Black Journey

By Fr. Pat Amobi Chukwuma

Initially, I thought that it is only visible objects that possess colours. Hardly did I know that everything, visible or invisible, has its peculiar colour. Very often, we hear of colourful events. A colourfuI event is a successful event. The opposite is evident. I was taken aback when I perceived that a journey can be white or black. The he-goat said that it is highly expedient to make travels.

Thus he (the he-goat) travelled to his mother’s land and learnt how to protrude the lips upwards. He who never travels remains in a myopic world. It is only evil persons that rarely engage in expedient journey. They stay at home and obtain their PhD, which means “Pull him/her Down.” The authentic PhD is the highest possible academic degree a student can obtain. It stands for Doctor of Philosophy.

Generally, it is referred to as Doctorate Degree. For the sake of clarity, those who put PhD after their names should avoid putting our minds in suspense. To avoid doubt, they ought to clarify if their PhD is authentic or demonic. In other words, is it white PhD or black PhD?

Just as the he-goat travelled to his mother’s kindred and learnt something new, I travelled to Germany and learnt that there is white journey and black journey. A white journey means travelling with valid ticket while a black journey is traveling with an invalid ticket or without ticket at all. In the same vain, travelling without valid international passport or not having any at all, is also a black journey.

I still recall the day I engaged in a train travel within Germany. As I sat on my seat and was admiring outside nature through the train window, a police travel controller stood before me. As a black man I was already a suspect. First of all, he asked for my travel ticket. I quickly and freely gave it to him for inspection. He glanced through it and said, “Ja, alles gut.”

This means all is well. Secondly, he enquired of my international passport. Unfortunately, I was not with it on that journey. He commented, “Alles schlecht” (All is bad). Fortunately, I had my German Student’s Identity Card (Ausweis) with me. I happily presented it to him. He glanced through it and smiled. He handed it over to me and said, “Sie haben Glueck gehabt, sonst gehen sie ins Gefaengnis.”

The English translation is that I had good luck with the identity card; otherwise I was due for prison. I made the Sign of the Cross seven times. Nevertheless, going to prison in Germany is like going to purgatory while going to prison in Nigeria is like going to hell. Thank God I have never been to prison as an inmate either there or here. If am lucky to go to heaven, then I shall be the luckiest person.

Do you know that a day can be white or black? In common parlance the day has to do with light while the night has to do with darkness.  We talk of a bright day or cloudy day. When the weather is clear and clement, we call it a bright day. But when it is cloudy and muddy we refer to it as being not clement.

Those who go by the name Clement must hide when the weather is not clement to avoid being lynched by angry mob. My late father was called Clement. I am optimistic that he is resting in everlasting clement environment which is Heaven. If anyone who goes by the name Clement goes to hell fire, what will be his fate there?

Now, let me leave reading the inscription on the bus and enter the bus to my destination. A white day is an eventful day. It is a day on which things go well with someone. It is a happy day. It is a day things went as planned. It is a day justice reigns. It is a fortunate day. It is a day to be remembered throughout one’s life time; otherwise called a memorable day. This question is often posited before all and sundry:

“Which day is the happiest day in your life?” It is the topic of an essay in primary or secondary school. The happiest day in one’s life as a child, cannot be compared with the happiest day in one’s life as an adult. A child has more happy days than an adult. A child has lesser problems than an adult. Often I feel like going back to my childhood days. I am jealous of children but not of children of nowadays.

A black day is an unfortunate day. It is a day on which darkness descends during daylight. In other words it is an evil day or a day of calamity. There is an evil man who is popularly known as Calamity. If you encounter him first thing in the morning, then you are doomed for the rest of the day.  A black day is the day one meets his or her waterloo. It is a day injustice triumphs over justice.

This write-up coincides with the day injustice was being enthroned in the land of the Giant of Africa. It was a black Monday. It was a day injustice was inaugurated in daylight while justice watched with helplessness. It is the worst black day I have ever experienced. It is the beginning of a black journey, whereby the driver is driving over two million passengers without having valid driving license. It is a dangerous journey. The lives of the passengers are thus, in serious jeopardy.

The Driving License Issuance Authority is quite aware that the driver has no valid driving license, yet they entrusted him with the mass passengers’ bus. He is too old to drive. He is equally unhealthy. His school certificate is questionable. He is also the General Overseer of drug barons. The black journey has begun. Can the bus arrive to safety? Only God knows. May God rescue the millions of helpless passengers on board!

As pilgrims on earth, we are on journey to eternity. If we are on the right direction, then we are making a white journey. But if we are on the wrong direction, then we are engaged in black journey. When a tree is bent, the direction of its fall is obvious. According to the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, God created us to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him on earth and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

Saint Augustine says that God created us without our cooperation but He cannot save us without our cooperation. If we are engaged in evil deeds, then we are making a black journey and the destination is hell fire. Black journey is disastrous. Unless we make a U-turn, we can never arrive to safety. Daily good spiritual exercises are antidote to black journey. Saint Paul admonishes, “Do you know that in a race, all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So, run that you may obtain it.

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we, an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly. I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified”(1 Cor. 9:24-27).

There are many obstacles on the way. We must watch and pray. Here, Saint Peter advises, “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  I wish you and myself a prosperous journey to Heaven. May God save us from temporal and everlasting black journey!