By Rev. Fr. Pat Amobi Chukwuma
God created the world and everything in it, including human beings, in six days. He rested on the seventh day. Man is the climax of God’s creative activities. Thus He entrusted the earth and everything in it into man’s hands in these words: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). I can’t imagine how long it will take someone to walk round the world, if it is possible at all. Has anyone attempted going round Nigeria on foot, not to talk of the whole world? Yet it is said that the world is small. Some call this world a global village. I couldn’t believe that the world is small until I experienced it as some others witnessed.
One day Akpan and Oduma were on their way to an interview for employment in a company. As they were walking along the road, they were absent-minded. In other words, they were physically walking but mentally absent. Hardly did they know that they were in the middle of congested road. The car coming behind them blew the horn but they didn’t hear it. The driver of the car nearly crushed them, but thank God he marched on the break on time. The two job seekers unconsciously fell on the car’s bonnet. Immediately they came back to their senses. Then the duo began to pour curses on the innocent gentleman hurrying up to meet up with his office morning work. Even the two jobless men attempted stoning him. Hardly did they know that the man was the manager and interviewer of the company they were going to. The man patiently endured the curses and assault. Then he drove off as Oduma and Akpan continued abusing him from behind.
At last the two applicants arrived at the venue of the scheduled interview. When it was time, the clerk of the company took them into the office of the manager for the interview. As soon as they came in, a sudden drama took place. The manager/interviewer looked forward and beheld the two men who abused and molested him on his way to office that morning. Akpan and Oduma themselves hid in shame as they saw and recognized him. The interview was concluded without any words uttered. It was eyes to eyes question and answer. The result came out instantly. Finally, the interviewing manager shouted, “Get out of my office, you rough and stubborn men! There is no vacancy for you here. You have proved yourselves on what happened on my way to work today.” Akpan and Oduma were buried in shame. They covered their faces with their C.V. files and walked away speechless. The smallness of the world stared at their faces as they went home soliloquizing and regretting.
Few years ago I was behind the steering coming back from a religious event. Along the road, my car engine stopped working suddenly. I did everything I could to start the engine once more, but all was in vain. I was sweating like a pot of water on fire. The worst of it was that it was a lonely place. No road-side mechanic was visible. Indeed I was confused and fixed. If it were possible I would have carried the broken car on my head and walked home. That would have been a herculean task. On that fateful day I was wearing my clerical gown. I raised my eyes prayerfully towards heaven and saw that God never sleeps. Immediately, I looked down and waved frantically at a taxi driver who had no passenger inside his cab, he stopped. At this, I heaved a sigh of relief. I asked him to help me push my broken car in order to bring back the engine to life. Unexpectedly, the yellow taxi driver told me vehemently that he does not push cars for an people. Within three seconds he drove off. Luckily some good Samaritans travelling in a commuter bus saw me stranded and stopped. Jointly they pushed the car and the engine started. I imparted divine blessings on them and they drove home intoxicated with joy.
Do you know what happened later? Open your ears. After a week, I was on transit again. I stopped on the way for some exigencies. I looked at the other side of the road and saw the very same yellow taxi driver battling with the engine of his old cab. It suddenly broke down there and quite opposite to my car. He was sweating like a local pig. Since no one was around except me, he walked across the road and requested me to help him push his broken car. Immediately, I flashed back to that day I asked him for help and he told me that he does not push car for anybody. Then I looked round and saw the smallness of the world. I reminded him what he did to me the other day my own car broke down. He knelt down and apologized. There and then he learnt that the world is small. At last the two of us pushed the engine into life again. As we were doing the pushing, the weakened driver was releasing unpleasant gunshots from his anus. The saliva in my mouth became polluted. However, I endured all in the name of charity.
A certain well to do woman had a house maid whom she crucified on the cross while she was serving her. One day, the poor girl unintentionally broke three glass cups as she was washing them. The madam of the house scolded her and poured curses on her over the broken glasses. The maid tearfully asked her to forgive her. She retorted, “Go to blazes with your apology, foolish idiot!” She went on to impose a capital punishment on her by ironing the maid’s back with hot pressing iron. The wounded maid fell down and cried hopelessly. Her tears reached to heaven. God pitifully looked at her awful condition and moved the Human Right Agency to rescue her. When she finally recuperated, the state government offered her scholarship to university level. She graduated in medicine and later became a specialist in cancer treatment.
Awake, if you are sleeping! As the years run by, the madam who dehumanized her when she was serving as a maid was down with cancer of the throat. She was referred to the Cancer Specialist who was the maid she maltreated. The sick woman was still conscious when she was brought into her hospital. She recognized the specialist doctor as her former maid. She broke into tears. The specialist was moved with mercy and she admitted her and also, gave her special attention throughout the one month of intensive medical diagnosis and treatment. At last the woman got cured. The merciful maid, now a specialist doctor, asked her to pay half of her hospital bill. The healed cancer patient went home happier. She learned a big lesson that the world is small. From thence her attitude to others became transformed.
The world is small and therefore we must be careful in our dealings with one another. No condition is permanent. The person you are abusing or maltreating today may be your savior tomorrow. When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was languishing in prison as a result of a phantom coup against the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, he wrote an appeal letter for clemency to the latter (Abacha) titled “No Condition is Permanent.” Abacha paid deaf ears to the appeal letter. In no distant time, General Sani Abacha died mysteriously in his sleep. General Abdulsalami Abubakar took over as Head of State and he released Obasanjo from prison. A year later, the freed prisoner Obasanjo contested and won the 1999 Presidential Election. Thus he walked from prison to Presidency. Abacha himself descended from throne to grave. Indeed the world is small. If I were Olusegun Obasanjo, I would have shown appreciation by being the best president Nigeria ever had.
Whenever I am driving or walking and see a fowl feeding on human excreta, I stop abruptly and chase it away. Why do I do so? It can happen that someone may come to church with that very fowl as thanksgiving gift. The former governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi, used to say, “The children we abuse today will take revenge on us tomorrow.”In other words, we must treat the young ones well today because they will take over from us tomorrow. Since the world is small, we ought to be very careful in our dealings with others. If you are in a leadership position today, discharge your power with the fear of God and for the welfare of those under you. Tomorrow someone else will take over from you. If you are a single woman, treat any man you meet with care because he may come to ask for your hand in marriage. The person you abuse or maltreat today may be your savior tomorrow. The world is small. Quod erat demonstrandum (QED).