< we can’t always know >

I think the worst crime against charity is ingratitude. And so, it’s become a point of duty for me that no kindness done me – and there’s no such thing as ‘little’ – goes ‘unthanked.’ And I can be annoyingly grateful. That point where you begin to wonder whether what you did was that much. Yes, it was! Or, is it your much?

Until this morning… I learnt that we’re just too limited to exhaust the bounds of gratitude; we can’t know every instance of kindness people show us. Gist: An undergrad classmate, a great friend with whom I’d run business things in Nsukka those years, took delivery of his copy of “Thinking Differently II” and promised to do the needful. He actually put a date to it, May 29. Yesterday, right?

Of course, there could have been reasons why he didn’t get to keep his word. Perhaps salary delays, maybe keeping the promise depended on another person keeping theirs. Sadly, none was the case, given that he actually did keep his word. Just that there was no alert. Unlike Sterling, there was neither a text nor an email to that effect. And, not being my regular account, nothing would’ve made me check account balance. I just couldn’t have known.

Except by intuition. While on morning walkout today, I felt a strong urge to, unlike me, call him to know why he didn’t keep his word. Since it’d naturally be a discomforting conversation, I worked out a comic way of asking. Old buddies understand, after all. Only to find that he actually did part with a good percentage of his salary for me. And I just couldn’t have known had I not asked.

Lesson for him: I wonder how he’d have felt when not even as much as a word of acknowledgement came from me. Not even a thank you. Unlike Cornel, he must have thought. After our conversation, I believe he’d have learnt by now that sometimes people just don’t know what we’ve done for them – no matter how clearly it appears they should’ve known. I’m proof of this. I didn’t know. And wouldn’t have known for a long time.

Lesson for me: I did feel terrible for not having acknowledged, and appreciated, such a kind gesture. But how could I have known? My bank’s technology screw up rubbed off on me – and I’ve learnt that that’s fine. I should make peace with the fact that things that go wrong mustn’t be anyone’s fault. Shit happens. Period.

Lesson for you: It’s up to you to work that out. But don’t miss this: Even as you read this piece, someone, somewhere, somehow, is thinking godly thoughts about you, speaking kindly of you, planning how to surprise you with goodies… And so, as Scriptures say, “We must be continually grateful.”

Lest I forget to add, the money don finish. I use am buy something.

Your No.1 fan,

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