( STEPPING INTO MAGGIE’S SHOE)
© Opeyemi Ojerinde Akintunde
On Sunday after service, I walked up to Christabel’s Mum….
“Good afternoon ma” I said smiling.
“Pastor Happy, good afternoon. To what do I owe this special greeting?”
“I am sorry ma if I am disturbing, I just need sister Christabel’s number” I said.
“Why? My daughter is fine, you don’t need to call her” she said defiantly.
“Mum, I just have a little information for her, please ma…”
I pleaded for about 10 minutes before she finally agreed to give me.I went to my office and locked myself in.I dialed the number given to me and in just about 3 rings, she picked up…
“Hello, happy Sunday, who is speaking?” Christabel said with a very beautiful voice.
“Hi… Hi…” I suddenly lost my boldness, but I knew it was then or never…
“Hello… Hello” she said.
“Hi, Christabel, this is Sister Happy from Nigeria, Apostle Ray’s new wife” I introduced myself.
“Wow, Pastor Happy, good afternoon sis. I believe you should be in the afternoon over there in Nigeria…” she said laughing heartily.
“So good to hear your voice after so long and congratulations on being the new Mummy General Overseer, can you imagine Nneka and I fighting over what God had chosen you for?” she said laughing.
“It is well, thank you” I said as I realized Christabel was making this confession a hard one…
“So to what do I owe this call, Sis Happy? Sorry it ought to Pastor Happy now!” she asked with laughter.
I told her about my medical condition as regards bipolar and psychosis. I explained that it drove me to do crazy things, which pouring acid on her face was one of the things I did in the past.
Christabel was quiet but later regained her voice…
“You mean you are the one who did that and not Nneka?”
“Yes…! I am sorry, I did it out of ignorance and most importantly I let my bipolar and psychosis take control of me… I am really sorry… I know sorry doesn’t do justice to what I did, but I feel I should let you know so I can be free of the guilt I carry about… I don’t know if what I am doing is right but…”
There was a brief moment of silence as neither of us had nothing to say…, but Christabel broke the silence…
“It is ok, Pastor Happy, you were just faster than I was. This shows that we all are sinners and it’s only the knowledge of God that can help us and save us from evil. Do you know that I had paid to have Nneka assassinated before the acid incident?
The hit man was supposed to eliminate her the day after the acid encounter, but they couldn’t find her because she was in police custody. So you see that we were the same back then. I hold nothing against you, because as we speak I am a better person. The months I spent in the hospital gave me time to dwell in the presence of God. All this while, I had been a fake Christian, going to church to show off my beautiful face, my designer shoe and bag, but now all that is in the past… I cannot even see all those things now… Do you know I am now blind…?” Christabel said.
I felt like something hit me on the chest.
“Blind…? What do you mean blind?” and right there my tears came pouring down.
“Yes!, the acid destroyed my eyesight.”
“Noooooooo” I screamed and the phone dropped from my hands, as I looked at what I had cost Christabel because of the desire to step into Pastor Maggie’s shoe that was not really worth it.
I cried and cried in my office, I didn’t know where to start, my phone kept ringing but I was too overwhelmed to pick up. It was Christabel’s number that was calling back. I deemed it fit to pick up.
“I am sorry, I didn’t know the extent of the damage I caused…”
“It’s ok, God has written a better story out of this disaster of mine, that’s why I called you back, I will be getting married next month. I met my husband at the hospital where I did my face reconstruction, he is a doctor. He helped me regain my confidence and love for God. God has dealt with me better than I deserve. Pastor Happy, nurture the ministry God has placed in your hands, you may have walked your way to that position but one thing I want you to know is God permitted it for His
Glory, so don’t disappoint God.”
I spoke to Christabel’s fiancé who was seated beside her. He was a soft spoken person and obviously a child of God, because it was perceivable in his words.
I was free of my guilt. At this point, I didn’t care if Chaba wanted to tell the world about it. I knew the scandal would be too much to bear. People would call me names, but I was ready for it. I was ready to face the consequences of my actions, but I said a short prayer…
“Lord, I know you are the one who has the heart of the kings in your hands, you can turn it in whatever direction it pleases you, please touch Chaba’s heart not to make this public, not for my sake alone but for the sake of the body of Christ. If this goes out, people will say a lot of things against Christianity. People will judge other Christians by my past action and generalize this… Please ABBA Father, Ancient of days who can go in time to wipe out our errors, go back in time and erase this error from Chaba’s memory in Jesus’ name.”
The next morning, Apostle got a phone call from the church that he was urgently needed in the church, that Chaba was around and she was acting strange…
To be continued