As the plane took off the runway and ascended into the blue Caribbean skies I said my prayers. This was not because of any fear of flying. Instead, the prayers were necessary because of the new start on which I was embarking. I had been accepted to Bournemouth University in England to pursue a graduate degree in corporate communications.
This new start, was as necessary as my prayers. I had just come off a tumultuous two year tenure at my job as a journalist. Exhausted and severely doubting my once passion for writing under the title of journalist, I decided to pursue another avenue.
By that time I was used to saying prayers. Should I call them that or what they really were? Wishes. They were wishes and not really prayers even though they were shared intimately with the One I had considered my Creator and Determiner of my fate.
Praying had become an exercise in making wishes and not the purpose for which it was intended even though at the time the depression and pain that came with my less than ideal circumstances legitimized it. It certainly did not thwart it.
This was the kind of relationship that I had with God at the time; characterised by desperation, doubt and complete insecurity in what the future would hold for me.
By the time that I returned from England to Barbados, I think this type of relationship with God had gotten even worse or stronger depending on how you ideally define such.
Suffering from bouts of unemployment, once again the vision that I had for my life was severely threatened. I had gotten to the point where I was not even coming to God for solutions or answers. I thought there were none. Rather I was coming to Him for a chance of respite from the torturous long steamy days of inertia and `not knowing`.
He obliged and as a result, He gave me the peace of mind to be still to start planning afresh again. Whatever the new beginning, I knew that it would be bold and require courage.
That plan, which included focusing on the core of what I loved so much- writing, literature and culture, saw me incorporating some aspect of these areas into my daily life for about 18 months. Whether it was academic or personal, this focused and very strategic attention resulted in unbelievable results.
Even though then I had graduated from wish whisperer to `damn it, I`mma gonna have to trust you Lord` believer, I confess that my relationship with God was... transactional ?
Well, isn't that the way it is supposed to be?
You would think the way in which Christianity is represented in media, yes.
But only until I came to the Middle East, did I truly understand what it is to have a personal relationship with God.
With the sound of the Ezan five times a day signalling the time for prayer, I was constantly reminded of God.
Don't misunderstand me.
My life has seen many twits and turns. Unmentionable twists and turns; some so painful....
In those moments God and my unwavering belief in His goodness saved me during my darkest hours.
In the Middle East, my darkest hours were gone. Well, maybe not so much.
What had changed was the mode of the relationship. It was no longer transactional because I did not want God to help me in anything. Not to say that there weren't any needs. There were. But what I wanted now more than ever was just to talk with Him, hang out with Him and just be at peace with Him.
Islamic culture sits on the premise that your relationship to God is personal and intimate. I guess Christianity is the same thing too, but it does not consume you five times a day seven days a week. And I think that that has made all the difference. With the Ezan I know now that my need for God does not only have to be in times of need, it can certainly be in times of plenty too; albeit not in the literal sense.
Follow on Twitter @petrainthemiddl