The world we live in is filled with so much negativity that sometimes it is hard to appreciate the little gifts of life and live everyday of our life fully as much as our creator would have expected us to live. Simply turning on the TV, listening to radio, or surfing the net will reveal a coterie of bad news ranging from wars to famine and even worse: assassination. Tuning in to the evening news in any metro area can reasonably increase your high blood pressure if care is not taken with worry. Murder, rapes, child abduction, hate crimes are among the many crimes bedeviling even the safest of our cities- home and abroad. Behind all these acts are actions driven by hate, greed or envy. Personally, we are never contented with our position in life: we often wonder why evil people prosper and the wicked go unpunished. Life itself is unfair and for many Nigerians living abroad may be melancholic.
Sometimes, you miss home so much that you lament. You may lament being trapped on this side of the world; you hate the bills, you hate your boss and you miss your country. But you then remember the state of your own country and then you realize how maddening this world can truly be. The country you miss so much appear every passing moment not to be missing you a bit; you remember she is an underperformer and you whine. But we often forget the little things. Have you ever thought? What about your school mates that you left behind in Nigeria? Yes, I talk of the super star student that led your class from form one till the end (even though you want your kids to believe it was you). He ended up in one Nigerian university, made it out with first class and today he is a taxi driver somewhere in Ojuelegba. Yes, him. You have a lot to be grateful for my friend. You complain so much about America, but you forget that so many people will easily trade places with you. I mean, the day you went to the embassy, you easily could have been denied visa like many others and then you will be caught in the same desperate cycles some of your friends are caught in today through no fault of theirs. You know you were not any better than those of your friends that have become regular customers at the British, German or US embassies to no avail. You know it deep down in you that many of your mates toiling and trying to make both ends meet without the luxury of the internet on which you are reading me, might actually be better than you physically, mentally and yes, spiritually. But have you ever stopped to be grateful for the gift of life?
Talking about life, have ever looked out if your windows and looked at the glowing stars? Have you wondered about the beautiful vegetation and the lush green landscape? Have you wondered about the moon and air you breathe? Do you take the air you breathe for granted? I remember last summer when Houston was evacuated for Hurricane Rita that never came down as hard as expected, there was a tragic accident. The accident involved sick people in need of oxygen being evacuated out of the city; in the midst of the jam that developed due to panic, the bus exploded and was engulfed in flames. The explosion developed due to one or more sparks that was exacerbated by the oxygen cylinders that was used by the sick in the car. Have you wondered what life is like being fed oxygen in a tube? And then been burnt up in the same oxygen that keeps you alive? Have you felt how convenient life is being fed through a tube? Do you realize that no money can buy the good health you have? Many people are so stinkingly rich but cannot sleep or do not have the benefit of hood health. Yet, all you need to get sleep is to lie on the bed and close your eyes. Have you ever been grateful?
Indeed, as Nigerians we criticize and criticize so much that we get into what you can call a pity-party mode. We pity our plight of being riddled with bad leaders; of being caught in the web of public and private corruption or living below our potential. But what about being grateful? What about being grateful for the democratic rule that have been restored to our country in seven years? What about being grateful for giving us a President even though not so perfect definitely has a little reason and common sense to complement a good sense of humor? What about being grateful for giving us some “good leaders”? What about thanking your creator for the El Rufais, the Ribadus, the Soludos, madam due processes, and the Akunyilis? Have you ever wondered what it feels like to come from Somalia, a country with no functioning government from 1992 till date? Have you ever wondered what it feels like to have famine and hunger rage in your land like it did in Niger? Have you ever been grateful that the Tsunami did not happen in Lagos, or Warri or Port Harcourt or Calabar? Have you? My friend, have you? Being grateful obviously does not mean blind patriotism or elevated sycophancy; it simply means an introspection to your creator for those small things that matter regardless of which way it might spin.
At many forums, when it comes to the matters of the heart is usually one complaint or the other. We complain about our spouses: wife, husband, boyfriend, boyfriends, girlfriend, girlfriends, and concubines depending definitely upon which way you roll. But we often forget that life is about appreciation. Nigerian women complain about Nigerian men: yet, we cannot do without each other. Heck, we both make up that great country. You think your man is not romantic, yet he is a good provider, and you just should be grateful for that. You my friend think your wife is now looking “baggacious” packing those extra pounds or you complain endlessly of her attitude, yet you forget that woman is the only one that can successfully operate on your level of rapacious appetite for sex and food. You forget that she is the only woman that got your back when all things come down in fitful spiral. From an eight hour long day, she still will come back to tender to the family you have somehow have found a way to breed, grow and nurture together. Have you ever wondered how your life will be without that wonderful man or woman? What about if you were told he or she has just one more month to live, will the little human frailties you are so quick to pick on still matter? Funny is that no one knows when our time is up on the surface of this earth. You forget that everyday is special and that people around us especially those we love should not be taken for granted.
You should live everyday as if it is your last; and that spurn the positive sense means living it fully. Living it fully means having a grateful heart that takes pleasure in everything that surrounds you. I remember years ago visiting my hometown for a Christmas visit with Grand ma. She was effusive and ever her vivacious self. I remember heading back to the city in the New Year and the look of gratitude in her eyes. She was so grateful she purposefully held back one luggage that should have gone into the car. I remember her scrambling to run after the car after we (my family and I) crossed the road just in front of Grand Pa’s house; she used the opportunity of putting the bag back in the car to say one more goodbye to her three grandkids and my parents. She was grateful for having us around, and yes it was her last. She was such a walking paragon of health that you hardly could have guessed that was the last time she will see us. But she was gone a year later to eternal glory. I am sure with gratitude in her heart and smile in her lips for seeing us just that one last time: her grandkids taking over the world in one special way. We all should learn to revel in the realization that life is a gift and could be taken from us in a split second.
As one person put it; we need not wait till thanksgiving to give thanks, or till Christmas to give gifts or till Valentines Day to tell someone you really love and appreciate them. Everyday is not an ordinary day, because everyday is special and unique. Every second spent is one second that cannot be recovered. The time you have spent reading this article
is forever gone and you should be mindful of the way you spend every second of your life. A life spent whining, criticizing and complaining is one life spent one level short of its full potential. In any case, thank God it is Friday.