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Nobody is born fully clothed, nor does anyone become clothed by simply talking about it. Dressing oneself entails making definite decisions and then exerting effort in following through on them.

Likewise, nobody is born clothed with love. Just talking about it is not enough. Effort is required.

Clothing serves several purposes. It protects the body, conceals unsightly body parts or imperfections, and to a degree reveals a person’s personality. Love is similar. It serves as a protection because love for righteous principles and for proper association motivates one to avoid association or places that are potentially dangerous.

Love serves to protect personal relationships, which should be dear to us. He who loves is more likely to be loved in return, and he who refrains from harming others is more likely to be unharmed himself.
Love also conceals the more unsightly parts of our personality, which might prove disturbing to fellow humans. Are we not more apt to overlook minor shortcomings in people who are loving than in individuals who are proud, arrogant, self-centered, and lacking love?

People who clothe themselves with love reveal the beauty of a Christlike personality. Whereas physical beauty is only skin-deep, spiritual beauty permeates the entire person.

You probably know people you consider to be beautiful, not because of their physical appearance, but because of their genuinely warm personalities. On the other hand, most of us have encountered beautiful women or handsome men who lost every vestige of charm in our eyes as soon as their real personalities surfaced.

How pleasant it is to be around people who have clothed themselves with love!

Victor Andikan Essien is an ardent reader and someone who believes he has an unexplored inborn talent to write. He is very good at critical reading but is now faced with having his piece critically read by you.

I stood outside my mother’s shed playing with the other kids whose fathers or mothers equally sold in the market. Friday evenings are always the busiest of all, workers rushing from work to get food supply for the weekend. Today was no exception. The sky started to darken as the sun waved goodbye in the horizon. The sunset was beautiful, but my infant eye couldn’t explore it all. Tomorrow’s might be prettier.

With tiny, dusty legs, we played in the dusk, outside my mother’s shed. I noticed a boy watching us play. There was no enthusiasm on his face, this strange boy. He walked shyly into the crowd.

Curiously I followed him. There, in the center of the market he stood with arms spread out and head lifted to the heavens.  In that moment, the sun was resurrected. The boy shone as bright as a thousand stars. The screams that followed, screams I couldn’t hear, would echo forever in my young mind. The explosion turning the evening SKY RED with the BLOOD of innocent men and women, children buried in the debris. I lay faced down to the earth, bleeding, hoping to see my mother’s shed again.

#saynotosuicidebombing

#saynotochildsoldier

#saynototerrorism

(Toiyo Benjamin is someone who seem to have the ink running through his veins. His entry came second in the 199-word writing competition tagged “A Blood Red Sky”. As one of our own, we decided not just to publish his entry but also paid the equivalent prize money.)

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