12 Revelations and 10 Lessons from his burial


I can be such a weird dude at times. Imagine that I went for a friend’s father’s burial and what I spent most of my time there doing was write. I didn’t even have my writing pad with me; had to make do with the plain inside back cover of the burial brochure. Somehow, I thank God she didn’t catch me doing that. Even if she did, I wouldn’t have cared much because it was an urge I couldn’t resist. It was way too compelling, and it seemed that her late father was dictating to me what I was writing.

 The 12 Revelations

  1. Beauty is vain; looks fade
  2. No one is indispensible; Life goes on.
  3. The grave humbles everyone – both the lowly and the highly get 6 feet
  4. One’s good name is the best legacy – not cash or real estate
  5. At death, enemies will rejoice, friends will mourn
  6. Life is transient; everything passes away
  7. Most mourners will showcase their best pretense ever – as if they loved you that much, as if they were always there for you, like they were your true friends.
  8. The one in the coffin is the homilist for the day; others are, at best, commentators
  9. It’s a day of regrets for everyone – what they wish they did for you, what they wish they said to you, but didn’t. The dead fellow even has more regrets – wishing they loved more, wishing they cared more, wishing they did more.
  10. At death, one loses, another gains. Nigerian Yar’adua’s death saw Jonathan become president.
  11. Death gets everyone philosophizing. Raising, as it were, fundamental questions, like: What is the meaning of life? What is the value of things?
  12. Uncertainty looms! Most times, things just happen!

 The 10 Lessons

  1. Simplify. Simplify! In fact, be notoriously and sophisticatedly simple. To say the least, complexity ain’t worth one bit of the value we accord it.
  2. Devote the rest of your entire life building the true legacy: a great name. I didn’t see an account balance, number of cars and houses on the funeral oration. Everybody was just talking about the personality.
  3. Humble yourself. We’re all already 6 feet down, only awaiting delivery.
  4. Don’t pride looks/appearance beyond necessity. True to it, looking good is good business, but an exaggeration of it is something else. It only serves to make us feel great and to leave a good impression of ourselves on others. That’s all! It’s never an end in itself, which is why you shouldn’t be obsessed about it. Shun narcissism! And refrain from making value judgments and derogatory remarks about people based on their looks.
  5. A good question to always ask oneself, from the stables of Robin Sharma, is: Who will cry when I die? Try playing your burial scene in your head >> look at the faces of family, friends, fans, foes, strangers who only got to hear about you after you’d died, etc., in that mental scene.
  6. Relate with life as it truly is: transient. Refrain from holding onto people, things, and positions too tightly. Relish the moment, but be open to change whenever it comes calling.
  7. Be an everyday philosopher, not a situational philosopher. Always confront yourself with the real questions, the basic questions, the fundamental questions, and then order your life accordingly.
  8. You’re important. At most, very important. However, you’re not indispensible. Life just rolls on with or without you. All humans can observe a minute silence for you, but Big Ben can’t afford a second standstill. Never forget this one.
  9. Do it now! To avoid regrets at the end, now is the right time to do whatever you wish for yourself and for others.
  10. Finally, since uncertainty looms, always have your house in order. You really don’t need an alarm clock for this one.

The Oldest Story in the World…

No doubt, this piece is going to be one of the millions of pieces that would be published on various media today on the subject of what we celebrate – Valentine. The newspapers and the magazines must say something; bloggers and nearly everyone on the various social media platforms will say something, too. To say the least, the Facebook posts and twitter tweets will alone run into hundreds of millions, covering features ranging from an exposé on the heroic virtues showcased by St. Valentine, through pieces of ‘free advice’ on the ideal way to run the day, to wishing their significant others happy Val’s day. And so, I’m not sure of writing something special here, but I’m pretty sure I will be writing something pretty different.

creation of adam
Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam

Today, I choose to retell a story: The oldest story in the world. The story of boy meets girl and the world stops moving. The story of how it always starts, irrespective of however it may possibly end. It is quite a story, and one we could all, in one way or the other, identify with. It is the story of Pure Love, and we find its very first expression in the first man, Adam.

We may not fully under this story until we travel back in time to Genesis, the very beginning. Imagine Eden. Imagine the assortment of animals and the variety of flowers. Imagine Adam seated there all alone, the only one of his kind; how else would he have found companionship with the animals or be fully satisfied with the banquet of rich food and choicest wines. Yes, in the midst of many he was all alone; in the midst of plenty yet so hungry. He didn’t even know what to expect or ask for until God his God came to the rescue, uttering these fine words: It is not good for man to be alone.

The climax of this story resides where the woman shows up. We can at least isolate two facts here: One, Adam didn’t know she was made with the bone taken from him, for he was not just asleep but was made to sleep deep! Two, Eve’s nakedness didn’t strike any cord in him, for they didn’t yet know about their nakedness until after the Fall. With these facts in mind, two questions are expedient: How come Adam knew she was taken out of him – “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!”? How come Adam made such a terrific exclamation, as if he knew what he wanted all along?

I’m not Adam, and I surely wasn’t there with him when the presence of Woman electrified his being, but I know what happened to him: He felt it! This episode reveals that intuition, as a source of knowledge has always been at work, and is as old as Woman. It was intuition that told Adam that she had been taken out of him – that like produces like. It was also intuition that told Adam that Woman was all he needed all along but didn’t know. This intuition is LOVE. Little wonder someone defined love thus: Love is the feeling that you feel when you feel a feeling you’ve never felt before.

Commenting on this story, the oldest story in the world, Scott Hahn submitted that before the Woman Eden was only a garden, turning into Paradise with her coming. And in one way or the other, all those in pure love can identify with this oldest story. When boy meets girl, that girl that fits what only his intuition knows, earth stops moving.

Today, better than any other day, we celebrate this story, and I choose to retell it, The Oldest Story in the World, and the very story of our love. We especially thank Fr. Valentine, of sacrificial memory, for giving us a reason for this celebration and retelling.