The Purpose of our Existence Here and Hereafter

by SOC Okenwa

Monsieur Kouame, a very good friend of mine here, an alumni of the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris France and my former lecturer invited me over the weekend for some drink and gist. I struck friendship with this radical University of Cocody teacher when I was still pursuing a French-language degree-awarding programme in the institution of higher learning few years back. Mister Kouame has since become my confidant playing sometimes informally the role of a father in whom I am well pleased.

A jolly good fellow the father of four likes my company. A critical authoritative voice of reason Tonton Kouame is a vibrant personality. When I met him up in a bar downtown he wore an unusual gloomy face quite unlike his boisterous character provoking the instant poser from me: “Grande frere, on dit qoui?” (Senior brother, what’s up?) To which he fired back characteristically: “Cher ami, ca va, c’est ma femme qui me provoke!” (Dear friend, it’s well but my wife is provoking me). “Madame a fais qoui encore” (What has madam done again) I had asked. “Oui c’est cigarrete et boisson; selon elle je bois et fume trop!” (Yes it’s cigarrette and drink, according to her I drink and smoke too much), Mr Kouame continued explaining the source of his temporal unhappiness that fateful night.

Mr Kouame’s wife had asked him to choose between her and drinking and smoking! She ‘banned’ kissing him and threatened to make their home uncomfortable for him if he did not quit smoking and drinking and keeping late into the night. And when I called her that night to hear her own version of the story the pretty lady told me she never wanted to be a widow so soon! I saw reason with her but then old habits die hard. Mr Kouame like me started smoking in his college days!

In life three vices stand out as the ‘undoing’ of men. From generations men are known to be addicted or passionate for one of these three ‘great evils’ — smoking, drinking or womanising. I am a ‘victim’ of one of them myself: smoking! I have ‘battled’ my wife, my mother and my pastor over my cigarette ‘addiction’ but in the end I have had my way. Though I drink with moderation I smoke a packet of Marlboro lights cigarettes per day and Mr Kouame smokes much more! In spite of the fact that we recognise the mortal danger inherent in the habit — ‘smokers are liable to die young’ — we try to refrain from abusing the nicotine-infested substance. That is why we go for ‘lights’.

Smoking is injurious to health, that much is true. Chain smokers have paid the supreme price for their addiction — millions has died from the ‘toxic’ effects of cigarette-smoking yet numbers of smokers are multiplying by the day. In the Western world with their developed sophisticated institutions and infrastructures cigarette-addicts and victims have had cause to exploit avenues to sue cigarette-manufacturing firms obtaining millions of dollars as compensation and liabilities claims. These measures do not exist in the third world where even some expired and sub-standard cigarettes get sold on open markets.

Drinking and womanising are no crimes but too much of everything remains bad. Die-hard drunkards lose respect before decent men diminishing their status; when they make contribution to any debate no matter how logical they receive little or no attention due to their drinking habit. Wines and liquors are meant for pleasure and good life but when they are abused they become dangerous for the human health and social standing.

Womanising on the other hand started from time immemorial. Ancient Kings David and Solomon in the Bible did not show good examples which mankind ought to emulate. With hundreds of wives and concubines in their kitty their promiscuous lifestyles are hard to beat! But HIV/AIDS has, literally speaking, become, fortunately or otherwise, the ‘wages of sin’ which translates to death! Sex, the mortal honey, has effortlessly continued its decimating streak.

A moving thought-provoking true-life story was told sometime ago about a rich man in the West who was apparently fed up with purposeless living. The wealthy man one sunny afternoon without telling anyone headed for the beach to ‘end it all’. As he struggled with the tidal waves in the middle of the high sea in a suicide mission a young man spotted him and went for his rescue. As the young man succeeded in grabbing his drowning body and pulling him up ashore he was asking the famous rich man what he was doing and why he was doing that. Surprisingly the rich man was crying and asking the boy in return: ‘why did you do that? You should have allowed me to die my son!’ Flabbergasted the ‘good Samaritan’ retorted: ‘but dad it’s not wise to take one’s own life’.

The old rich man narrated, sobbing, how he had made good money, travelled extensively, married with children, had houses, cars, investments running into millions of dollars but despite this huge wealth his life was ‘drifting’; he had failed for years to understand the reason of his existence here on earth. He told the boy that while he was happy with the good things of life guaranteed by the riches he felt some spiritual void enveloping him every now and then. So he decided to seek life hereafter by committing suicide!

The rich confused man confessed further as the boy was driving him home that he was uncomfortable with the parable of the rich fool as told Biblically by Jesus Christ. Since it will be easier for a whole camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man like himself to inherit the Kingdom of God it follows therefore that richness may be a curse afterall. He said he has been generous to all manner of people and he has a good name but he desired genuine satisfactory answers to the ultimate purpose of life here and hereafter.

In the final analysis, what should constitute our purpose of existence here and hereafter? What is the ultimate purpose of life and living? I believe our purpose of existence here could be located in seeking the Kingdom of God by doing His Will, knowing the truth and telling it and doing good to all men and women. And the hereafter? Well, your guess is as good as mine; suffice to say that that is still unknown but we can only hope that our good deeds here on earth could help our existence in the life hereafter — if such thing exists somehow somewhere beyond our reach as long as we still wear this mortal body!

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Blogger August 30, 2007 - 2:04 pm

the hereafter is well documented in the Qur'an. grab a copy and educate yourself!

Rosie August 28, 2007 - 3:28 pm

—In life three vices stand out as the 'undoing' of men. From generations men are known to be addicted or passionate for one of these three 'great evils' — smoking, drinking or womanising.—

There you go objectifying women.


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