Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (IV)

Another Response to Joy by Doris Ampong

Bestie Joy,

I’m glad you girls are making room to reason with me. And I’m not surprised that you’ve been given the core responsibility of providing me with the appropriate response. You have always been the mother of the group; providing good counsel here and there and settling scores amicably amongst us.

I remember how you managed to break the iced silence between Akosua and I after several months, following our big fight over who you should pick up first from home on the day we decided to visit quiet Aba’s mum. It is funny how Akosua eventually became one of my favorites in the group. You do well with making peace.

Anyways, back to the crucial issue. Yes, I did say that my able counsellors warned Yaw and I to cut off all external parties or binding friendships. They might not have meant doing that in totality. However, they were clear that Yaw and I should keep to ourselves most of the time. We were encouraged to be our own best friend and enjoy our company. During those counselling sessions, the core of the advice was to make each other our priority above anything or anybody; even our parents. Their assertions were anchored on the famous marriage scripture that says ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh Gen 2:24 (NKJV)’. It was as though our counsellors knew I did a lot of hanging out with the girls; hence they being fierce and strict on me.

I did listen to them during those sessions but did not think I was going to follow through. I felt Yaw and I had our individual lives which should not be compromised because of marriage.

However, reality set in when we moved in together as husband and wife. There was not enough time on our hands; especially my hands to want to step out with the girls. You remember God blessed us with a seed three months after marriage and the whole process; coupled with corporate and church work was time consuming. The process is another story for some other time.

Yaw did have a large number of groomsmen and was all over the place during our wedding. His seemingly ‘all over the place’ attitude and non-stop dancing during the wedding is a mystery I’m still trying to solve considering the fact that he is a very quiet and private person. With the large groomsmen, his co-workers who by some luck heard in advance that he was about getting married were extremely happy. They could not believe that Yaw’s ‘mouth had finally sang’ (made a proposal) and so they all wanted to be part of his great day as groomsmen. At a point, I had to literally beg some of them to drop off as groomsmen due to the large number. He may have gathered the courage to dance his heart out during the wedding knowing that he had achieved a great feat for himself (making a proposal).

After the wedding, I never heard him talk about the groomsmen, left alone to want to step out with them. And that’s where the difficulty lies for me. He is always home; if not for work or church.

Like I mentioned in my previous letter, he is understanding and so will make time one of these days so that we can have an unforgettable sitting or trip.

Dearest Joy, keep the group strong and going; do not cross me out of the circle. I love you all very much,

Ama

**Doris Ampong is the writer of this 👆🏾 and the second letter in this series. You can follow her on Twitter @dorampgh

Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (III)

Dear Ama,

We have received your letter and I was given the responsibility of providing you with the appropriate response.

After reading through your reply, the girls and I have decided to offer you a grace period and whether we accept you into our circle, will depend on the answers you provide.

You raised a few issues which boggled our minds, especially, with regards to the pieces of advice provided to you and Yaw during your marriage counselling sessions.

Did your counsellors really say you should cut off your friends and all external parties? All because you’re married? Are you really happy to do that? Will you follow through with this advice? You really scared us when you said you (the woman) will be blamed if something goes wrong in this union. 🤦🏾‍♀️

You also mentioned Yaw did not have a lot of friends. During the wedding, he did not strike us as an individual who kept to himself, looking at the number of groomsmen who followed him and his dance moves during the wedding. We all had the impression he was outgoing. Or is he currently following the advice of your marriage counsellors? 🤷🏿‍♀️

Your response to this letter is very crucial. It’ll inform the girls and I on our next step of action. We look forward to hearing from you.

The leader of the pack,

Joy

©

Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (II)

A response to Joy by Doris Ampong

Dear Best friend Joy,

Your letter has been duly received. I must say that I’m not surprised to read the contents of it. I’m not surprised because I always read the look on your faces whenever I try to excuse myself to attend to my family needs.

Was I expecting a letter like that from you girls? Probably!
Am I hurt to have read that you girls are bailing out on our beautiful friendship? Yes.

Truth is that I miss you girls a lot too. I miss our long hours of chit chatting, stepping out to have fun especially at the movies where we get to put ourselves in the shoes of the movie characters and have long debates about how we would have behaved if we were them. I miss our cooking parties where each of us will prepare a particular dish and we will have a food-festival and eat as though we have been warned of an impending famine; lol.

But the reality is that I have entered a new phase of life where I do not get to make decisions just for me. There is now a second person whom I have to consider whenever I make any decision. Decisions that I make now need to bear him in mind.

What makes it difficult for me to maneuver through this is that, during our counselling sessions, my husband and I were told to cut off all external parties or friends and concentrate on building one between us. Our seemingly old, mature and knowledgeable counsellors told us to keep to ourselves and enjoy our own company. Especially for me, as the woman, they were hard and strict. They warned me to stop all these hanging-out-with-friends thingy and concentrate on building my home. The simple reason was that anything that goes wrong with the marriage will be blamed on me; as the woman.

This ‘warning’ has placed a heavy burden on me and so I try as much as possible to be with my husband and kids and build my home. Unfortunately, my husband Yaw, does not have any friends that he hangs out with. He is always at home. This makes it difficult to leave him behind at home and hang out with you girls. I know our party will not be the same should I come along with him. We may not be able to have as much fun as we will want to and talk our hearts out as we always do.

Yaw is an understanding person; and so I hope to convince him one of these days so that we girls can go for our Aburi trip which never materialized.

Please hold on to this friendship. You girls should not break the bond. I have you all at heart and I know that one day, we will get to be together like old times.

I love you all;

Sincerely, Ama.

Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (I)

Dear Ama,

Ever since you walked down the aisle some 15 months ago, I have noticed some changes in your attitude. Particularly, the manner in which you relate with us (your single/unmarried friends). Interestingly, I am not the only one who has seen these changes. Every girl in the group agrees with my observation including quiet Aba.

You are no longer as fun to be with. Every joke we crack in your presence is met by a piece of advice from you. Seriously, most of us do not enjoy your friendship anymore and the way you turn down our requests is becoming so annoying.

“Let’s go and dance,”

“I must go and prepare dinner,” you respond.

“Can we hang out at the movies,”

“I need to go pick hubby’s clothes from the laundry,” you reply.

“Do you want to attend her wedding,”

“This weekend is tight. The kids need to be picked up from their grandparents. I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you,”

Excuses. Excuses. You now see the reason most of us keep our distance?

Yes, I know I’m single and I have single people’s problems. My priorities may be my career, my hair and clothes and oh, having as much fun as possible before I ‘settle down.’ Thank you for reminding me of that every time.

We don’t need you as an advisor (I’m speaking on behalf of the other girls) just because you have said some vows at the altar.

Hahaha.

Your attitude these days make me laugh. I laugh at you, at us and what our friendship has become. The sham we’ve been calling a friendship. I’m not bitter. No. But I’ve advised myself and I’m calling it quits. You can break the news to your family or keep it to yourself.

Let me leave you so you go take care of your matrimonial home since, we, the single ones do not have much to do. 😒

Your once-best-friend,

Joy

#WBC2020 – Dear Mansa, Ghana is Free

7th March 1957

Dear Mansa,

You won’t believe what the Show Boy has done this time. Did you monitor the news yesterday? We are free from our colonial masters. It’s been a long and difficult battle and we have suffered very much but I want to believe this is the finale.

I actually wanted to see things for myself so I went to the Polo Grounds where Showboy Kwame Nkrumah delivered his speech. Can you believe there were no vehicles to transport me but I made the journey on foot. The over 7-mile trip was nothing compared to my yearning to witness this momentous occasion.

I was sweaty when I got to the grounds but the place was packed. I could not move without coming into contact with other people. When I finally found a spot that provided a good view, Showboy had started his speech.

Mansa, we have really suffered – not just from interferences from the British but from the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) who wanted self-government within the shortest possible time to the current Convention Peoples Party (CPP) who sought to govern immediately. If I tell you the number of lives that have been lost in this struggle, you will understand my joy.

Anyway, freedom smells good. I was not the only one who listened to the speech with great hope. I could feel the pride emanate from me when Nkrumah delivered his speech. My heart started beating and for no reason, tears began to fall down my cheek, especially, when Nkrumah uttered these words:

We have won the battle and we again re-dedicate ourselves … Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa. Let us now, fellow Ghanaians, let us now ask for God’s blessing…

It’s been a long road and we are finally free from oppression, unnecessary imprisonment of our political leaders, hardships and suffering.

We are finally going to manage our own affairs and resources. I know the world is watching from afar. I can sense Nkrumah is bent on aiding other African countries to achieve independence. Not only that, he also envisions an African union. Do you think that is possible? These are still early times, though. Let me not jump ahead of myself. I’ll provide you with regular updates and I hope to read your reply soon.

Your most optimistic Ghanaian,

Yaa

***This is 12/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is choose an African event and write about it as if you were there.***

©

A Letter to me – 2 Decades on

Dear Dee,

Two decades on and I am not driving the latest car nor do I have the most thriving career. Neither do I live in the most beautiful apartment in the plushest neighbourhood. I use public transport and once in a while, I update my CV and send out applications. I have quit several jobs, infuriated a number of bosses and let some down because they thought I was going to work with them for a much longer time. I have gotten disappointed in myself on several occasions, cried my heart out on certain days and oh, I still have a tight tighter budget. I don’t close my eyes and spend anyhow but I think about the expenditure, check to see if it’s on my budget before I spend. Shocking eh? Wait till you start paying rent.

Don’t be surprised, we all thought things would have ‘fallen into place’ but I am sorry to inform you that my relationships (with God and humans), wealth status, career and family life are all work in progress, which I’m still figuring out.

I know you are in a hurry to ‘manage’ your own life but as my friends and I jokingly say, “adulting is a scam,” so relax. It is more challenging when you have to make your own decisions – should I wake up or remain in bed? Should I pray or read? Should I go out or stay indoors? Buy that land or take that course? Mutual fund or stock market? Should I buy that dress or give to the needy? These may seem trivial but they all contribute to the growing process.

So you think you are popular, wait till you grow and you’ll literally shed off a lot of acquaintanceship. You’ll make some friends but be prepared to lose most of them. Even family members have their favourites and there is nothing you can do about that.

It’s not all gloomy but I want you to enjoy your development process – every stage of it. Don’t take life too seriously. Have loads of fun (the Godly way) because as you grow, responsibilities may make you forget how to have them. In all you do, don’t push God aside because He is the one with the manual. Growing up is not a destination after all but a process – accept and enjoy every bit of it.

**15th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: A letter to my younger self**

©

Dear 5: My Address to You

In today’s #lockdown blog challenge, which also marks day 3, writers are to say five things to five different people and below are the group I wish to address in this post:

  1. To the young single woman

I know you have a lot of fantasies and one of them is to be swept off your feet and fall head-over-heels in love with Prince Charming. You have been doing a lot in your power to ascertain this happens but before you agree to spend the rest of your life with him, ensure you are good friends. Do not sweep the red flags under the carpet because they always pop up some time later in the marriage and when that happens, the ‘forever’ journey becomes very difficult to navigate.

2. To the unemployed graduate

This period of your life may be a little confusing as you are still trying to put your dreams and vision into perspective. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Some of those job ads are genuine, thus, keep on applying. The fact that you haven’t received any favourable responses yet do not imply you aren’t good enough. Keep writing those applications and one of them will fetch you the awesome news you’ve been waiting to hear.

3. To upcoming bloggers and content creator

This job/hobby/pastime or whatever you may choose to call it is not a walk in the park. If you are here for the fame or the money or the number of followers, then find something else to do. Blogging and other forms of content creation require passion and consistency. Like the way you’ll feed a child, ensure you consistently feed your blog with engaging content. To be able to do that, select a subject that you are passionate about, if not, you will be gaping for air like a fish that has been taken out of water in future.

4. To all comedians worldwide

This may be a little strange and random but if no one has appreciated you for the awesome job you’ve been doing, then I am doing that in this post. Life in itself is full of challenges and a little boring at times but we are grateful to God for giving you guys the creative ability to put smiles on our faces . A honourary mention to Basketmouth, Trevor Noah, Nana Gyasi Owusu (Ghana) etc

5. To the struggling Christian

Hey. Don’t ever think God has forsaken you. When He died on the cross, He had you in mind. He forgave you your transgressions. He knows you may have such moments in your life that is why He is always willing to forgive you. Don’t let that incident weigh you down, go on your knees and confess it. He understands.

©

An Open-Letter to the President of Ghana

Dear Sir,

I saw you celebrated your 76th birthday a few days ago and we are grateful to God for your life and giving you good health. How are you doing? Genuinely? I am concerned about how you must be feeling in these times because the past few weeks have been very challenging for the citizens of your country. I suspect you’ve also not had it easy as this global pandemic has brought everything to a standstill and now, it’s almost impossible to predict how the next few weeks or months are going to be like.

As a Ghanaian who has been observing you and your government in the last three years or so, there are a number of plans and policies that you put in place that did not sit well with me at all. I have gotten angry at some of the news headlines and as a floating voter, I get convinced that you are not one of the people I will be considering in the next elections.

In the past few weeks, however, I think the number of people who have fallen in love with you have increased tremendously. Like many others, I have watched how you seem to calm a lot of nerves with your addresses in the wake of the covid-19. I see admiration and love for you and your government and your last address to the nation, which you called for a partial lock down and also stated that you knew how to bring the economy back to life but do not how to bring back the people of this country has really caught on with the masses. You also pledged to give your three-month salary to the fund that has been set up to fight the virus. Not forgetting the National Day of Prayer and Fasting that was held a few days back. They have been impressive and from our various lock down locations, we watch on to see how you and your government will stop this virus from ravaging this country.

Sometimes I wish protocols will be put aside and more laboratories set up to test for the virus. I wish there could be a mass testing for all the citizens who have been contact traced and I would also love to know if there is the community spread of the virus.

I continue to pray for you each day and I hope God gives you the wisdom to govern and that, this period passes on without causing too much damage to lives and the country’s economy. May God continue to protect and remember to read Psalm 91.

Yours sincerely,

This post is the first of the 21-day lock down blogging challenge asking bloggers to write a letter to someone, anyone.

Dear God: Parenting

Dear God,

This blog topic has been ringing in my spirit for quite some time now. I suspect You want me to write about it and be as plain and truthful as possible but before I begin, I know You are doing well. Watching us while your prophecies about the world unfold.

Now, I’d like to thank You for making me a parent. It isn’t a role that I take for granted. Like marriage, parenting is not a role that we attend a school before we qualify to be one. It is thrust on us immediately we receive the beautiful gift of a child from You and we learn as we go along. To be candid, the role is tough, especially, for those us who are reflective and ponder over every situation.

Most times, I look at this beautiful toddler and I am so confident I am being the great custodian. I pat myself at the back when I try to ensure she is eating healthy, growing beautifully, learning and doing the right things as You’d want us to do. At other times, I get confused and begin to ask myself questions, particularly, now that she is talking (very tricky stage). For, instance, one Sunday evening, she used a not-so-good word. Both her dad and I were so shocked and we inquired where she learnt that word from. She said, “Mummy said it.” I was stunned. I wondered when I used that word for her to pick up that easily. Of all the words that we’ve been using and teaching her, this was the only one she could use (this is me thinking too much). When I was driving her friend and her to the nursery school a few days later, a taxi driver was right in my lane and kept prompting me to use the other lane instead. I kept driving towards him and in my anger, I insulted the driver. Aloud. It was then that it dawned on me that I still had two toddlers in the car who will probably go and quote me in their conversation (Now, I have the Holy Spirit in the form of toddlers who keep me in check 😊).

I really thought I was patient till I had to share my roof with a toddler. I cannot recount the number of times I had lost my cool all because a little girl had refused to take a meal I had carefully planned and prepared just for her. I think about all the resources, including the precious time, that I had wasted to get her that meal and she will fold her arms and say, “I don’t like.” Or after a tiring day at work and you tell her to sit down so we complete her homework and that is the time that she wants to do every other thing and not the homework (why they give these ones assignments is a topic for another day).

These are the times that I question myself: Am I playing this role right? Am I disciplining enough? Will she and her siblings turn out right? To hit or not to hit her? Looking at her and other kids, I have come to understand exactly what the Bible describes as a ‘baby Christian’ and I really hope I don’t act like one.

Today, I pray for all parents. I ask that You’ll provide us with long life so we bring these little ones up like You want us to. I also pray that you’ll empower us to get everything right. It is also my prayer you’ll make us more environmentally-conscious that we leave a beautiful earth behind for these young ones to also come and enjoy (parenting has made me more conscious of what we’re doing currently and how that will impact the earth and future generations).

I believe it is well because You are in charge.

Love,

©

Help! I lost my job and I’m in my 40s.

Dear CBG,

I am a bit old. I’m in my 40s and this is not my first job. I’ve done several contract jobs but I knew this job was permanent. I had dreams of retiring from this organisation but just last week, my employers invited me to a meeting and bluntly informed me they were laying me off. I was sad, confused and hurt. I haven’t really saved up so much money because of some projects I’ve been undertaking. Now, look at my age. Who will employ me in their firm? I’m a good Christian and I’m wondering how God can do this to me, especially, at this time. What should I do? I’ll be reading your response.

—- A very worried woman

CBG’s Response

Hello Madam,

To start with, it’s important to note that your situation is not an isolated one neither is this the first time it’s ever happened. This should give you some comfort but how you handle this is crucial to the success of the next phase of your life.

You need, also, to note that age is just a number and it has very little to do with how much you can achieve in this world. There were those who were successful at their early age and those who were, much later in their lives. In the Bible, there are several examples of individuals that God used in their old age. When God called Moses, he was old and well-stricken in age. Moses and Noah were not young either but they were used by God. Take a cue from Col. Sanders who started KFC (a worldwide brand) in his 60’s. This is to emphasize the point that age is only a number. All you need to do is to be smart and wise about your decisions.

God is not the author of your current situation and you need to thank Him for the next phase of your life. Don’t be bitter and sore for losing your job but be grateful for what God has placed in your hands (gift and skills). Instead of displaying negative emotions, gather every positive energy because you’re going to need it.

Practically, you need to make adjustments to your lifestyle because your regular source of income has been cut off. Cut out the unnecessary expenditure and keep to your budget. It may be uncomfortable in the initial stages but you’ll gradually adjust to it.

One question God will pose to you is

“what do you have in your hands?”

Like He posed to Moses. In other words, what are your gifts, skills and, channels that God can use to bless you? You shouldn’t look too far. It could be a simple skill as baking, selling or farming. Even in your 40s, it’s not too late to learn a new skill but it’s advisable to focus on the ones you’ve gathered over the years. You can either decide to work for yourself or for another firm that requires your skills. Your age shouldn’t be a barrier. If you had dreams initially, this is the time to put them to use. Don’t lose hope, we’ll be praying with you.

To our readers who are gainfully employed now, the Bible says Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8).

The ant gathers it’s food in anticipation for the drought. There is a thing as “fat season and lean season” (drawn from Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream – Genesis 41). In simple terms be wise like Joseph who instructed Egypt to store up food during the fat season so they could have some during the lean season. Egypt became the hub of trading because of the wisdom of one man. Be wise especially in your fat season.

Do you have any piece of advice for this woman? Please share in the comment section. She’ll be reading.