Three Decades And Two, What Have I Learnt By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni
As a new day breaks upon us, the reality of the inevitable is dawning on me. I am getting old and dying is getting close. In the last 365 days, I think I have been busy looking at what God failed to do in my life thus missing the high points of what God has done.
I have been less appreciative and failed to notice my changing status. From an orphan, I have become a married man with two handsome kids. Even though there are hard days, man must appreciate God for the benevolence to find food. On days I am pressed to the extreme, I wonder how those without a source of livelihood survive. Hunger is real, not the hunger caused by time and space to eat, but the hunger caused by lacking the means to eat. Until you experience it, you will never appreciate 2-3 meals you get.
It is indeed disheartening that in midst of what we have as a nation, many still go to bed hungry and there is constant anxiety about our daily livelihoods. We have been so degraded by those whom we entrusted with the task to lead that we even beg to get what is due to us. The narrative needs to change.
My years are getting spent and I am getting old but in the few years I have lived, I have learnt some salient things, which I feel is important I pass to my sons. Because this place is a market, I don’t know when I will be making my last purchase.
So, I have learnt what good courtesy and a smiling face can achieve. Particularly, when you are having the most horrible time. Aside from other instances, a temperamental Nurse who attended to my wife while she was about delivering my second son AbdulMuqeet Mojeed-Sanni #Uhuru, put paid to the view of putting up a smiling face.
It so happened that there were few infractions in the delivery items we ought to bring to the hospital (trust my wife, she was doing Ijebu woman on the matter), the Nurse not minding her delicate condition went into overdrive causing and lamenting, it was a plain case of carryover aggression. Considering our condition, I could not start a debate over the usefulness of the items she was “raking” over in childbearing. Rather, I put up a simple smile, then asked in the most courteous manner, what should be done to remedy the situation? The fact that her anger didn’t get to me softened her demeanour to assist my wife who obviously was getting kicked from inside. So, at a critical time, I learnt the power of a smile.
Around that same time, I learnt a delicate situation can unite people across ethnicity or religion. On getting to the hospital that night, I met 5 expectant fathers. Amongst them, I seemed the youngest, we all laid in the corridor, some sleeping, some praying loudly, others silently and somebody was just typing, documenting every passing moment. Each time, the Doctor appears to announce a birth, we all surge forward to hear the good news and congratulate the newest father afterwards. At one time, the Doctor came with something that sounded like a bad news, one of our wives was going for surgery. Right there, I saw a miniature of what a detribalize Nigeria can look like. As if remoted, we all became empathic and formed a praying circle, even me of lesser faith joined in the short prayer session. At that point, no division was entertained, we only wanted one thing – survival of mother and child.
In the last few years, I have learnt hate won’t unite us. I have come to understand that dividing ourselves as rich and poor, strong and weak, able and disabled, old and young will only widen the WE against THEM narrative. A road that leads nowhere but fragmentation. We must just find a way to live above hate, race and religion. The sheer amount of death caused by this trio will make even God squinch.
I have learnt that views change and that holding onto certain beliefs system can limit your reach. In the same vein, I have learnt that ideologies of two decades ago cannot be in sync with those of today, man must evolve and be a latitudinarian. Old views must be discarded on the arrival of better insight and knowledge. He is blind, he who is enlightened but remains in darkness.
I have learnt that one must travel, experience different cultures and understand what made people who they are. I have learnt that reading, writing and owning a library are not luxury but things we all ought to cherish. A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life, it is your travelogue when you have limited means.
I have learnt that one person can change the imagination of the world, that Nigeria can be a great nation if our sacrifices outweigh our self-centeredness. I have learnt that learning is a continuum and can never stop until you pass the mark. That imagination is different from feeling and seeing. That running young won’t save us if we are not equipped with the actual knowledge to lead.
I have learnt that there is something about winning that elicit collective support of people who want to share in the glory. I have learnt that from destruction comes creation and the circle of life is attached to dying and rising.
I have learnt that true love needs time, that when a man goes astray, man always finds himself. That family is supreme and that there is an invisible hand guiding our daily conduct.
I have learnt nobody is indispensable, that the attention we enjoy is a function of the number of people we can torch. I have learnt the importance of helping people without expecting favours in return because in that action lies true fulfilment.
I have learnt to trust God, I have learnt to expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed all those who expect nothing. I have learnt expectations brings anxiety and anxiety leads to holding grudge when expectations fail.
I have learnt to strive, develop myself in every little way, love my wife, Mujidah Mojeed-Sanni, appreciate the presence of my sons #Ubuntu and #Uhuru because, in this world, nothing is absolutely certain! Even the life we live if borrowed.
To those who will remember today, I appreciate you for noticing I am getting old, and to those who won’t, I hold no grudge because I am still getting old. I have learnt that in the end, all the importance we attach to ourselves is mere sand.