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In every night, there’s the moon

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and to those who don’t: happy holidays. This season is all about grace, peace and goodwill, all of which…

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and to those who don’t: happy holidays. This season is all about grace, peace and goodwill, all of which the world could use loads more of right now. I wish you all love and light. I would say plenty jollof too but I hear that a derica of rice is N700. Choi! Country hard oo. 

I love Christmas, and no matter what else is going on in my life, I try to maintain that special Christmas spirit that has me smiling at everyone. I remind myself of the promise of the season, its significance to me as a Christian especially and I tell myself that that alone should give me joy.

This year though has been particularly difficult for me on a personal level. The 3rd and 4th quarters of the year brought great losses into our family (may the souls of the dead rest in peace, amen.) It is impossible to maintain even the tiniest Christmas cheer when your own loss is compounded on Christmas morning with heartbreaking news from your beloved country.

On Christmas day, a Nigerian police officer shot and killed a citizen, Mrs Bolanle Raheem. Everything I’ve read on this case suggests that the officer stopped the car an apparently pregnant Raheem (pregnant after trying for eight years according to her friend’s Instagram post) and her husband were in, and when Raheem’s husband didn’t stop quickly enough, the trigger-happy officer shot at them. Na wah!

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What could possibly be the justification for indiscriminately raining bullets on a car because the driver didn’t obey your instructions in a timely manner? Incidents like these, are sadly not quite unusual. Anyone that has had any dealings with Naija police – especially those on traffic duty – knows how mad they can be.

Police brutality in our dearly beloved country – two years after EndSARS protests- is still a major issue. Folks have pointed to inadequate training, shady recruitment tactics and poor payment of officers as some of the reasons why the force seems to be overrun with men and women who lack professionalism.

However this isn’t an article about police brutality in our obodo Nigeria, so enough said about that. This piece is about trying to find joy even in the deepest night. Easier said than done but the alternative is to be so completely overwhelmed by darkness that it suffocates you. 

For me, as is often the case, I turn to poetry for beauty, for consolation and for inspiration. And because I was already struggling with my own personal nights when I began to write the Christmas/end-of-year poem for our cards, I wrote one to remind me that no night is ever without the moon. We may not see the moon, we may even find it hard to believe because of how dark the night is, but it is there all the same. Like God’s grace. Whatever you are going through, however dark your own night is, I hope that this fact consoles you too. This my untitled poem is my gift to you.

The only darkness we should allow into our lives is the night, for even then, we have the moon – (from What We Have by Warsan Shire)

The earth turns around the sun

Night becomes day becomes night becomes day

And another year ends

When it seems like it began only yesterday

The way our parents’ friends said we sprouted

Didn’t they know us as babies? As toddlers lumbering with bodies heavy with childhood

Time becomes memories becomes a gift

For making new remember-whens and where’s-all-that-time gones

And another year ends

A new one cracks open like an egg 

Or maybe bursts forth like something pregnant with possibilities

A meteor showering light

Reach out and catch a ray in the palm of your hands, put it in your pocket, hang it from your front door-

A talisman against storms, thunders rumbling by

A reminder that 

In (your) every night, there’s still the moon.

May the coming year be kinder to all of us in every way. May it have fewer nights, and when they do come, may we never forget that the moon is always present.