“Onye si na m di ya mma bia kwe m na aka! (Whoever says I am good enough, come and shake my hands!)
This is a song that the village women in the village of Nkporo Nigeria sing. It is an acknowledgement that they have a right to be, and recognize anyone who supports this notion. People like to feel appreciated and spiritually held and molded in the image that reflects their humanity not in the image that questions their humanity. We bow our heads in the direction of Ala and we look up in the direction of Anyanwu, all Chineke’s graces that govern our foundations on mother earth and appreciation of Chineke’s eminence over all things. To shut our eyes and move in ways that fail to satisfy our human needs is to restrict the spirit from flying freely and prevent us from embracing the place called “me.”
The reason that we have breath is to live to use this privilege to uplift our personal well-being and those of our neighbors. It is never acceptable to be preoccupied with the notion of pleasing the “order” to the extent that we lose our own humanity. The art of engagement with Chineke or whatever name we have for the creator is to acknowledge that we know that there is a spirit greater than ourselves but not to acknowledge any “Gods” outside our own sphere of reality as greater than Chineke. “Biri Ka M Biri (Live and let live) is just that…believe in “yours” but not at my expense. It is a fair exchange.
For Chiists, this is what we believe, and this is what we propagate. Our Kindness to others breathes just beneath our personal acceptance and propels us towards self awareness and forgiveness.
Otito Nile Diri Chineke