They say that men are in sizes and life is in phases. This is true. But while we can’t do much about the phases of life, given that every baby passes through, all things being equal, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and eventually turns old someday, we can bargain our sizes. Yes, our daily actions and inactions, choices and decisions are just one sure way of cutting our sizes in life, especially as to whether we turn affluent or wallow in lack. To say the least, success is rarely accidental; it is more of, in Steve Jobs’ words, “connecting the dots” – looking backwards.
I wish to immediately take an exception to any argument that imports the “invisible hand” into the equation; call it ill-fate, karma, or whatever. Of course, these things may be real, but bringing them into the equation has this embarrassing way of messing things up, especially the likelihood of excusing those caught up in the web of the so-called “ill-fate,” and perhaps giving those of unfortunate background a pat on the back. Even at these, we’re masters of our fate, plus we don’t have to let our background pin our back to the ground. But if one insists that the devil has the capacity to crash the party of one’s life, then I like to remind us that we’ve the mandate to resist the devil and he would flee.
It was past six pm yesterday. I’d just finished the day’s exam two hours earlier; stopped by to deliver a package to someone I’d given my word the previous night, and was headed home. Before I knew it, my heart skipped a beat; my heart had seen it before my eyes did. And when my eyes caught up with the pace of my heart, it was an old man lying face-flat by the road. I’m not particular sure if the truck hit him, but the truck was responsible for his warm embrace with the ground. And since my Christ had asked me to go and do likewise the Good Samaritan, I immediately dashed in his direction. Painfully enough, I couldn’t lift him up all by myself because the old man was gross. And then a second and a third help arrived, and we did it together. Until I felt him move his body I feared he’d died, and I’m too grateful to say that the risen Saviour spared his life.
Now, this whole episode got me thinking. It pained me so much that I cried. You know that sort of crying that didn’t require shedding of tears; I spent my long journey home beating my breast in sober reflection on what had just happened. And I asked myself a million and one questions, starting with: “What would old-age look like for me?” Yes, if God doesn’t change his mind, and He’s not a man that He should, I’m sure of old age; He promises to satisfy me with long life, and anyone who believes, too. Other questions were: Why was he out that evening all by himself? Why was he dealing with over-the-counter drugs? That was what he had in his hand. Why wasn’t he in his car with a paid driving behind the steering? Why? Why? Why? It pained me so much that I cried. And it still pains me.
Obinna now calls me a blogger. Though I feel odd in that title, I thought it wise to instructively blog that incidence. And the rationale behind this blog post is so that we don’t get to identify with this man’s story when old age comes around. For God’s sake I’m not being judgmental about the old man, but I’m simply saying that his experience holds some moral lessons for us. Of course, he might have had a car parked at home no thanks to the pump price of petrol, N250 as at the time of the incidence; he might have had a number of people to send on this errand but decided not to bother them, perhaps to know some fresh air; he might have been a patient of one of the finest private hospitals in town and only came over to the local pharmacy to pick up a dosage he ran out of. These are possibilities and I’m aware of them. And so, this post is not so much about that particular old man as much as it is about us who are yet young and would someday get as old as him.
These days I’m not quick to dishing out pieces of advice, especially with regards how to run people’s dawn to dusk. I realized we’re all pretty good at fixing our things. However, I’m insistent that we must bear in mind that someday old age will come around with its many challenges and difficulties. And we stand the chance of spending it at the mercy of Good Samaritans if we don’t consciously and prayerfully plan things out ourselves. Let me quickly let us into the part of the Good Samaritan parable that Jesus didn’t bring in the picture. What if the Levite was the last human being that took the road from Jerusalem to Jericho that day? Simple: the man attacked by robbers and beaten half-dead would have simply died. What am I saying? If we make a plan that leans on the possibility of a Good Samaritan showing up to lend a helping hand, then we should not be in a haste to forget that it is only a possibility. Probability is a better word. Gambling is just about the best word.
And now I’m compelled to leave this piece of advice: DON’T GAMBLE OLD AGE. That’s certainly a really bad deal.