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12 months, 365 days, what defines a year? The rotation and revolution of the earth and sun? Or the haphazard journey through the time space continuum which our lives experience. When Efe asked me to write again this year, I was quite hesitant at first. But he’s my bros and I’m forever loyal to his regime so I had to whip out my notepad and start typing. I was hesitant because I wrote last year, and that writing was born out of something different from what this one would be born out of.

Last year I felt pain. Like legit pain, and then I felt relief and joy. That’s the best place to write from. Because the words come from your scars. I guess that’s why ever so often even till now I still get mentions on twitter referring to that blog post. Pain resonates with a lot of people. This year, the words will come from my brain not because I haven’t had painful experiences, but because the lessons of last year taught me how to handle myself when waves like that came around. I learnt to ride the storms. And it’s been the best lesson of my life so far.

On December 8 last year I was given a son. Those I’ve told the story of how my nephew came to be know the pun in that word “given”. I call him my son because even though he’s my sisters baby, I’m really the father figure in his life, and I honestly don’t think I could love even my own children more than I love him. He feels like my child through and through. I was basically thrust into fatherhood with no warning whatsoever. I am already financially responsible for my sister so having a baby to take care of as well just legit made me a family man. But this is a role I’ve grown to love. I pull up home, knock on the door when my sister is around, and hear him stagger (because he can’t fully walk properly yet) to the door heaving and laughing because he knows it’s me. Those moments when he crawls towards me and screams for my attention because he wants me to chase him round the house. He loves being chased. Weird baby I know. Those moments when he rubs his eyes for so long then he finally sleeps off on my chest while I’m laying on the futon watching TV. I live for those moments. As you guys read this, he’ll just have turned one 3 days ago. It was one hell of a year. He melted all my gangster. I caught myself driving home sometimes just so I could carry him and play with him. For some reason he loves to decorate my face with lotion. He screams you to death if you don’t let him. I’ve learnt to just accept my fate and get plastered with insane amounts of lotion for peace to reign. I live for those moments.

I learnt a little how and why to forgive. Forgive my dad because his kicking my sister out of the house was what led to her getting pregnant. Forgive my sister for hiding the pregnancy for 9 months and throwing a full born baby in my face. Forgive myself for obviously being so unapproachable that my baby sister could not come tell me she was pregnant. I still have a lot of forgiving to do. God help me.

On the work front, I cannot even lie, this has been my best year yet. For the first time a company came to source me themselves and I did not have to send in an application. Started with them in July. They’re the world’s 12th largest employer of labor. Got a promotion 2 weeks ago. I’ve had to travel because of it. I love to travel so it’s fine. Something vintage about being in a hotel room in a far away city. My bosses love me. They say I’ll go far. They get shocked each time they hear how old I am. A 23 year old should not have a calm head on his shoulders. That’s their opinion at least. But I tell people I’m a 36 year old man in a 23 year old’s body.

Being the only kid out of school with a father that doesn’t give a hoot about his kids, I’ve had responsibility. Probably too much for my young head. I’ve had to carry it and smile everyday. It gets hard sometimes, it really does, but one thing keeps me going. I know I have a Joseph story, and it’s his destiny to save his family. This is my gift and curse. Would I rather be the member of the family being saved? No. So all I can do is chin up and smile. I would say I’m pulling my weight. Probably pulling a lot more than my weight. I know that’s not any doing of mine because it’s only grace that has seen me through. There were times this year I felt like giving up on everybody and just doing me. But I would quickly remember last year’s lesson. Every single trough will lead to an even greater crest.

Last year proved to me that the statement “ALL THINGS work together for the good of them that love God” is very true in my life. Things just seamlessly seem to “Happen” for my good. I got in a bad car crash this year. A month later I’m driving a much nicer car. I had job troubles this year, applied to a company asking for double pay because my future with my the one I was wasn’t sure. I got turned down. I was scared. Two months later a HR associate who is friends with the HR director at the company I applied to saw my resume on her friend’s desk picked it up and contacted me to come work for them. Much higher pay. Last month, I had a flat tire, I escaped the famous 62 car accident in texas in November (google it) by a few minutes. I saw it happen. Every single bad thing that happened happened for a good reason. Guess that’s why I don’t think any bad thing happened to me this year. This is why I love to lose myself in worship.

I have been asked about my belief in God a lot this year. And even though I can give a very very convincing logical and philosophical argument that he exists, my biggest tool for convincing you will remain my life. I have literally lived out the promises in the bible this year. I have seen them in my life. I have seen provision, I have seen protection, I have seen results that are double my efforts. I have seen unmerited favor. I have seen grace. That’s why my latest retort to people who question my faith is “I don’t know, let me believe what I wanna”. Not because I don’t really know, but because that bible verse that says in the new testament that “God’s goodness will drive you to repentance” is ever so true. In my car I turn up the volume and just worship, because true true, who I be? Where I for dey? Wetin I get wey I dey order 60-somethng year old Caucasian men around. How am I a “boss” to white men as old as my father. I’m 23 for Gods sake, TWENTY THREE! I don’t even have a masters degree. Just a small boy from UNIBEN. And you tell me there’s no grace? Nigga please. I’m no goody two shoes, I really am not, but grace stays covering me. It’s creepy. I’m getting emotional as I write this. I don’t deserve this God. I don’t deserve this life. but he has promised me that He hasn’t even started with me. Scary. Scary very very Scary.

Someone asked me what one word I could describe my year with. And without thinking twice… “The word is HAPPY”.

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I felt humbled editing this testimony.

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