So my landlord was making some changes. There was a lot of construction going on and a structure that used to house the caretaker was completely leveled. Before that happened, a lot of junk was hauled out. Bundles of old clothing, bags, jerry cans, honestly, just a lot of junk for the garbage. It looked like a sorry mess when it was all out. The very little bit that found its way to the front porch for safe keeping was the landlord’s daughter’s chop box, with her name written boldly, all caps, in black marker.
It is something to be said that I have never had a chop box with my name on it. That sure sign and evidence that you went to a Ghanaian secondary school, or high school as they are now called. Why again are they called high schools? Another “smart” idea from some politician. Semantics, I say. Back to chop boxes- those wooden light brown, cuboid and very awkward contraptions that testify to three (or four) years in senior secondary school somewhere in Ghana.
I’m not going to belabour the point and go on about why on earth twenty first century students in Ghana still haul trunks and chop boxes to school as if they are about to get on a steam train and be shipped off to some 18th century boarding school. Nah, I shall not stress it. The only insight I have gleaned is that when it comes to secondary schools, I generally find the experience akin to going back in time where your parents’ experience is also your experience. Someone must find a peculiar sense of accomplishment in that.
Seeing my landlord’s grown daughter’s chop box as I walked in and out of my front door reminded me that such an important piece of other people’s growing up history will never be mine (
not that I want it to). I will never be able to share enthusiastically or effectively in any sardines, Milo, Ideal Milk, shitto and garri, or basically, most chop box related discussions, adventures, and escapades. But I have Snack Room stories, though. That small power house that six years of boarding school seemed to revolve around. The cabin biscuits, 900g of powdered milk, assorted biscuits, two bottles of groundnuts, etc etc. Who else can relate? (If you can, holler at me already.)
Sometimes, it’s really the little things that make us different. I realise this more and more. I don’t know who started it but there’s a popular phrase that says “do you”. Doing you, warts, quirks and all, there is only one authentic, peculiar, genius you. Only one original.
In the social media and influencer world, it’s easy to want a certain sort of life that everyone else seems to have. But that’s when you’ve got to believe that you are exactly who God wants you to be. Your experiences may not even be the best but they are working out for best.
With discussions on identity rife, it’s easy to get sidetracked and wonder who we really are and should be. So many standards, theories, and arguments thrown out there. But we have a reference point, and it’s no other than from the One who made you and loves you. At the heart of every feeling of dissatisfaction is a feeling of not knowing how loved we are. If I told you “I love you”, would you care that you’re 6 inches tall or have green hair? Of course not! “I love you” means I love all of you, green hair and all. And that’s how much we are loved by God. He sent His son to die for our sins.
I’m still trying to find a friend who will die for me. I know I wouldn’t! But that’s the extent to which the Father loves you. You are purposefully and wonderfully made. And loved.
Only you can talk like you, walk like you, smile like you, do like you. Only you can do you. Whenever we think our experiences are not enough, or we wish we had some other person’s life or school experience then that’s when your original becomes “faking”. This is when we stray into other people’s territory. Celebrate you, my darling. And instead of wishing that you had chop boxes instead of snack rooms, trust God for the changes you want to see.
And He will come through because right Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2: 7 MSG).
What’s your different?
Stay high on grace!