& Things

Embracing a Culture of Love

It’s not every day I watch a movie and cry twice! Watching Breakthrough (starring Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Marcel Ruiz, Sam Trammel, and Dennis Haysbert  ) was very emotional and liberating for me.

You see, I too have a family member I have beseeched God to heal; but we are still waiting for his perfect timing. It has been 26 years since my brother was born and 23 since he was diagnosed with autism and epilepsy.

My initial reaction when I was old enough to understand was one of shame bordering disgust. I did not want anyone to see me with the weirdo. People stared! I wonder how some of their jaws did not come unhinged. Just saying…

Supermarket aisles, parking lots, recreation centres and often times our own living room were a thing out of nightmares for a little girl trying to get her footing in the world. My selfish young heart pumped self-righteous hot blood all through my body every time the attention scales tipped in Joel’s favor.

Fast forward…

As the years gave way to the currents of age and maturity, I learned that Joel did not need my censure but all the love I could give and even more. You see, he could only believe that which he experienced day after day.

Now, as I tuck him in at night and say a prayer over him, the words “I love you, Jojo” flow so easily because love cultivated has bloomed.

Love has to be cultivated to bloom


 I cannot even begin to take the credit for learning to love Joel the way I do now. It has come from years of watching my parents love and care for him just like they did for the rest of us. An understanding of the truth of God’s love despite my gross errors and horrid mishaps has also cemented what I believe with all my heart!

Love is the most powerful force in the universe!

A visit with my orthopaedic surgeon is always one for introspection. He tells me (every time that I see him) that we ought to love people for who they are not the baggage they carry. Titles, money, body shape or even family background are just baggage. Who we are is what really matters. We ought to love people for who they are not the baggage they have.

Sadly, most of us are so caught up in our own little worlds that we selfishly draw people close for what they can give us and not who they are. I have fallen prey to this time and again. Most people who approached me in both high school and college just wanted me to help them with school work and that was it. I do not hold it against them now but I must admit that it made me bitter for a time (to the point that I resented giving anyone any academic help because I knew that that was all they wanted from me). My reasoning was that since they will be gone the short time that it takes me to explain this concept, I might as well keep them away altogether and avoid the feeling of being someone’s crockery or utensil.

Don’t get me wrong!

I am not innocent of this either. I have talked to people to get things, connections, a job, money, favour and heaven knows what else. The point of all this is not to point fingers. This is not a witch-hunt; it’s a wakeup call!

Let us learn to give love and time not for what someone can give us or how they look but for who they are!

Joel (my brother) is such an amiable person. Though we are still waiting on the Lord for the gift of speech for him, he shares his joy in smiles and enthusiastic tugs on the hand. His taste in music is lit! He is quick to forgive and holds no grudges.

He does not deserve ostracism but love. Before he was epileptic and autistic, he is a person; a delightful one at that.

Who have you written off as unworthy of your time because of some baggage they carry? Maybe they are too fat, too short, too rich, not rich enough, not pretty enough, the wrong gender, the wrong race, too different…according to you. If you would just look deeper than the superficial to the core of who they are, maybe you would love more wholeheartedly and there would be less pain and abuse.

Past hurt is terrible…

It is. But is not an excuse for you to run around lashing at people with your callous words just because they tried to get close to you. Everyone is dealing with something! And I mean EVERYONE!

Having a bad day is no excuse for you to storm around like a misplaced storm cloud booming thunder and hurling lightning bolts and everyone who crosses your path. Get out of your own head! Pay attention to the person in front of you and treat them with the courtesy they deserve.

Where there is no love, there is no life! If you are the boss at work and you do not love your employees, you will not see the point of lavishing compliments on them when they do well and heaping encouragement when they fall short.

Let me explain…

When I say love, I don’t mean hug them and let them get away with non-productivity. That is the baggage we talked about earlier. Treat them with respect because before they were under your employ, they are humans with names, hopes, dreams and aspirations.

For all of us, let’s quit the selfish culture that cripples our generation and embrace a love culture. A culture where we all respect and look out for each other not because of our stations in life but because we are all people.

Even as we work on loving others, let us work at being loveable too. Whether it makes your toes curl and set your teeth on edge or not, be humble, courteous, compassionate, forgiving and generous.

We’re all doing life together and no one will come out alive. We might as well make the most of the time we have on this side of eternity and make the world glad that we came this way.

Love has the power to heal this world, end global warming, stop wars and eliminate poverty. That is the power of love!




  1. Oh Shelah! Another great read! I am in the very same sentiments and believe the same about love and life. Thank you

  2. I pray for him too and i am grateful to God who has strengthened ur family and taught u to love through him…Reminds me of the story of the man in the bible who was born blind and people thought he was cursed or sth bit Jesus said that he was put in that situation for the glory of God. Its like God wanted to use him to demonstrate his love for humanity and power over all adversities…..whichever situation is happening,even with jojo…despite his current state..God remains God and his love never changes or fails…..i am grateful that God has used him in many ways to minister not only to u but to us now through u…God bless you

  3. Great article. Have been feeling pity for Jojo but now I am seeing differently.

    I am now hopeful he can be cured in Jesus’ name and will always be looking forward to that happy moment.
    Stay blessed dear.

  4. Thank you Sheelz. I’m so touched by this. And my eyes are reopened to the need for me to truly love people. Keep writing! Keep inspiring! God bless you you galoo. And the works of your hands

  5. What a great piece this is Shelah! A rollercoaster of emotions you’ve pulled out of me. Thank you for sharing the gizzard of your heat with us. I think the time has come for Jo to receive his healing. I’m believing for it.

  6. What I love about this is that even after 26 years, you still have hope! May God bless you and your family with the healing you’ve been waiting for!

  7. I am joining my faith with you and I believe our brother is healed in Jesus name. Well thanks for the amazing words I have been blessed. Your such a blessing indeed, you never hesitated to give me any help during our campus time but well I apologise for just coming for help and not valuing the friendship and love above the help. That made me selfish and I have learnt, I am grateful that you have opened my eyes.

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