WHEN GOD SEEMS SO FAR AWAY
Life. Who knows what it is all about? Just when you think it is all over for you, a silver lining shows up behind the dark clouds. And just when you think you've got it right and things couldn't be better, everything clouds over and you are left wondering where you went wrong. Whatever your religion, it is at such moments that you acknowledge there is a Supreme Being somewhere, someone who knew today long before it dawned, someone who has the final say in how we'll all end.
The day must have started on a nice note when Chinwe Ogbonna woke on Thursday August 19, 2010. She must have made plans for the entire day and even the following day. She must have had plans for the rest of this year and beyond. Accounts said she had a large heart, a smiling face and was generally full of life. I know for sure she certainly would have unfulfilled dreams, the car she wanted to buy, projects she had only conceived, how she wanted to spend old age and so on. She was only 47 and then death came calling brandishing what the State of Maryland Medical Examiner, Donna Vinceti, called 'natural causes'. It has also been described as 'hypertensive cardiovascular disease'. Why did it have to be her?
Why did it have to be so soon? Then Dr Orji Uzor Kalu must also be wondering why it had to happen in his house. He probably would be wondering why he did not travel back to Nigeria the previous day or take an early flight that morning. He must be wondering if God wasn't looking out for him. How could a thing like this happen when he had so much to do, so many people looking up to him? It takes great faith not to call God's omniscient attribute to question at a time like this. But is God obliged to offer us explanations? It takes His servants to know God's secrets. It takes a calm spirit to even hear when he is explaining it….
That reminds me of this Don Moen's song I sing when I'm confused
God you seem so far away
A million miles away it feels today
Though I haven't lost my faith
I must confess right now
It is hard for me to pray
'Cause I don't know what to say
And I don't know what to do
But as you give the grace
With all that is in my heart
I will sing
I will pray
Even in my darkest hour
Through the sorrow and the pain
I will sing…
The deceased's family must cry but they must sing. Kalu must have sleepless nights and attempt to engage God. It is all healthy. What both parties must not do is forget that there is a day called tomorrow and life will go on and they will still have to return to God, the owner of life, the one who decides when it is beginning and when it is all over. In all of this they must not sin. And that is easier said than done. I should know. I have buried a child.
When you suffer the loss of a loved one, you ask God questions. I did. My little girl was a child I asked of God. Can anybody explain to me why I should have lost a child who was born after I had touched the seven flowing gowns (agbada) of Pastor Adeboye in Redemption camp? Members of RCCG who were in camp that long night in 1997 when God told the general Overseer to wear those seven agbada will remember that we were all still there at 9.00am the following day. Then I had the baby only for her to die at 15 months. I screamed as I held her lifeless body in my arms in the hospital. The doctor was distraught. He took delivery of Kikelomo. He was so fond of her. He saw how difficult the pregnancy was. He saw how I laboured for a week in hospital before death took my baby.
The doctor must have also wondered if there was something he failed to do to save Kikelomo. He told me so months later. He called in senior colleagues to review my baby's file and they all agreed it was a well managed case and why it was better then than later for us all. I still feel her loss as I write this. So let the Masi family not think the pain will go quickly. There were people who told me then my doctor mismanaged Kike because she was such an adorable little thing who liked to dance and sing along with Benita Okogie's Osemudiamen. She was also full of life. LikeChinwe, she wanted to live, my baby struggled. She had that look in her eyes that said 'mummy help me' in the final hours…
So I understand the deceased's family's pain. But like I wrote when President Yar'adua died, we are all in the departure lounge of life with our boarding passes. Once your flight is called, you have to board. We are on different flights and the boarding time will depend on all kinds of factors from aviation fuel to bad weather and even the health of the pilot.
When I spoke to Kalu on phone, he wasn't his bubbly self one bit. He was grateful that it didn't happen in Nigeria but in the U.S where science would get to the root of this matter. He had nice things to say about the deceased and felt for her family. But nothing would bring her back. Trading blames and throwing accusations is part of grieving but Chinwe has boarded and flown away. The rest of us are waiting for our flights. We must try not to sin while in the departure lounge, even as we reel in pain.
May the Almighty grant the deceased sweet repose, the family the calmness not to sin and Kalu fortitude to sail through this storm.
Re- I'm worried about today's youth
Good day to you. May your pen never run dry. I travelled from Lagos to Enugu yesterday (21/08/2010) to catch a business appointment. I made that trip by road (Enugu Airport is closed). The hassles that I had to go through travelling by road are not something that I wish to bother you with here. It will be enough to say that no road exits between the East and the West of Nigeria any more. What used to be road has since become death trap. How I managed to arrive Enugu in one piece after 14 gruesome hours can only be described as a miracle.
This morning, I quickly rushed out to catch up with a vendor to pick up the Sunday Sun just to read what you have to offer. Guess what, I wasn't disappointed. Your piece on the state of our youth made my day. When one thinks of our youth today, one is so pained that sometimes, one feels like crying. It is so pitiable.
We all know what NANS used to be in our time. As you said, our leaders as well as the youth themselves are to blame. However, I believe that today's parents must also share in the blame. It is very easy for any keen observer to see that the quality of parenting has since declined and continues to go down by the day. You and I are what we are today mainly as a result of the environment and the training we received from our parents. Our teachers in the various schools we attended could not have made us anything different from what our parents planted in us in our various homes.
How many parents today care about what television programs their children watch or the kind of books they read? How many bother to know the type of friends their wards keep or their mannerisms. How many of our so-called parents have quality time with their children or remember to do morning devotion with their family? For our youth now, the vogue is to act, dress and speak like some American ghetto youth. Since most of our youth have never left the shores of this country, your guess is as good as mine as to where they are leaning all these. These are the problems. Most of the people we call parents today do not even know what is good for themselves. As the saying goes; 'you can't give what you don't have.'
That is not to say that all hopes are lost. No. I still know some parents who still manage to bring up quality children in today's Nigeria. The number of such families, though, is going down as time goes on. This is where the role of an exemplary leader comes in. This country needs an exemplary leader who can muster the guts to ruthlessly cleanse our society of evil. The question is who will that be? My fear is that I don't see anyone of all those angling to lead us today fitting that role.
We de vex!
Interesting write up as usual. If I may ask, is it now a crime to graduate & be through with service in this country? Why would a former VC like Prof. Jega say only corpers are good enough for INEC job? What then happens to those of us who are former corpers? Does Jega thin.