Abayomi G. Omotayo

I travel to church on Sundays. From Lagos to Ota. This I consider a shorter and ‘Eazi-er’ journey than Accra to Lagos. When people ask me why I travel that far to worship. I usually quip, “life itself is a journey, so if we journey through life whose course can be very unpredictable, tedious and long everyday what is journeying to Ota once a week?” What follows usually is a nodding of head and silence. Whether my reply is very deep or very stupid to elicit this kind of response I cannot tell.

As a single guy, going to church on Sundays was the simplest task. All I needed to do was wake up, brush, dress up. Thirty minutes tops I’m done. I always preferred the first service because by 11am I am back home and because the day is still young I have ample time to indulge in extracurricular activities as a young man. My Church conducts five services. Now, with two soldiers and a deputy commander, preparation for church is no mean feat and my battle to keep to my service preference seems like a ‘never-winning’ one. I have not given up yet although I must confess it has been a while since I attended first service.  In fact, my service schedule these days are as erratic as the British weather but the battle continues.

First service starts 6am this means we must leave the house latest 5am. The first sign that first service was no longer feasible was the incessant nudging I and my wife discretely gave each other so as not to be caught dozing especially by the camera. God forbid that we will be beamed live to fifty thousand worshippers and hundreds of thousands of online viewers. And the screens? Very gigantic. Sometimes my wife nudges me, it comes with a look which says “If only you had excused yourself from having a pre-service in the ‘other room’, you will not be here dozing” and of course when I nudge her back I’m saying “you see yourself, you couldn’t say No?”. At other times, it is the sudden increase in the pitch of the Bishop that does the nudging for both of us. With this seemingly insurmountable challenge and constant disapproval from my boys by their drowsiness all through the service, the door on first service seems closed.

Over the past one year, it has been a mix-match of service times all with peculiar challenges. The second service comes with second degree traffic after service which means fatigue after getting home. Forget food, sleep is the next best thing after that kind of experience. The third, fourth and fifth services come sometimes with higher degree of traffic while going. Fatigue sets in as soon as one sits in church. This is back to square one of battling sleep just like the first service. The air conditioned auditorium makes this more inevitable. I am still constantly trying hard to be a first service candidate albeit with little success. The truth is; asking me right now the best service time for me and my family is like asking if I know when the second coming of Jesus Christ will be.

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