Onward, Christian Soldier!

Created by soji apampa 3 years ago
During the lockdown in April & May 2020, when there were no flights and no inter-city travel was permitted, I got numerous calls sometimes multiple times in a row asking me to come down to Ibadan right away because he was “leaving.” The calls stressed and worried me, and I would plead that he shouldn’t go anywhere but wait for me. In the end, the lockdown was lifted, and I eventually saw him, but he had nothing special to say beyond being happy to see me. I concluded maybe those things happened as a result of the medication he was taking and shrugged it off. Around mid-November 2020, it started again. The calls were frantic and incessant for me to come to see him in Ibadan before he goes, and I promised to see him before the end of the month. The calls continued and finally I asked him, “where exactly are you going?” He replied, “I am going to Eternity and I want to say proper good-byes before I leave!” I was confused but I went down to Ibadan. Yet again, he had nothing special to say apart from expressing his happiness that I came. Early December I began to feel it for the first time that he might actually be going as he had said. Christmas conference call on Zoom he was in high spirits but the way he was waving to each one of us appeared to say much more and I remembered the feeling I had that he might actually be going as he said but like many others, we were all rooting for him to celebrate his 100th birthday in the land of the living, so I shrugged it off again. On the morning of December 31st when I got that call at about 06:30am, I was sick to my stomach because I instinctively knew he was gone. A very kind and generous man had gone. Dad was not a Saint but like King David, he was a human who pressed in after God’s heart. His heart was in the right place and he brought his children up in the way of the Lord from a very early age. The morning prayers, the singing from the Baptist Hymnal, the recital of psalms from the Yoruba Bible, some of which I still recite like, “Èmi yóò gbé ojú mi sórí òkè wọ̀n-ọn-nì— níbo ni ìrànlọ́wọ́ mi yóò ti wá…” (Saamu 121: 1) I will miss him very much indeed – some prayers, hymns, psalms cannot be engaged with without me seeing his face or hearing his voice in my head. He will always be remembered. "Onward, Christian Soldier!" You are missed!