I turned off the faucet and dried my hands with the napkin. It was a needed holiday. My muscles were tight from stress, and Easter came like a paid spa session. Boy! Did I rest? I slept in different angles, at odd times. I ignored my alarms and slept each day as hard as I could. I ate whatever I saw, I ensured a joule of energy was not expended in running market errands or doing some marathon cooking. I had some work to do and some trainings to undertake, but I was decided to rest fully during the holiday. From a day of rest, I looked forward to the next. Oftentimes, in my sleep, a name will come to mind. She featured in a previous post, “pangs of Poverty”(https://rantings.net/2019/04/16/pangs-of-poverty/), and I would wake up wondering how she was fairing. It was on my mind to give her something at Easter, but I was certain there was no way I would see her till after Easter. I had a few people also expecting some cash gifts from me at Easter and I thought to myself how these people, even when they had the means to help, offered no help when I needed it. It is funny how people just plug into you and expect to always receive and never be there for you. When you need help, they send you some dismissive “it is well”.
”I’m self-made” I muttered under my breath and laid out the napkin.
Clearly I just heard a second voice in my head challenge me.
“Am I not?”
”Think about it.”
I began to ponder on the fixation on self. Is anybody truly self-made or we are too arrogant to acknowledge the contributions of the people in our lives to our success? Pretty much, there has been occasions you needed people and no one was there.
Was no one there or the people you expected to be there were not there? I began to ponder how I never paid any of my school fees by myself. I have got help on countless occasions from friends, families, and even strangers. Somebody taught you something, somebody gave you a word of advice, somebody said a prayer for you. I remember back then in Nigeria, when we were kids and our society was saner, we had no zebra crossing and traffic lights (at least in my community), yet all a kid or elderly person needed to do to cross the road was to stand by the road; an able-bodied adult would come by and help you cross the road, sometimes a sensible motorist would stop and wave for other drivers to stop, then signal at you to cross over. Back then, we took taxis as school kids, some drivers would alight and hold the hands of the children and lead them down the road. An adult would watch over a kid. An adult would correct a kid, and God bless you if you embarrassed your parents so much for the adult to follow you home and report to your parents.
We had teachers and parents that taught us knowledge and wisdom. We were not born with the knowledge to brush our teeth. We learnt the basic things of life from other people who had gone ahead of us, sometimes, people within our time frame. Reminds me of my experience in Abeokuta some 4years ago. I was in a taxi, but the host of Nigerian road users do not regard the zebra crossing. Many drivers just recently learnt to respect the traffic lights. It happened that there was a newly painted zebra crossing around OPIC, and an aged woman had been waiting to cross. She must be learned, because she stood on the zebra. She summoned our cab driver in a plea to slow down for her, but the driver was sensible, he was already on a deceleration and summoned other vehicles to stop. The aged woman and another woman with a baby strapped on her back took the crossing. Out of nowhere, a taxi sped by, cursing us for daring to stop and slowing down traffic at the zebra crossing. The ignorance was unbelievable. The lack of knowledge that that part of the road is an entitlement of the pedestrian was baffling. The difference between us and him, apart from his outright foolishness and lack of respect for the elderly, was probably knowledge. Somebody in the society taught us road manners and we became the responsible members of the society that we are, perhaps he had nobody to teach him or he had no ears to listen.
There were occasions I was almost stranded and without stressing anybody about it, some friends came through. There were times I got ill and people attended to me. People recommended me for employment opportunities. People took their time to read through and refine my essays for admissions. There were privileges I was born with that gave me some advantages.
How did I get the self-sermon into my head that I became oblivious of the efforts of man and the grace of God in becoming who I really am? It felt good to have this hard talking to at Easter.
”So are you still self-made?” The voice in my head enquired.
”Nah. All I am and have, I have been given. I am not self-made.”