I was fast asleep, enjoying one correct breeze from my window when my phone rang. Chei! That day I felt like slamming the phone into the wall. I was so annoyed.
The call was from my mum. She was shouting on the phone.
‘Yetunde! Your father is in the hospital and you have not even checked up on him. Is this how you were raised! The Bible says-‘ she paused. ‘Just go and take care of him.’ The line went dead.
I stared at the phone wondering if I was dreaming. I had spoken to my father two days ago. Was it within those days that he fell ill? With mum far away in the UK tending to my sister’s new baby, I was really worried for him..
Sharp sharp I rushed to the hospital. You won’t believe what I saw when I got there. Dad was standing at the corridor with our family doctor laughing and clapping his hands. He was happy to see me. I looked at him, confused. ‘Dad, I thought they said you are sick.’ He frowned. ‘They? Who’s they?’
The doctor smiled. ‘Your dad has a little health challenge but with the treatments, he’ll be fine. Since your mum is not around, I’ll suggest he stays with you until she gets back.’
That night I brought dad home. My husband and I had an intense argument that nearly drove me crazy. ‘The tables have turned. You can bring your father to our home without my permission but my own mother cannot show up in her son’s house anytime she likes.’
‘That’s different. This is an emergency situation. Since we got married, have you ever seen my parents interfere with the decisions we make here?’
‘So my mother is a troublemaker, is that what you are saying?’ Of course she is… Lol..I didn’t tell him that.
I was just tired of going back and forth with him. There was always something to fight about. At a point, we had stopped talking to each other. It just seemed to be the safest way to avoid more fights. Go your way, I go my way.
When I served dad his food that night, I knew he sensed that something was wrong. He just stared at me and said nothing.
Two days later, dad called me to the guest room and asked why we don’t usually have family devotions in the morning. I told him that sometimes, I pray with the kids in their room.
‘Does Jide join you for the prayers?’ I shook my head. ‘No.’ ‘When last did you pray with Jide.’ I remained silent. ‘Yetunde, when was the last time you and your husband prayed together.’ ‘I can’t remember.’
I felt so ashamed of myself. I had grown up in a family where prayers and family devotion was the next best thing after our vacations. There were several nights I’d heard my parents’ voice in their room praying all night. Some other times, they’ll be in the living room discussing, their bibles opened in front of them.
Quietly I’d prayed for a marriage like theirs. The bond they shared. Their open expression of love. Their commitment to God. Dad suddenly stood up and began to pace the room. ‘Yetunde, you can go. I need to pray.’
Before I would step out of the room, my dad was already blasting in tongues. I sat in the living room, sad and disturbed. Then something happened that night.
We had just finished dinner when we began to hear gunshots. Dad was watching the news. My husband was in the room. Dad turned off the TV the same time my husband ran out of the room.
The sound got closer. I stood there shivering. My husband grabbed my two sons and ran into our bedroom. Dad just sat there unperturbed, muttering some words I locked the door and was about shutting the window when he stopped me.
‘Leave the window. The doctor said natural air is good for my health. I miss your mother. Days when the breeze is blowing like lightly like this, we’ll sit outside and tell stories.’
I stared at my father in shock. ‘Dad!’ The robbers came right to our door. My husband was back in the living room. I saw urine trickling down his boxers to his legs. As for me, I was on the floor saying my last prayers. More gunshots. ‘Open this door now!’
My heart died that moment. I thought of the life beyond. My business. My children. See, all manner of thoughts flew into my heart. My father calmly pulled the curtain aside. ‘In the name of Jesus, shut up!’
There was silence suddenly. Then my father did something unbelievable. ‘Gbenga Aderopo.’ Dad shouted. No answer. ‘If I call your name, say present ‘ ‘Gbenga Aderopo.’ ‘Present Sir!’ A man answered. ‘Peter Sukanmi. Ah, you that your wife has just been rushed to the labour room. Anu e semi. Peter Sukanmi. Are you there?’ The next thing I would hear, movement of feet scurrying away. My father unlocked the door. There was no one. When we stepped out, I saw the last person jump over our wall.
We got back inside. Jide was sweating profusely. Dad looked at Jide.
‘This is what would have happened tonight. They would have raped your wife in your presence and killed you.’ He turned his attention to me. ‘You see all that played out tonight, that’s the mighty hand of God’s deliverance. I had seen a picture of you lying on the ground dead. But we had been settled that in the spirit. Both of you need to stop yielding to your fleshly pride and get your heart back in unity. Kick out this coldness and allow the Holy Spirit rekindle love in your home.’
As he left for his room, my kids ran after him. ‘Grandpa, we are afraid, we want to sleep with you.’ Dad began to sing and dance ‘I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves even me.’ They giggled and laughed as they followed him to the guest room.
I knelt there and began to pray. I was crying and praying. I was asking for strength, for forgiveness, for help, for wisdom, for the renewal of the Spirit. Jide just held my hand and prayed silently.
That day was a turning point in my family.
*moral lesson*Forgive one another endlessly. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. rekindle the fire of love & pray always.