Depending on whatever part of the world that you are in right now, you may be in 2018 or just about to hop into 2018. And one thing is common with this season. It’s so common that it can even be considered a tradition. New year resolutions! Cuts across several religious worldviews and ethnic groups. Almost everyone makes new year resolutions, and almost everyone fails at them. What if I presented an alternative to the tradition? What if such resolutions were actually bound to fail, even before we stepped into the new year?
He comes to you for a job
But you call him a worthless pig,
Hopeless and without a place in this world
And He bears it all without saying a word
You come to his backyard to farm
And he asks for a portion of the produce
But you call him a greedy robber
Yet, he bears it all without saying a word
One time, you meet him at a dinner
And you asked to be placed at a different table
You say that his mouth odour was like the smell of faeces
But he bears it all without saying a word
Your thugs enjoy beating him
One night they beat him till he couldn’t move
The tears flow freely from his shattered heart
All without him saying a word
Then you decide to go for the big kill
You murder his mother and sister in cold blood
You tell the world that they were evil people
And that they never deserved to live
He will come for you at night and set your house on fire
And you will perceive the aroma of your wife’s flesh
You will survive only to be shot from his pistol
“I never thought you could this,” you mutter as you die
But the truth is that he couldn’t do it before you came
You built a monster, one act at a time
He never said a word because he wanted you to change
And you said all the words, all, but the right ones
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017
I sit confused on the pew and my ears can’t believe the words coming out of the large speakers. I turn my head just in time to catch the ludicrous smile that forms on the face on the man sitting next to me. I want to ask why he is smiling, but I figure out that I might be seen as rude. It is my first time in church and I don’t know how things work here. I try my best to act normal, but I can’t. The lady sitting at my other side notices my discomfort. She puts her hand on my arm and asks gently, “Is everything okay, brother?” I look into her lovely eyes and, with the escape of a tear, say, “I was told to run towards the Light. The Book said to flee from the wrath to come.” Her incredulous look makes me feel like I had said something strange, as though I had spoken in a strange tongue.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a quote by popular British humorist and author, Erma Bombeck. She had been asked what she would have done differently had she the opportunity to live her life over again. After reading her reply, I couldn’t help but imagine how our lives would be remarkably different if we all thought about what we would like to have at the end of our lives and not just about what we want now.
It has oft been said that the man who lies at his deathbed doesn’t smile at how much he has acquired — the cars, houses, degrees, etc — things he would leave behind. Rather, he basks in simple thought of the lives he has touched, revels in the joy gotten from the relationships he built and sustained all through his life, and the impact he would have made on earth.