segment. And more importantly, we know whom or what we need to ensure everything goes swimmingly well. Under certain circumstances, it comes together like the dream we wanted it to be, authentic to the master plan that contrived it. Other times the path to the dream gets so skewed that we might not recognise the end product when it is before us. And at those times, we are tempted to call it an accident rather than a dream. I find that it is more painful to recognise the goal or appreciate it for what it is when the dream is mostly distorted by people who ideally should support you. Or people who deliberately planned to skewer our dreams.

You lay me down by the still waters; I will not fear.

Regardless of the circumstances, it might be worth reviewing how we interpret the idea of a dream. Much like the first definition of a dream, our well-constructed dreams require a series of events to materialise. It also requires spectators, passersby and unwelcomed but even more certain unexpected guests or intrusions. I am learning, albeit slowly, that the best response to these hiccups on our journey is to wake up to the reality before us. Everyone ultimately wakes up from a good, bad or scary subconscious dream. Thus, every dream visualised as a goal or a subconscious event only has a deep grip on you, provided you remain unconscious of reality. You own the dream. It should not own you. Wake up, re-write the dream. Wakeup, rethink the dream.

Write the vision and make it clear, so that he who runs … for the race is not to the swift.

Tides

PHOTO PROMPT © Carole Erdman-Grant

The snipping sound of the scissor was lost in the background of celebratory jeers and claps.

For some it was the triumphant ending to a remarkable project.

For others it was the beginning of new adventure, the chance to start again.

And for some it was just another tick box exercise for the state. An effigy to dissuade a guilty and blood stained conscience from losing all it’s humanity. It was always the same, the politicians could never sustain their quick fixes to deep seated problems. Like a drug addict high on new fix, there was no doubt in their minds the building would fall into disarray a few years, when it’s shinning surface no longer impressed the media. When ghosts buried behind the walls rose to life again.

For Eloise it was already a little too late.

Her flesh was the foundation for all this hope. Her blood, the current surging through the light bulbs.

Alba would never understand a society that indulged it’s appetite voraciously, then plugged it’s rectum just as tight with asphalt. It never led to much.

The old build dubbed “iuventus seditio” Vesna’s altar, by the teenagers, had been torn down. In its’ place stood a new structure christened “youthful springs” by the adults who wanted a new life for all these teenagers who wandered lost through the street with nothing to do.

Thanks Rochelle for hosting the writing event Friday Fictioneers.

Quotes related to the story:

“There are two hundred million idiots manipulated by a million intelligent men.” PE

Every positive value has its price in negative terms… the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.” PP

“so I wait for you like a lonely house
till you will see me again and live in me.
Till then my windows ache.” PN

Working to live … living to work.

 

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I remember sitting on the bus on my way to work, scared by the choice I had made, excited by the prospects it held. I remember finding solace in these words:

I go to work to earn a living,

a living in my body,

a living in my health,

a living in my mind,

a living in my today,

a living in the future,

a living in my relationships,

a living in my dreams,

a living in my finance.

I am going to work to earn a stand to live the life I hope and hoped for.

While I can not say that this has made my life a smooth ride, it has however, made me slightly less apprehensive. It made me seek out the rainbows! To appreciate everyone who has lent even the most miniscule of help at any point.

God bless!

 

Happy new year

Happy new year!

I guess in every sense of the word it is indeed a new year for me as a blogger. Today marks my fifth year on WordPress. I haven’t been ‘actively’ around in the last 2 – 3 years, life has happened, life is happening and I am sure it will carry on happening for a long while yet. But before I get carried away to the land of reminiscence permit me once more to say, happy new year again!


The last few years have been filled with so many lessons to learn and many more to unlearn. As 2020 arrived, I had only one request on my heart, to have perfect vision. To see the obvious, to decipher the hidden and to lead my heart to better days. January is almost over, there are lessons to be reviewed and thoughts to be weighed.


Lesson one: stop overthinking. When something happens, accept your responsibility in the sequence of event, admit the culpability of others involved. Overthinking: trying to decipher others intent without speaking to them, often this leads to gossip or to wish you could get back at them. Determine: to take the lessons learnt or steps discovered forward. To see people as humans who are either whole, broken, insecure, arrogant or just plain toxic.


Lesson two: accept that confidence and self- confidence are not necessarily the same things. Accept that many people don’t necessarily know the difference between both terms. Acknowledge that most people in today’s world consider the extreme of confidence i.e. arrogance to be the confidence. knowing one’s weakness in an area is not a limitation in all areas. It is self-confidence to know one’s weakness, to accept the implications of this weakness, to decipher if they’re changeable or not. This limitation should not drive you to over-compensate in other areas. Everyone has weaknesses. Simply decide: to put in your best at all times, to continually learn, to grow your strengths and develop your weaknesses were possible. Determine: not to base your sense of worth on your performance in front of others, you’re an individual not a character in a play.

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It is confidence to know when to walk alone and when to walk with another.

In 2020, Balance is key.

Goal: to always see the woods for the trees.

To know what counts each day, each season and to max out the counts.

Happy new year again!

What have you done with your year so far?

 

 

Much tamasha…about something

Mama said, don’t let the boys near.

Papa said, not before the bull is in the shed.

Teacher said, I will disgrace you if I ever find out.

And me, I wondered what all the fuss was about.

There was silence, then there wasn’t.

There was singing, the sonorous humming of creaking springs.

There was silence, then there wasn’t.

There was drumming, the clanging beats of wooden boards.

Then there was silence.

Mama said it has one purpose.

Papa said it has another.

Teacher said both are plausible.

I wondered if they hadn’t missed something.

There was silence, the mind swirled.

Emotions danced a gig, the body rolled in confusion.

There was silence, the body weaved.

Fabrics lay in cords, hearts tied to bedposts.

Then there was silence.

I said, let words be spoken before the time,

And silence the reward of peace abide.

Devoid of mirrors with broken emotions,

or shadows of stringed-on by-standers.

Let words be spoken after the time,

And silence the reward of peace

on the altar of guileless love transcending a moment.

Mama nodded,

Papa reflected,

Teacher said, ‘of this sort I wholly approve’.

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I see you

I see you,

yes you, with eyes so deep, oceans rise in them.

I see you,

yes you, with tears so silent, dropping pins echo through.

Yes YOU, with a smile so bright, the sun stands in awe.

I see you.

Yes you, having a day, a moment.

I see you,

grappling through the dust for air,

stripping the words for a vowel of hope.

I see you,

Yes you, it’s a moment, a day,

it will pass, and hope will fill your words again.

I see you,

Yes YOU.

flowers
copyright N.chioma

 

Last words

See the source imageFear not, I am not dying, as interesting (read that as tough) as the year has been, we’ve still got air in our lungs, the mind box is still functional, (at least I think so, we will soon establish  that theory at the end of this post). And no this is not a new year resolution post, rather it’s a post to get off my chest something it has been brewing for a while now.

Through the course of the year I have been fortunate/unfortunate to read a lot of social media posts on marriage, relationships and the general emotional upheave that seems bent on denting the ideology that men and women can coexist peacefully under a contractual agreement. I have often been tempted to write an article, or comment in response to these posts. Something along the lines of ‘…..a good man would never treat ….., a good woman would always …..’, and every single time my mind reminds me of how subjective that thought or idea was. 

Reading  peoples comments often helps me see clearly, other times it enrages me, especially when they make references to bible passages, taking them out of context or simply imposing their thoughts on the scripture. A very good example is the Proverb 31 woman, who from people’s comment I deduce is a docile wife, but formidable business woman. A woman with a firm lid on her emotions in her husbands presence, (no anger, no disappointment, no tiredness, basically no negative emotions when he’s around). People assume her husbands delight in her stems from her ability to walk/work as his clone, someone who avails him of the opportunity to be in two different places at once, without being a UFO. 

Others refer to scriptures on the husband that point out his headship, but ignore other blatant truths in the same scripture. An example is the instruction for every leader to serve his followers, placing leaders at the bottom of the ladder. Another one places a demand on husbands, urging them to love their wifes’ in a deeply sacrificial way. However, this post is not about the husband or wife, it is about being a consistently good human. 

Every human should aim to be kind, good, peaceful, gentle, joyful, peaceful, tolerant,See the source image forbearance, loyal, and above self-controlled. This human can be a husband, wife, business owner, ruler, son, daughter, mother, father, neighbour. A human who places this standards as the minimal bases for human interaction, will be a good ….. (affix your own label). They will exhibit these traits at the very core of their interaction, every other behaviour will be subjective to the prevailing circumstances. And, because they are human, they will fall short sometimes, but they will right themselves again.

What makes you a good husband or wife is not in how expertly you respect (but secretly scorn) your partner, it’s not in how expertly you love (but secretly degrade) your partner. What makes you a good husband or wife, lies is how good you are as a person. How far you would go chasing perfection (refer to the above subjective interpretation of proverbs 31 and the husbands roles) at the expense of the real person wearing that ring you slipped on their fingers. How far would you go chasing your dreams at the expense of the other person who signed up to be your team mate, (meaning no ones dream gets abandoned intentionally or without acknowledgement at the starting whistle) and not just a cheerleader. An ambassador (both spouses should be representatives of the family but still individuals in their own rights) not just a clone.

In 2019 be a good person, be consistent.