Love unspoken -A review of “A man called Ove”by Blackman Fredrick

“Sometimes the people who love us might not know how to say so but the show us that they do in the most beautiful and most thoughtful ways” EAL 15th January, 2020

This review is not much of anything to dedicate but who cares😀. I dedicate it to my dad who never says much but will do anything to ease our pain and make us smile.

Dear daddy, Ove reminds me of you in so many ways. Writing this bring tears to my eyes as I remember how sweet you’ve been to me. I appreciate all the thoughtful things you’ve done for me. The awkward phone calls, the beautiful lunch dates( which made your wife jealous), the kind messages you sent me when my heart ached, your support through all my milestones. The list is endless but I love you back in a special way.😘😘😘😘, Awo.

Alright, my mushy side has been tucked away. Let me share my review with you. I really didn’t like this book when I started reading ( so don’t despair if it seems like a terrible read, prevail for your reward awaits you). It takes the plot quite a while to unfold. The language is simple, the characters are likable and well developed. However, I thought the author could have done a better job with color. I read the book in black and white, the colors just wouldn’t show up.

The story is about a man called Ove who had a lot of quirks. He falls in love with someone pretty normal and beautiful who loves him back in ways that he least expected quirks and all. Ove was not very good at communicating his feelings but Sonja ( his wife) knew just how much he loved her and how special he is. When Sonja dies and he loses his job life loses meaning for him and he attempts to take his life. His persky neighbors (Pervanah , Patrick and their kids) who just moved in keep fooling his attempts at suicide. Soon they become friends (very much against Ove’s will) and then family. Ove is soon too busy to consider dying as there’s always one problem or another where his help is required. Ove also gets the grandchildren his heart has always longed for and he showers his love on his adopted family in unspoken ways.

Definitely a good read by all standards you just need to be patient. Hopefully, I’ll be consistent with my reviews this year. This is one the books my book club chose for last year. I’ll rate it with a three star

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Stand firm

Have you ever been in a position where everything you thought you believed in and stood for, dissipated right under your pretty nose? When it mattered the most, were you able to stand by your convictions? It is only when we are faced with trials, difficulties and oppositions to what we claim we believe and stand by that we’re able to tell how firm we’re standing. To stand firm is to be unyielding and unlikely to change regarding what you believe. One of the usual reasons why we yield regarding our beliefs is fear. The fear of the unknown, fear of the consequences, fear of pain, fear of monetary loss, etc. Paul admonishes us not to be frightened in the face of opposition/that which tests our beliefs but instead to stand firm (Philippians 1:27-28).

In Jesus’ parable about the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27), He points us in the direction in which we can achieve the firmness that Paul talks about. Christ teaches us to build our house upon the timeless immovable rock that He is. This building is our work(s). If we avail ourselves, we’ll build a beautiful house aided by the Holy Spirit on a firm foundation of the rock which is Jesus Christ. Putting up a building takes a lot of hard work, monetary investment, time, attention to detail and an eye for beautiful things. All of that will not matter if the foundation is weak, once we choose a strong foundation, we can rest assured about the building itself. For it is God who is at work in us to will and to act( in building the house) to fulfil his good purpose ( Philippians 2:13).

This is important because really, it doesn’t matter what kind of mansion you build. So long as it is not founded on the rock, when the opposition which Paul talks about and which Jesus refers to as the winds and the storm, not only will you be frightened but that mansion will come crumbling down.  On the contrary, when you have built your house on the rock, you will not have much difficulty in yielding to Paul’s admonishment to stand firm and not be frightened.

Paul said to the Ephesians- stand firm; then to the Philippians- stand frim; Jesus told his disciples that the house of the wise man who built his house on the rock stood firm. His teaching is simple; if you want to be like that wise man- hear the words of Jesus and put it into practice (Luke 6:49). It is not a matter of declarations and dreams, it is a simple (or not so simple) matter of obedience. Whatever you choose, remember that the winds and the storms will come- what will be the state of your heart when you glimpse the storm clouds? What will the state of your house be when the storms have passed?

The rungs on the ladder of elevation

In Philippians Paul tells us that when He took on human frailty, Christ’s humility earned Him exaltation from God. There are several verses in the bible that talk about humility being a pre-cursor for elevation- James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-6;  James 4:10; Proverbs 15:33. What struck me as interesting in Philippians 2, was Paul’s description of the way Christ showed his humility-in obedience. Philippians 2:8 (ESV) “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  So the researcher in me suddenly sees a relationship as well as a channel. Humility leads to elevation through the channel of obedience. The channel answers “the how”. There could be several channels but I think in this context I’ll focus on the channel of obedience.

When we choose to disobey God, we show forth ourselves as proud. Disobedience is then one of the greatest forms of pride. When we think to ourselves that our will and our choices will lead to better outcomes than God’s and proceed to walk in disobedience contrary to his instructions; we are being proud. In doing this we delay our elevation or even cause retrogression in our lives. Attainment of higher heights in all aspects of our lives should be preceded by humility. Which humility is demonstrated through obedience to His written and revealed will.

Sometimes obedience is really hard, but grace abounds 😊. When you’re a five-year-old and you’re asked not to lie- it can’t be too hard, can it? Five-year-olds have less at stake so obedience may be relatively easier 🤷‍♀️.  But when that business breakthrough you have been waiting for hinges on a “small lie” or “a small bribe” -it’s different isn’t it? Or when that boy (girl) you love madly hints endlessly that the only way to secure your relationship will be to give sex a seat-it’s different isn’t it?.  Or when white-collared theft presents itself as a means to enrichment at the office- it’s so easy to rationalize it isn’t it.? In such situations and many others that I could give I pray that God grants us grace. I don’t think any of these were harder than Christ’s “obedience unto death, even death on a cross” given where He came from. I pray that in our times of need we will be able to pull up this image of Christ’s humility shown forth in obedience and draw the needed strength to make Him our perfect example.

The rungs of the ladder to greatness are our acts of obedience to His written and revealed will.

Philippians 2: 5-8

As you deal with one another, you should think and act as Jesus did.In his very nature he was God.  Jesus was equal with God. But Jesus didn’t take advantage of that fact.Instead, he made himself nothing.  He did this by taking on the nature of a servant. He was made just like human beings.He appeared as a man. He was humble and obeyed God completely. He did this even though it led to his death. Even worse, he died on a cross!

The Housemaid                  By Amma Darko


I was a bit surprised at the mention of a witch as the book ended but then I remembered that it started with one and I thought it was a great reminder about the myriad of socio-cultural problems which we face as Ghanaians. 

Amma Darko points out in her book the devastating effects of the greedy search for money and material things on the family unit. Parents consistently run after money supposedly in the name of providing a better life for children. They eventually lose these children and let lose an unloved selfish and embittered group of people into society. 

She also harps on corruption, focusing on sexual corruption especially when women are involved. The view that women are sexual objects and in certain circles cannot attain success in their careers until sexual favours have been traded is clearly depicted in the novel. 

Amma reminds us that the rural-urban rift and its twin sister-“rural urban migration ” must be addressed. In my opinion making housemaids out of these young ladies from our villages, as Tika sought to do,  is not the solution to this menace. Quality education and other poverty alleviation schemes would be more effective in tackling the problem. 

One last social issue I noted from the reading is deceit and get rich schemes. We see the sad ending of Efia ‘s family and it’s a reminder that when someone reaches out to help us we should not grateful and not envious. 

A quick read, simple but suspense-filled plot. I’d recommend Amma Darko’ s “The housemaid” for anyone who needs to do some light reading. 

On amazing my boo- things we do for love😍

download (2)

When you’re in love you constantly think of ways in which you can please and amaze your loved one. Surprise parties, listening carefully to their interests so you can spot something they’d wish would be done for them. The little note tucked away in her purse. A breakfast basket on her birthday. Cooking a meal, when she thinks your forte is boiling water ( by all this I am sending out really useful hints to whom it may concern 😉😉 ) I should give everybody a chance to say one thing they have done for love, or has been done for them in the name of love. We will hear tins.

Well, well, well, I’m in love! Newsflash! Is there an emoticon I can use to make this more dramatic than it already is. Let’s have the drumroll before I continue with my very important announcement. Alright, so I’m in love with Jesus and today in a conversation with him I was listening really carefully for ways in which I could please him and I  realised that he was amazed at the faith that the centurion at Capernaum showed (Luke 7). Did you read that, “amazed by his faith”? Well, I won’t mind having the opportunity to amaze him severally.

It’s just that this faith business is not easy. It is easy to profess and difficult to practice without grace. When you have a loved one who is ill and you have been praying for healing only to find a worsening condition. When you pray constantly for God’s protection and you lose a loved one in a gory accident, how do you continue to hope for things not seen? When you have believed God for a scholarship and get turned down application after application, how do you continue to hope for other things not seen? When your job search has only turned up lousy options, how do you still trust He who sees the end from the beginning?

It’s not been easy for me, but hey I’m in love like I said and we do crazy thing for love, don’t we all. Whatever you are going through, whatever you are hoping for- fix your eyes on the cross. I pray for grace, I pray for strength, I pray that when it matters the most I can fix my eyes on the cross. I pray that in love He holds my hand to take baby steps of faith until I can take an Abrahamic step of faith. Just so one day I can say that I amazed Jesus with my faith.

Kisses,😘😘😘

Afoley

(Ps. All those who wanted to read “tins”, have faith, it’s summer break-posts on a roll)

download

Our strength -at rest

May God deal with us as he did with Joshua son of Nun. I know the Israelites had to fight several physical battles in their quest to take over the promise-land. However, I absolutely love the account in Joshua 5:1. It tells of the wondrous things that God did for the Israelites as Joshua led them into the promise-land, specifically how He stopped the Jordan so they could cross on dry land.

The mighty acts of God put so much fear in the hearts of those who were arming themselves for battle against the Israelites that they lost all their courage. Joshua 5:1 “Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they[a] had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.”.

May God constantly wrought mighty wonders in our lives, wondrous acts which will precede the battles awaiting us in the future. Wondrous acts which will cause those who despise us to drop their weapons as their hearts melt in fear. Wondrous acts which fill our hearts with courage about the futureWondrous acts which will remind us to rely on his strength at all times as we put our strength constantly -at rest.

Love knocked on my door II

NayyirahWaheedQuote_WEBLove knocked at my door and asked me a series of questions which got me to question how much I loved myself. I had taken it for granted that I did love myself a lot until I heard all the questions love had to ask. Not all of my answers were really satisfactory. Loving myself would be fundamental in my obedience of God’s commandment to love my neighbour as myself. When I profess to love my neighbour as myself what exactly do I mean?

Love asked me, ” are you patient with yourself?”. Are you patient with yourself? When you set goals you wish to achieve and it seems like you are making baby-steps, are you patient with yourself? When everyone seems to be making headway in life and despite all of your efforts you can’t seem to bag a job you like, are you patient with yourself and your job-search efforts? Are you deliberately, patient with yourself? Do you make room to allow yourself grow and achieve your goals? Or do you constantly riddle yourself with disappointment-to-myself speeches?Patient /ˈpeɪ.ʃəns/ – the ability to wait or continue doing something despite difficulties or suffer without complaining or becoming annoyed. 

Love asked me “are you kind to yourself?”. Do you attend to your needs? Need for clothes, food, water, rest? Do you seek help, the way you would have offered if someone had asked? Do you think about your own feelings when in conflict, when your are offended, when you offend, when you are worn out? Are your feelings always subject to the feelings of others? How thoughtful are you, when it comes to you? Would you buy yourself that lovely key-holder once in a while just because it makes you smile. You can only show true kindness to the extent that you are kind to yourself. If not there just might be a chance that your kindness is pretentious ( 1st Corinthians 13:3). Not being aware of our own feelings hinders our self-awareness and our emotional intelligence   Kind/kaɪnd generoushelpful, and thinking about other people’s (yourfeelings

Love said, “are you envious, boastful and proud?” Are we envious, boastful and proud? These might seem to be pretty obvious dangers to stay away from. I think they’re especially dangerous when it comes to the issue of self-love. It is hard to esteem and honour yourself when you are constantly envious of what others have achieved. To be envious of another is to lack contentment with what God has given you and think you are not or do not have enough? On the other hand, we could be in a state where we are constantly touting our own praises, constantly and loudly. Boastful praise of one’s self is self harm since it could potentially stand in the way of chalking greater things. So in this instance when we choose not to be envious of others we show both ourselves and the other party love. Envy/ˈɛnvi/a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

 

The rest of my thoughts on self-love in the context of 1st Corinthians 13 will be in another post soon- Love knocked on my door III

 

%d bloggers like this: