I am moved to happy tears inexplicably each time I see peoples’ lives being touched by the kind and selfless deeds of others. It puts in my heart not a burden, but a challenge. And, I confront myself with moist cheeks prodding in abject truculence; Nnena, how many people have you helped?
I remember in self pity the few individuals that I may have aided monetarily or healed with edifying words and I shake my head in rue. Is that enough? Surely have I “saved” sufficient souls and lives to line the narrow path to paradise with a mammoth crowd? Can I say for certain that my works of charity are satisfactory to a nicety to put a big smile on God’s face? Is my faith in tune with my actions towards my fellow man strong enough to elicit a pat on the back from the Almighty? Then I dab my cheeks with a kerchief and smile through the mist. You can do better than this Nne! I say to myself resolutely. Then I begin to set new targets for a renascent life of giving, love for mankind and all of God’s creation.
I tell myself fresh things I am going to do for others with God’s blessings on my finances and with my spiritual gifts, skills and talents. Knowing it will make God happy and knowing that there is a fulfillment in community service that no diamonds and rubies can quantify. Selflessness is not self hate. It is simply doing unto others as you would love done unto you. Prosperity and riches can neither bring true happiness and inner peace. Thus as they say the rich not only cry but gnash their teeth. Most of the saddest, depressed people on God’s green earth (believe it or not folks) are individuals who have it all; Money, power, prestige and hence more sycophants than they can manage.
After all your dreams have come true, the only critical ingredient to long lasting epiphany is to make the dreams of others come true as well. If not you’ll keep wondering for the rest of your transient existence why you’re still miserable albeit your life should be a bed of roses taking into account your value in assets and monies. Rather tragically, human valuation is not extracted from such wasting tangibles. Why evaluate your worth on what cankerworm can eat? All are born equal male and female in the eyes of the creator whether or not there is status for the Jones and only quo for the whole caboodle.
However we should not be that vain as to await a windfall before giving to those in need. Money is not always the priority in the scale of preference defining lack in some people. Persons lured to suicide, the distressed and those in a miry emotional quagmire don’t need cash when they are about to jump the bridge. Words my friends, words which emanate from a heart full of concern is required at this Catch-22. When we minister to others according to their needs we’ve not only touched a sore point. We’ve healed it.
Nevertheless, that we are abreast with the deplorable existence of swindlers and fake beggars on our roads who try their damndest best to make a mockery of our genuine intentions to aid we must not desist from this mandate of charity sanctioned by heaven; signed in God’s sacred ink of love.
I once encountered a fellow at Ojuelegba junction while I was off to Ogba on a job hunting interview. He was a seemingly responsible well dressed young man holding a neat file of documents. His anxiety and panic was equally convincing as he called out to me asking very timidly for transport fare to his destination. Poor lad, I thought, touched by his plight. He must be a job seeker like me perhaps trying to board a quick bus to a life changing offer but without a penny to make the trip.
So I dipped my hand into my purse and gave him N200 out of the meagerN500 I had. This was a huge sacrifice on my part taking into cognizance that Ogba is quite a distance and I may nearly jeopardize my own chances of coming back. Luckily for me I managed. However, I didn’t even feel much of the constraint because I was so ecstatic that I had just helped someone out of a difficult situation.
But can you believe what my eyes saw at the same bus stop a forth night later; the same dude, in a different suave attire looking desperate holding the same file and guess what; the crook did not even recognize that I was the same lady he’d encountered before so he asked me for transport money again. I was pissed! It took me a lot of control not to lash at him. I just hissed and walked past him. Oh dear, had he fooled me. I am not alone in this experience. People I know have also met with such corporate-beggars who have more change in their pockets than whom they are begging from.
I was near disenchantment from offering alms in my rage and understanding that there may be more fakes on our streets than the true less privileged. They approach their victims in differing forms with feigned ailments, different strategies and varying twists to their tell-tales. But then it also hurt me deeply to turn down every cry for help on the road simply because of bias. Since it is hard to tell who is who it dawned on me that I might unknowingly mete “cruel” treatment to a needing being or even an angel in flesh and invite the wrath of our God.
Therefore, I resolved to wring my mind dry of any skepticism and to continue to give as long as it gladdens my heart.
Let us all tag along in this business of laughter provision for the down-trodden. Along the streets where it’s hard to tell, in the key areas; orphanages, homes of the disabled, prisons, churches, hospitals etc and of course at home where charity all begins. If perchance you run into a fraud in robes of righteousness (dubious clergymen or gods of men), a fine-barra in monkey suit or pretentious one-legged man or paraplegic (who is in actuality an expert contortionist) just let it go and let God be the judge.
He sees our hearts true intent and rewards us in heaven and on earth.
The world is an outrageous tsunami. Be that incredibly indomitable Irokotree with its roots planted so deep and firm in the soil that it refuses to be shifted off the mountain. Practice what you profess and watch euphoria gloriously emanate from the center of your being.