By Fola Ojo
Human beings are conceived in the reproductive fallopian space of a woman. That is where the semen of man and woman biologically kiss up to each other in tango. In the aftermath; tiny precious species with breath in their fragile burgeoning lungs and delicate developing nostrils are formed. As fetus; you were carried in the biological womb of her who was or is blessed with a firm and recondite uterus. At the ninth month, or a time decided on the calendar of Heaven; the scralletan and shrill from the buccal orifice of the tiny neonate announce the arrival of a baby. HE is a created being with destiny and future unknown even to the woman who carried him in pain and distress for very hundreds of days.
Throughout history, men who were born in ragtag and ordinary delivery rooms have lived among us, and we are not unaware of their ‘from-there-to-here’ extraordinary testaments. Very many rich men and women crawled up from humble beginnings. But how many of them, through their behaviors, truly remember the rough paths of life from where they have had to travel? How many of them remember their humble beginnings?
Today’s admonition is about affluent and influential people who consider themselves superstars. They are men who get carried away with riches and became authoritarians while they remain in authority. These are men and women who ride on a high horse today looking down on others. Their names are glowing with fame all around the globe. Their words and breaths are laws and decrees that homo sapiens have no guts to probe. They are men and women with lots and lots of money who no longer find no sensible use for the gold and silver in their possessions because they have bought all that can be bought. They have heavily invested in stocks and shares; and there is nothing else anymore around the world to invest in. However, their despicable activities, actions, and inactions show their incognizance about the frailties and fragilities of life. Please, follow me as I share an account I listened to recently.
Henry was a rambunctious and rowdy young man in his teenage years. Like very many young boys; the path he toed in life showed that he was not prepared for the future. Henry flunked his High School final Examination, and it dealt a crude blow on his emotion as man. The experience changed his mindset immediately because many of his close friends had gone ahead to institutions of higher learning. His mum urged him to leave the town where he was born because of shame brought about by failure. He was encouraged to relocate to the country’s bubbly capital to get a job. His mum’s brother was doing well in the big city. Rich and powerful man who couldn’t say “no” to his big sister’s request agreed to help reshape her son’s view of life. Henry lived with them alongside their two little boys. The first month was a great stay for Henry. After then; life in his uncle’s house was getting uncomfortably unbearable. Henry found work and out of courtesy, he handed over the pay to his Uncle for safekeeping. But uncle and his wife weren’t kind to Henry. The wife would set the dinner table without putting Henry into the calculation. The young man would watch his hosts and their children sitting around the dinner table as he walked by with no one asking him to take a seat for a morsel of pounded yam. Uncle continue to sit on Henry’s meagre monthly pay as clerk. Many nights; the young man went to bed famished. Henry would drink a lot of water to fill the empty space in his hungry stomach as the empty space in his heart grew with pain and disappointment. A few of his friends he played soccer with in the neighborhood often helped him with lunch and dinner. Henry’s story is longer and more harrowing than what I can write here.
Late last year and after many decades; Henry, now a medical doctor in the US; recalled the story. The tormenting uncle now in his late 70s suffered a stroke in Nigeria. His wealth had disappeared. His influence had flown away. The family needed 200,000 Naira to begin a medical rehabilitation treatment, and they asked Henry to chip in a widow’s mite. For Dr Henry, that’s a paltry 600 dollars. He remembered the life he was put through in the hands of his uncle and his wife. He remembered the deliberate starvation and other ugly treatments. But he offered to assist the uncle with more than he required for the treatment because the One who brings the poor out of the dunghill to sit with kings has changed his story. Men who look down on others may one day have to look up to those they once looked down on for help and support. It is a fact of life we’ve seen happen over and over again.
Authoritarians in authority will one day have to pay for their follies. Wicked men with wealth must understand that they will pay a big, ugly price for their wickedness because wealth has wings and will later fly away. IF Life itself is temporary and terminable; every position of power is transient and will one day end. How will you feel when somebody you once looked down on as undeserving of your help later becomes a success story without you? How will you feel when a young boy or girl you have badly bruised now sit in a place of authority and power? Over the course of my life, wisdom has taught me that there are no superstars in any endeavor of life. EVERY HUMAN BEING IS A STAR! They may not be shinning yet because of sporadic turbulences of life that are slowing down their journeys. We are all stars designed by God to illuminate the world around us. If you are a star today; keep shining. It’s your time.
Gimcracks can become owners of Amtrak; and a schlock who roams the street as a man considered a being without a star may become the owner of a potluck of vast wealth. Before your eyes and without your help, little people you belittle today may become your lifeline for survival tomorrow. Sing it into the ears of men who today brand themselves superstars. Tell it to kings with many menservants and queens with multitude of maidservants. Holler it on the roof-top to today’s presidents and Governors with a retinue of errand boys. Someday; other people’s stars will shine. And they may shine brighter than those who oppress them. Be careful how you deal with people whose stars aren’t shining yet. You will need them tomorrow.
Within your power, lift up the those considered the down-and-outs. Within your power, empty your life into someone and make them full and fulfilled. Grow people around you and don’t make them groan in despair, repression, and frustration. Watch out for a hungry Henry and feed him. The tracks left behind in action or inaction, deeds or misdeeds, hurt or help of others, will be etched in the spine of history and lingering memory of legacy. For one day; and from kings and their servants; breath of life will be withdrawn from their mortal bodies by the One who gave it.