By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
Marriage is a life-long covenant between a man and a woman. It is ordained by God for companionship, being helpmates, procreation and upbringing of children. It is a vocation. The word vocation is derived from the Latin word ‘vocare’ which means ‘to call.’ Not everyone is called to marriage. In other words, everyone must not marry. To be single (‘ledig’ in German) is also a vocation. Are you called to marry or to be single? A German would normally ask: ‘Sind Sie verheirated oder ledig?’ That is: Are you married or single? A certain man told me that he is married and single at the same time because his wife is a big cross to him and they are not in talking terms since two years. They are under the same roof but cooking and doing other things separately.
Early marriage does not give rise to early procreation always. Marriage is basically for companionship. The Igbo adage says, “Okorobia siwe nri mawa osuo, i mara na inu nwaanyi ya eruola.” The literal meaning is that when a young man cooks and sighs, it means that his time of getting married has come. It happened that a young man called Uwadiegwu was living alone at Enugu and was doing business at Ogbete main market. He took delight in cooking for himself whenever he came back in the evening from business. But as time went on, the cooking and house chores became burdensome to him. Thus he decided to get married. In two months’ time he found his heartthrob whose name is Onuwa. He travelled home with her and introduced her to his parents who gave them parental blessing. The bride price was paid two weeks later. After all the traditional and church drills, they wedded at Saint Philemon’s Church Ogbete, Enugu.
Mr. Uwadiegwu and Mrs. Onuwa consummated their marriage during their honeymoon days. Happily they expected a bouncing baby in nine months to come. But that was not to be. As a result they began to live as husband and wife with mixed feelings of happiness and sadness. Their companionship gave them happiness while their childlessness made them to be sad. They consulted different medical and spiritual experts. No quick result came. Tongues started wagging. Nevertheless, the couple remained patient and prayerful for twelve years when the heavens opened and God blessed them with bouncing baby twins, a boy and a girl. They knelt down and thanked God for the double blessing. On the naming day, they called the baby boy Anayo while they named the baby girl Anaenye. Anayo means Asking while Anaenye means Giving.
Anyone who asks should be ready to give. If God gives you, then you ought to reciprocate by showing appreciation to God in many ways. Thus, during the church child presentation and thanksgiving to God, the presiding priest gave glory to God for blessing the couple Uwadiegwu and Onuwa with bouncing twins baby after twelve years of childlessness. Equally, the priest carried the twins in his two arms and presented them to God at the Altar of Sacrifice. To show appreciation to God, the happy couple promised to build a Chapel of Adoration in the parish for the glory of God and to honour Anayo and Anaenye. They fulfilled the promise in less than six months. In the following year, Uwadiegwu won an American visa lottery. Today, the couple and the twins Anayo and Anaenye are living comfortably in their own bungalow in New York.
During prayer, most people only do the asking because the Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened to you” (Mtt 7:7). So, many of us are Anayos. Only few are Anaenyes. I put it to you that you and I ought to be Anayo and Anaenye combined. The Bible as well says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7 ). Some of us act like the little child whom you would give something cheerfully, but when you ask him to give it to you, he would object by hiding it behind him. When you insist on getting it back, he cries.
It is a vice to be a miser. My Hebrew teacher at Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, Father T.O. Onoyima used to say, “Misers die miserly.” Are you a miser? If yes, then you will die miserly. Misers have gummy hands. They receive but do not give. It pays to be generous. It is better to give than to receive. Are you a receiver or a giver? Are you both? He who gives receives more. He who does not give perishes with his wealth. The joy of having is in giving. Givers do not lack. Try and see!
The rich as well as the poor should give. One certain time, a rich man was driving through a busy street where a poor beggar was sitting and begging by the roadside. The poor beggar waved down the rich man and asked for alms. At that moment, the poor beggar was eating an ear of corn. The rich man asked him for some. The poor beggar sighed and grudgingly gave him three seeds of the corn. The rich man ate them and drove away. The poor beggar cursed him for cheating him. On coming back, the rich man stopped at the spot and gave the poor beggar clean three thousand naira. Mathematically it means one seed of corn stands for one thousand naira. Instead of showing gratitude, the poor beggar started regretting and saying, “Had I known I would have given him the whole ear of corn.” He was good at asking but stingy in giving. Generosity is a virtue while stinginess is a vice. Are you generous or stingy? I recommend all to read the Igbo Novel titled “Okpa Aku Eri Eri.” If you are stingy what happened to the headmaster Akubuzo can happen to you. He failed to spend his money even at the cost of his life. Instead he went hungry and sickly. At last, termites consumed the millions of paper money he hid in the ground. He slumped instantly and didn’t recover mentally and physically again.
During the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States of America on 20th January 1961 he made the following indelible remark: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Similarly, ask not what others can do for you. Instead think of what you can do for others. What have you and I done for others? Often some people wait until someone in need dies before they render any assistance. That is medicine after death. That is why I beckon on you to pay me condolence visit now that I am still alive. Bring those fat envelops, cows, cloths and foodstuffs so that I can use them now to sustain myself. A dead man does not eat, drink or wear clothes in the grave.
Think of what you can do for your family, relations, village, town, state and country in order to enhance human life. You can build houses for the homeless, pay school fees for the less privileged, construct roads, set up pipe borne water, electricity, toilet, etc. for public use. You can only make use of one room in the houses you built for yourself here and there. When you die upstairs, your body will be taken down and interred six feet under the ground. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! It is what you did for others that you would be remembered for. Pontius Pilate is being remembered for having the Saviour Jesus Christ crucified under him. Will you or I be remembered for good or for evil? One reaps what he or she sows. Anayo! Anaenye!