Are you hardly working?

Growing up, I was taught to work hard. We played hard but we all had morning chores before school. If my Dad asked, “What are you doing,” you had better not say “nothing.” I worked hard on the farm, at home, at school and later as an employee in Shell Petroleum and GT Bank. My siblings and I were taught and expected to work hard by exerting ourselves mentally and physically. Becoming an entrepreneur was a natural progression for me.

But in scriptures, I see God referred to as working when all He did in creating the universe was speak. Naturally, it did not compute, because “Let there be light…and there was light” seemed more like playing and having fun with words than working. I am now realizing that my conception of work is what needs correction, not God’s. Firstly, if He says a+b=c, no other opinion or experience counts. Secondly, the fruits of his work are still standing since creation, even though they were all spoken into existence.

I am renewing my thinking to this: God works with words and so, sustainable work requires words. God uses words to create, renew, maintain and destroy. I do not think that violence or “the sweat of thy face” were intended, when He told his copy to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Like God, I believe we were designed to work with words, since we are meant to possess His wisdom and ability, which would eliminate toil. If we function in God’s class, shouldn’t we produce results as effortlessly as “let there be light… and there was light?”

Look non-religiously at the things we call miracles, which I believe are merely glimpses into our lost civilization, which Christ invites us back to. Moses needed no special equipment to divide a sea. With words, Joshua made this 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000-kg earth to stand still for 24 hours. With mere words and no factory, Elisha produced marketable oil. Jesus created physical substance, renewed human tissue, corrected mental and spiritual diseases with words. He further messes things up by saying mountains can obey our commands. I have tried to rationalize that statement as merely figurative but after considering that the mountain was spoken into existence and he had just used words to kill a tree, I concluded that Yes, words can move mountains.

In Yoruba language, isé means work but in typical Yoruba fashion, similarly spelt ìsé means fruitless toiling and exertion. From God’s perspective, I have been doing ìsé and not isé. I need to learn isé from the Master. He showed that we bring the power of the Almighty Spirit in us to bear on any matter with words. Imagine making strategic speaking a lifestyle! If we will give account of every idle word we speak, then our words are meant to be strategic and targeted. Have you been working hard but hardly working?

So great a cloud of women

This is intentionally coming in after Mother’s day. To be honest, one of the ways in which I am weird is that I do not have special days. Not even my birthday is a special day. I make it a point to celebrate every day and celebrate people daily. Why postpone or limit celebration and joy? It may mean that I do not give Ronké anything on Mother’s day. I make it a point to appreciate her daily, in very unusual and creative, when not annoying, ways.

Having said this, I feel the need to write a blog post I could as well have written 1 month ago, to honor the women in my life as I am surrounded by so great a cloud of women. Incidentally, every woman mentioned here with the exception of two, is a mother. Guess who they are.

I love and am privileged to be married to Ibironké, a very graceful, beautiful beautiful woman whose beauty includes and transcends the physical. In her, I see that a woman is the most beautiful thing God made. Ronké gets a kick out of hearing me say to her out of appreciation and celebration, “You are my wife.” She understands that those four words speak for my spirit, soul and body and even though they sound bland and ordinary, communicate much more than they say. She has converted those words into a prayer.

I also call Ronké “Nwannem,” an Igbo word that means mine. She makes me shine at home and abroad and covers my you know what, big time. But for her, I would be a mess, in many respects. She is the one woman who knows everything I am not, and not only loves me but actually thinks I am cool! I wonder about her at times. Ronké is the making of me.

Ronké and I produced another woman in the making, Olúwatófunmi, whom I have the honor of helping to mold into a woman of virtue. She is the cutest thing that exists. Seriously. Tófunmi loves her Daddy like crazy and it makes her Daddy’s head to swell big time. Her Daddy ‘lllooves’ her. Through Tófunmi, I am learning patience, I am learning presence, I am relearning play. Tófunmi is making me.

Ronké considers me very homely and well brought up, even though extremely playful, unusual, bothering on abnormal. Any homeliness or loving kindness in me is from my Mom, Modupé Ilesanmi, who is the most sacrificial woman that I know, whose grace and natural beauty inspired me to desire a woman graceful and naturally beautiful. I would probably be zero today if not for her prayers. My Dad always says “Tolú likes his food and loves his mother.” She was the making of me and continues to travail in prayer for me until Christ be formed in me. Yes, I am a special case, I need prayers.

My Mom made me a man many mothers find it easy to adopt as a son and I have a great cloud of mothers too here in Montreal, including Quetelie Caton, my beautiful, equally graceful Haitian mother, who has met my Mom. Unsurprisingly, they love each other.

I have two lovely older sisters, Lola and Bunmi, who are twins. Through them I began to take baby steps towards caring for, appreciating and protecting women. I would have been even rougher around the edges today if not for them. They made me.

I have many other wonderful women in my life, some of whom are clients who have become great friends and I cannot name them all here. Lynn Harris who incidentally does a lot of work around women in Leadership is an avid supporter of Ronké and I. She so believes in us that at times we find it hard to see what she sees in us. She makes me too.

Since this is a blog, I feel the need to mention some women that enrich my life as a blogger. They are now part of my great cloud of women. Please visit their pages. They might contribute to making you too.

Lara Daniels discovered me and continues to discover me. This blog post itself has her imprint. She found and stuck to my blog when it had no beauty, comeliness or followership. She believes strongly in the God in me and that propels me.

Through Lara Daniels, I met Buky Ojelabi, who exposed me to a world of God lovers I did not know existed, in addition to scolding me about how unfriendly my blog was. If my blog has any attractiveness now, it is Buky’s fault, not mine.

I met Histiara through Buky. Histiara means His “Tiara”, His Royal Diadem and I agree wholeheartedly. She inspires me deeply. I think her poems are out of this world.

Through Buky, I met Tolúlopé my namesake, of Rahab Memoirs who adopted me as a big brother and from whom I learn much more than she can learn from me. Some of my blog posts bear her imprint.

June Michell is a woman whose office is next door to ours. She runs an organization called Women Aware, that has helped many women in abusive relationships. June thinks I am inspiring and she does not have a clue how much of an encouragement she is to me, in my blogging experience and in real life. She started to follow my blog when she was a lone follower. She still religiously reads every single blog post.

These are only some of the wonderful women who make up the great cloud of women that surround me. They are making me and I deeply honor them. Even if you were not mentioned, I am incomplete without your influence and that will speak for eternity.