Call me crazy but I believe I’m changing my neighbourhood. I say my neighbourhood because I believe it is my neighbourhood. Not because I happen to live there but because I genuinely believe it’s mine. Yes, mine as in I own it and it belongs to me, moi… io.
I didn’t use to think like that up until a while ago.
When I first moved here, almost three years ago, I was really overwhelmed by the beauty of my surrounding. I considered myself truly blessed to be living in a beautiful and quiet spot in the middle of a surprisingly still-unspoiled pine forest amid the locust-like urbanisation that has swept over our cities and devoured every green acre we once felt proud of having.
But as much as I was joyed by the privilege of living here, I was equally annoyed and frustrated at the people who sadly didn’t realise what they had like I did. I got ticked off at people who carelessly tarnished the outskirts of their buildings with their habitual and mindless littering.
One day I got so upset and decided to do something about it instead of letting it get the best of me and grabbed a big garbage bag from my house and started cleaning up at least in front of my building. A few minutes later I had filled the whole bag up to the point of bursting and had to put it inside another one to keep it from tearing apart.
But it was soon apparent to me after a couple more trials in vain that this would eventually turn into an endless cycle of people littering and me cleaning up after them and I saw that there had to be another way of dealing with this issue, a way to deal with the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.
Thing is, people didn’t need anyone to tell them not to litter. In fact, the whole neighbourhood was filled with posts every few dozen meters from the municipality warning people not to litter. (Like that ever helped). It was apparent that the problem was inside people’s minds and no matter how much I lead by example (which I still do), I can’t go around, door-to-door, asking people not to litter and raise awareness in the neighbourhood. It’s too heavy a burden on one set of shoulders, especially when I don’t plan on dedicating my time to doing that. I have other priorities in life.
It was clear that a change of mindsets was necessary, for people to go from total negligence to starting to appreciate what they have and take care of it as their own. And to do that I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed supernatural help.
It is also worth mentioning that it certainly didn’t help, the fact that nowhere in the whole neighbourhood was any garbage bin to be sighted. So as a result, people got accustomed to throwing their daily garbage collections in one particular corner up the road, which in time got absolutely gruesome.
Periodically, Sukleen would grace us with a small garbage van to relieve whatever it can of that whole mess, but only to set it back to square 1 of that never ending loop.
One day when I was walking my dog I ran into the workers and asked the driver why Sukleen doesn’t put garbage bins in our area. I was surprised to find out from him that there were garbage bins in that spot before I moved to the neighbourhood but people complained to the municipality about the noise coming from the garbage truck doing its shift and asked them to remove the bins. I didn’t know which sounded more inconceivable, the fact that people valued personal comfort more than cleanliness or the fact that the municipality would grant them such a wish to begin with and pretend they did their part of the story by planting these futile warning signs along the road.
Frustration grew all the more inside me as I would drive by that garbage pile every day on my way up and down as I would leave and come back home that I decided I was going to pay the municipality a visit sometime during the week. But when I went, I couldn’t find the municipality even though I asked for directions (something that I don’t usually do, as I suppose is the case with most men). Finally I gave up and decided to pray for this instead.
This is where it becomes interesting.
Now I realise this might sound strange to some, especially those who don’t believe in the spiritual, but for about two weeks as I would drive by that pile of garbage, in holy frustration I asked God to do something about it.
And that’s what he did.
By the end of these two weeks as I was leaving home one morning, I got welcomed with the sight of two new dumpsters where the pile of garbage used to be.
You can imagine (or maybe you can’t yet) how overjoyed I was on that day to see the fruit of my ongoing prayers.
I wish garbage was the only issue that was getting me worked up in my neighbourhood, but sadly it is but one of the problems that I wanted to see solved.
The hill up to my house was notorious for its slippery road especially the first part which was steeper than the rest. I even had a near-death-experience on it last year when I crashed on my way down into a six wheeler in the opposite direction because I couldn’t make the turn on wet ground.
More so, the road all the way up was filled with potholes making it really hard for drivers to dodge them and at the same avoid hitting the cars coming in the other direction.
Now get ready to be blown away.
A few months ago I was coming back home afresh with the revelation that the neighbourhood was mine because my Father owned the whole world. I don’t know how I hadn’t thought of it before and what it would entail, but if everything belonged to God, then naturally as his son it would belong to me too. It sounds simple when I put it that way, almost too simple, but maybe it was so simple that I had missed it all along. And I guess that’s what makes revelation what it is — something that was hidden from your eyes and suddenly got revealed to you.
Once you believe something like that, it’s not too long before you will want to test it out. Imagine you got the revelation of having super powers, the least you would do is test them out to see if they work — kinda like Spiderman when he found out he had superpowers because of that radioactive spider bite.
This is where it starts becoming freaky.
Well my Father spoke things into existence. He said “let there be light” and there was light. And that’s just one of the things listed in the book of Genesis that came into existence by his word. So naturally, if he could do it and if his Son Jesus could do it throughout the gospels, then I could do it because Jesus said we would do even greater works than he did (John 14:12).
So that’s what I did. I spoke things into existence.
As I was driving up the hill having the fresh revelation that I had spiritual authority over the neighbourhood, I said, “let this part of the road be drilled with small holes to prevent cars from slipping on the way down”. Going further up to where the potholes were I said, “let all the potholes here be closed up” and I started pointing at each one with my finger.
About a week later (maybe two), the potholes were closed up. All of them. A week after that, the steep hill was drilled with holes where it was slippery. I think at this point you can start to imagine how thrilled I was to see that.
Are you ready for the grand finale?
Going back home some time after that, I drove past the two garbage bins and found them to be overflowing with garbage falling on the road. I said, “If two isn’t enough, let us add a third one”.
Take a look at this.
Well, the skeptic among you will say it’s all a coincidence, the two garbage bins, the potholes, the drilling of small holes in the road and the third garbage bin. But couldn’t this also be said of of the miracles that Jesus performed? Couldn’t it be said that Jesus happened to calm the storm at the exact moment when it was already about to calm? And if we were to take it a step further, couldn’t it be said that the people who got healed were under some placebo effect and the people who were dead and rose again weren’t really dead?
Of course we can try to punch holes as much as we want and quite frankly I don’t mind that. Jesus was never offended by skepticism and had no problem giving proof to Thomas who wanted to touch his wounds to believe.
Believing in the supernatural isn’t key to start changing your neighbourhood. All it takes is for you to believe it’s your own, because (I would hope) you take care of the things that are your own. I just like to do things differently and believe in the supernatural as well as the natural just as Jesus used boats most of the time to travel across lakes even though he could perfectly walk on water had he felt like it.
Well, I did start this post with “call me crazy”, didn’t I?
This morning when I was walking my dog I was surprised to find a man from the neighbourhood, in a suit, picking up garbage from the road into the trunk of his car while it was warming up.
I guess the change of mindsets I was talking about earlier isn’t that far after all.