Grace thought it would come easily to find company to keep her occupied after the birth of her son. The baby kept her occupied alright but it didn’t take away her wish to have her husband around more. Worse now, he had just been transferred to Abuja. She was oblivious of the dangers that lay ahead as her friends made her realize the eminent immorality that would portray itself or “themselves” to her husband. Grace wasn’t particularly frightful of the gory stories of the women in Abuja, she trusted her husband. He wouldn’t have time for such philanthropy.
At first, there was no plan for her to join her husband in Abuja but when her husband eventually asked her to relocate to Abuja to be with him, she was glad. Then she was nervous, the thought of being in a new place with no family and friends formed a tight fisting in her tommy that upset her. But her husband, their growing family was more important so she moved to Abuja with her son and his nanny.
Getting a job in Abuja wasn’t easy but it came eventually. This was after several attempts with different interviews, offers and turn downs.
Now in Lagos even after Grace was married, men flirted with her, toasted her and perhaps respected her enough to come back to them in her own time. No matter how much they wanted her, she belonged to someone else and she never compromised her position as Mrs. Emilomo. Abuja! Abuja was a different experience for her altogether. Grace recounts one of the interviews she thought she was fortunate enough to attend. She hadn’t waited long at all before the Managing Director called for her. She was smart, intelligent and she put herself across as a competent ready employee. But she soon lost her respect for the Managing Director when he got up to receive her with a suffocating hug, pressing all of her bosom uncomfortably to himself. It was a sin against her body, her consent and her husband. It would have come naturally to push such an overly kind gesture away and let her disapproval be known but perhaps it was his harmless way of receiving such a brilliant talent. He had heard she was a brilliant writer and he needed her talent to boost his business. But by the time he got up from his sit one too many times to hug her in commendation of her impressive resumé, she couldn’t help but insist she had to go and make another and more important appointment. As she walked down to her car, she wondered how a man would be overly receptive to another woman on the pretext of impression. She was sure it wasn’t right. Her body didn’t feel right. She didn’t feel right. She wouldn’t freely mention it to her husband. When she got into her car to start her engine, she realized she had forgotten her flash drive in his office. It was a terrible decision to have to go back there and open herself to take horrifying episode again but she had most of her work in there and she had to go back for it. She knocked on his door, it was locked but he answered from inside. She waited a while. When he opened, there was a fairer lady lying on his lounge chair. Grace almost chuckled out loud. She stated her course, retrieved her flash drive and was on her way. It wasn’t until she began to perceive a strange smell in her car while driving on the highway that she realized truly that the man had hugged her indecently. She reeked of his perfume. She was glad her husband wouldn’t be home when she got there so she could have a quick shower and wash off his smell off her. What an experience!
As demented as that experience associated with Abuja felt for her, Abuja is a place she would love to visit again – if only to worship at Family Worship Center. Dora would become friends with Grace and the very first time they met at a photo studio, she introduced Grace to her church. Grace, having found no suitable church yet, was open to visiting Dora’s church. Although her first visit almost didn’t come to be, she felt compelled to pull through with it because she didn’t want to return home unaccomplished, at least to have a feedback for Dora if she asked how she felt about her church.
Family Worship Center is a huge church, almost looked like a campus. Grace wasn’t comfortable with crowds and noise but she stayed anyway. Yet, even though it is a massive church with a theatre-sized auditorium, it was colorful and bright. The aura was welcoming and the praise and worship was amazing. Grace was more the choir sang like angels and God would have been proud. But all of that didn’t compare to the message centered on family and love that the Assistant Senior Pastor preached. He wasn’t rigid about his preaching, using practical instances as examples to resolving issues. He was humorous and engaging. Realistic and encouraging too was his preaching and Grace was convinced she had found a second family – a home outside her home. She wished her husband had come with her but he was away on regional inspection in Jos. It was little wonder the church was called Family Worship Center. She didn’t hesitate to come out as a first timer at the call so she would give her details and have church members’ fellowship with her in her home. It was at Family Worship Center she learnt to praise and dance without consciousness to the next person sitting beside her. It was at Family Worship Center she learnt to give in a way that made people question rationale behind such bankrupting giving. It was at Family Worship Center that she learnt to love, give care and want to serve wholeheartedly. It was at Family Worship Center she gave her first “first fruit”, all of it – scary but rewarding. It was at Family Worship Center she learnt to hold God to something and not worry how it would happen but trusted that it would happen and when it happened, it was an awesome feeling. An indescribable experience was what it was at Family Worship Center in Abuja!
Abuja, for Grace, has become a city of two extreme experiences. Whether she wants to love it or hate it, it’ll forever be a place in her life she would never forget.