The wooden Womb

By Rev Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma

During the process of human reproduction, the sperm from a man fertilizes the egg from a woman. Instantly, God infuses the soul into it. It automatically becomes a human being. This living cell called fetus is naturally implanted in the woman’s womb. The fetus develops gradually as the days roll by.

It is entirely dependent on the mother for survival. It is fed through the fallopian tube which joins the mother and the tiny baby. At the fullness of time, the baby passes out from the mother’s womb through the process of birth. The new born baby may be a male or a female.

The baby develops from infancy to childhood. Then the period of boyhood or girlhood follows. After this come the adolescent and youthful stages. The adult age is the final stage of human development. However, the biological life of a human being can be terminated at any stage between conception and adulthood.

The natural or induced termination of biological life is called death. As far as human beings are concerned, death is the end of a new beginning. It is a passage from temporality to eternity. At death the human body and the soul separate. The soul which is a spirit goes back to the Creator. On the other hand, the corruptible body is buried in the earth.

At conception, the tiny human being is inserted into the human womb for development from stage to stage until the birthday. At death, the motionless human body is inserted into the wooden womb for burial till the day of resurrection. This wooden womb is called coffin or casket. It is constructed with wood in a boat-shape. The interior is decorated with soft and comfortable materials.

Often it contains a pillow on which the head of the dead is laid. Nowadays, some wooden wombs are installed with modern gadgets like air-condition for cooling the dead body as it journeys on the tough road to eternality. Some believe that the dead and the living still communicate. Hence there are wooden wombs that have telephone apparatus; television for watching what happens in the physical and spiritual worlds.

Unfortunately, the termites enjoy these facilities as they descend on the wooden womb and the dead body for their daily bread. The lifeless and helpless human body is inserted into the wooden womb and interred in a dug grave or tomb, which measures about six feet.

The grave containing the wooden womb and dead body is covered with sand by the living. As the sand covering is taking place, the bereaved cries while the termites rejoice over the interred daily bread. At birth, the baby cries for coming into the world of suffering while the family rejoices over the gift of a new baby. At birth, the baby is fed with the mother’s milk. At death, the termites feed on the dead body until the skeleton remains.

The central message in this write-up is that we came into the physical world from human womb, but we shall depart from it in a wooden womb. In the human womb, the baby is helpless and depends on the mother for survival. In the wooden womb, the dead body is also helpless and depends on the living for burial to avoid being consumed by vulture and to avoid deadly stench.

In the olden days, the wooden womb was not displayed in the open market. It was constructed with available planks when someone was pronounced dead. It was not fanciful in those days. Today, the reverse is the case. The wooden womb is now displayed in the open market. It has become fanciful and attractive. If you see some luxurious wooden wombs nowadays, you will desire to die.

A certain man bought a fine and attractive wooden womb for his future burial. When he arrived home with it, the wife asked him, “Darling, what is this for?” The husband replied, “I came into this world through my mother’s womb. I shall depart to the next world through this fine wooden womb. Please do not temper with it.” The confused wife asked him, “Are you in your right senses? So, you want to confine me into the department of widowhood? Good husband comes home with fine car.

Here you are coming home with fine coffin. God forbid! Back to sender!” She broke into tears. The husband consoled her lovely and said, “My dear wife, I love you. I do not mean to hurt you. Death is an inevitable end, which must come when it will come. This wooden womb or coffin is a vehicle for my journey to eternity. Cool down. I shall depart but not so soon.

I want to keep this wooden womb in this house as a reminder of the inevitable end of man.” The wife was not at ease at all. It happened that the husband set out for a long journey one day. Opportunity came for the wife to do her wish. She brought out the wooden womb and burnt it into ashes. As the flames went up, she shouted, “Rest in pieces!”

This reminds us that when our lifeless bodies are interred in the grave in our wooden wombs, we shall either rest in peace or rest in pieces (R.I.P). Whether the dead body is buried with beautiful or ugly wooden womb, it shall either rest in peace or rest in pieces. Those who led good lives while on earth will rest in peace (Heaven). But those who lived badly here on earth will rest in pieces (Hell).

Indeed we shall reap what we sowed (Galatians 6:7-8). God created all human beings on earth to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him here on earth and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. It follows that God did not create anyone to go to hell. He endowed us with freedom of will. Thus the choice is ours to make.

The world God created was good. God created human beings in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). Animals and plants were also made by God but not in his image and likeness.

Their lives cease at death, but human life is transient. Unfortunately, some people live as if there is no eternity. When humanity was in the State of Nature according to Thomas Hobbes, life was brutal. Today, it seems humanity has descended into that State of Nature once more. The brutality is worse in our country Nigeria.

Once we die, the wooden womb awaits our corrupt body for second birth into the eternal world. However, cremation of the dead body is an option, whereby the lifeless body is burnt into ashes. The ashes are then collected and buried in a small container or thrown into a river or sea. There are those who wrap a corpse in white cloth and bury them without a wooden womb. It is indisputable that the human body is nothing but dust and unto dust it shall return again.

As we look forward to that inevitable end, let us give peace a chance to reign in our lives, families, kindred, villages, towns, cities and nation. Our country, Nigeria, is in great distress as a result of bad leadership, injustice, hatred, corruption, marginalization, selfishness, religious and ethnic bigotries, economic hardship, hunger, kidnapping, senseless killings and all manner of insecurity of lives and properties.

All powers belong to God. The 2023 General Elections are fast approaching. What we desire is nothing but free, fair and credible elections. We must eschew all forms of injustice, rigging, vote buying and violence. It is either we get it right in 2023 in order get closer to the Promised Land, or we get it wrong and sink into oblivion. The practice of rotational presidency ensures equity and fair play.

Unfortunately, it has been jettisoned because of selfish reasons. Since Nigeria is a multi-religious country, the adoption of the Muslim-Muslim tickets by the ruling party for the 2023 Presidential Election contradicts the spirit of religious brotherhood. Taking a double share is clear exclusion of others. Live and let’s live is a maxim for peace and harmony. At death, the perishable wooden womb shall be our last inheritance.