By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma
Learning is a continuous process. Every day new ideology comes on board. At creation, God gave mankind the mandate to conquer this world. Indeed Science and Technology have reduced the vast world to a global village. In the Old Testament, some curious men started to build the ill-fated Tower of Babel whose height was aimed at reaching the throne of God. Perhaps they wanted to overthrow God.
Thereby, they abused the divine mandate of subduing the earth. Instead, they planned to subdue heaven first. The superior Being, God terminated the overzealous human intention by confusing their language. Consequently, they could no longer understand each other. Thus, the Tower of Babel project was shattered. In addition, their inability to understand each other scattered them all over the world. That was the origin of languages and ethnicities. Also, human curiosity and selfishness ended in raising numerous problems.
In my primary school days, some Mathematical problems were solved by the employment of human rationality. For instance, in those days, if you were asked to divide one by two, the simple answer was: it is impossible (o kweghi omume). But today, it has become possible by using high Mathematical acumen. The correct answer now is 0.5. Hence, two can now divide one.
If two persons are given an orange to share, the solution is to cut it into two equal parts. Even more than two persons can still share one orange by cutting it into the number of persons. In Igbo Custom, a piece of kola nut can be shared by the number of persons present. This is the reason why we talk of breaking of kola nut in Igbo Land. It is a common say that the Yoruba plant kola nut.
The Hausa eat kola nut. The Igbo break kola nut. Some time ago, my bosom friend from the Northern part of Nigeria visited me. As a mark of welcome, I presented him kolanut. He appreciated it. I was anxiously waiting for him to break it for us to eat. Before I could know it, he inserted the whole kola nut into his mouth and started chewing it. I was surprised.
The cracking of human brain can lead to psychiatric problems. Everyone is not good at Mathematics. For the intelligent ones, Mathematical problems are the easiest to solve. On their own part, fools have their own ways of solving mathematical problems. I read about what transpired in the classroom somewhere. The Mathematics teacher set a quadratic equation on the black board.
Then she asked one of the students to come out and solve it in the presence of her classmates. Since she was not good at Mathematics, she came out courageously.
All eyes were on her. She walked few meters away to the teacher’s table and collected the duster. She used it to wipe the entire quadratic equation. At last she held a piece of white chalk and wrote down on the blackboard: “Problem solved.” The students laughed to the highest degree.
The teacher herself fumed at her. Courageously she asked the students, “Why are you laughing? Is the problem not solved?” She turned to the teacher and asked, “Teacher, why are you angry? Have I not solved the quadratic equation by wiping?” Her funny solution merited her one week suspension from school. Today, this funny student has graduated in Law and has been called to the Bar. She wins most of her matters in court by the application of the Law of Common Sense.
During an English Language class, a melancholic English teacher who has been suffering from chronic high blood pressure for years stood before class one students as usual with gloomy face. The topic that day was on vocabularies and grammatical expressions. He pointed at one of the students and asked him, “What is selfish” This required oral answer. The comic student stood up and answered, “Sir, the answer is simply simple.
Selfish is the business of selling fish. My mother sells fish at Oye market. Therefore, she is selfish.” The rest of the students laughed and gave him a standing ovation for his clever answer. The melancholic teacher also laughed for the first time in a decade of years that tears were dropping from his eyes. When everywhere was calm, he praised the student for his ingenuity but incorrect answer.
He went further to explain that selfish is an adjective which means lacking consideration for others. In conclusion he asked the student in question, “By this correct definition is your mother selfish?” The funny student replied, “No sir. She is considerate in her relationship with people.” The teacher and the students clapped for him.
The following day the melancholic teacher went for his frequent medical check-up against his chronic high blood pressure. The result was excellent. His High Blood Pressure has normalized. The doctor was wondering over this medical miracle. Laughter is medicinal.
Let us laugh as much as possible every day. Avoid sadness and taking awkward happenings to heart. Human life is too short to be sad always. Laughter is the best medicine, but if you laugh for no reason, you need medicine.
Some time ago on Good Friday, I cracked a joke during my homily. Majority of the congregants laughed to a limit. At the end of the solemn liturgy everybody was advised to go home silently and meditatively. After removing my liturgical vestments, an over pious woman stood at the sacristy door wanting to see me urgently. In silence I gave her audience.
I thought she was highly touched by the liturgical acts of that day. Hardly did I know that she wanted to crucify me for cracking a joke that caused laughter among the congregation. For her, laughing on Good Friday is a mortal sin. She accused me of blasphemy. Consequently she didn’t receive Holy Communion at my hands on that day. In the spirit of the day, I didn’t argue with her. Instead I asked her to see me later.
When eventually she came, I simply told her that Jesus Christ died on the Cross that we may live. By so doing Christ turned the sadness of sin into everlasting joy. Her face beamed. She smiled and went home happy. Let us be careful with our choice of words in dealing with the ignorant. Happiness melts sadness.
It is with cleverness that the snail craws through thorns and thistles. The secret of survival in any awkward condition is endurance. A patient dog eats a fleshy bone. Impatience can lead to untimely death. It is praise-worthy to take things easy. Too much worry is unhealthy.
Even if your doctor during medical diagnosis tells you that you have a terminal illness, you should calmly and prayerfully accept your condition. If you are tensed, you are likely to die sooner than later. Pray and take your drugs regularly. The doctors care while God heals. God is greater than any sickness. He can cure you miraculously, if he so wills. But if eventually death comes knocking at your door, open for him happily.
Every problem has a specific solution. Even death itself has a solution. Are you aware of death’s specific solution? It is being prepared always. Therefore we must not be taken unaware by the hands of death. Habitual sin and being unrepentant lead to unprepared death. Therefore let us not hesitate to reconcile with God and our neighbor as soon as possible. Delay can be very dangerous.
Opportunity, they say, comes but once. We should emulate the good thief who utilized the golden opportunity at Calvary to acknowledge his sins and pleaded with Jesus Christ, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom!” The merciful Saviour instantly promised, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23: 42-43). Let us commend our souls into God’s hand as we work, travel and sleep; for human life is full of uncertainties. Heaven and Hell are real. Where will you and I spend our eternity? The solution is in our hands.