In rummaging through Wanle’s stuff, I noticed diplomas and certificates for which she had worked hard. I thought, “What do I do with all these diplomas and certificate? Frame them?” On reflection, that was a wrong question. The question should have been, “What have all these certificates done in people’s lives through its holder?”
I sat there and remembered many supervisors, coworkers and colleagues in Cooperative bank, Chase bank, and H & R Block who regarded Wanle as their mentor, their friend, their confidante, and the exemplary staff member. Wanle was the staff member no manager wanted to let go. The widows stood before Dorcas’ lifeless body in Acts of Apostles chapter 9:36-43 and displayed the materials she had made for them as a token of the impact she’s had on their lives. In like manner, so many individuals who have been part of Wanle’s journey and career could say a word or two on how their lives have been impacted and changed by Ola’s gentle spirit and care. Ola was a confident, proficient and efficient worker. Yes, the certificates and diplomas opened the door for Wanle to do her sacred ministry in those secular environments.
My Dream Job: Prison Chaplain
Many Nigerian pastors who immigrated to the US started their own churches. I knew that wasn’t going to be my pathway. I also realized that because I was not a strictly “denominational” clergyman, it wasn’t going to be easy to be absorbed into the mainstream denomination. Yet, I wanted to function as an authentic pastor. After completing my four units of clinical pastoral education (CPE) in May 1998, I realized that prison chaplaincy might be the right route for me. The road was long and winding and I kept crossing every huddle. Then there was a freeze on hiring. Some Correctional Facilities were even shut down. About five years later, the ban on hiring was lifted. I was to be among the first on the list.
My wife had just had a major surgery and was recuperating when the call came. She did not want me to miss the chance. Thank God for iPad, on her sick bed Wanle did all the bookings for my trip, hotel accommodation, taxi information, etc. for me to attend the interview. Then, weeks later, she again did the booking for hotel accommodation for the first few days of reporting for work.
Two people made this dream job possible: Wanle and Kayode. Wanle encouraged me to take the position and Kayode took care of my wife when I was away, Upstate, most of the time. To Kayode and Olawanle, I am immensely grateful. I had given up a teaching position as a certified, licensed biology teacher, 7-12, which was paying a higher salary, so I could pursue some dreams while I awaited a position in the prison system. The dream projects weren’t bringing in the bacon as envisaged. To miss the prison chaplaincy would be a heavy blow. Thank you Ola and Kay.
In caring for Wanle I noticed interplay between sibling love and marriage love. The love between siblings is a mystery as well as a choice because it doesn’t happen automatically. When that love exists it is something to celebrate. I am glad for the bond between Wanle and Kayode – I celebrate it. But it is not covenantal. The love between husband and wife is also a choice—a daily choice—because it does not happen automatically. But much more, it is a covenantal love. I alone have that covenant relationship with Olawanle – till death do us part – when we took our marriage vows before God and His church as witnesses.
……Please read more from the memores……