By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
The term 'end' is self explanatory. Every literate person knows what it means. The Longman Dictionary of contemporary English defines End as “the last part of something such as a period of time, activity, book or film.” Left for me I would say that end is end, simple and short. A primary 3 pupil was asked by his teacher to explain the meaning of the word 'end.' The boy jumped up and walked quickly to the wall demarcating the classroom from another classroom. He touched the wall and said, “Teacher this is the end of our classroom.” Another funny boy was asked by the same teacher to define the term 'end.' The funny boy ran to the school regulator and brought the school bell. He rang it severally. All the school pupils from primary one to six gathered there. The boy rang the bell again and again. Then he shouted, “The school has ended today!” The teacher asked him, “Stupid boy, what do you mean?” The boy replied, “Teacher, this is the meaning of end. See you tomorrow.” By this time most of the pupils have gone home even though it was 10.15a.m. The teacher gave him 24 lashes of cane for causing confusion. Later the school headmaster summoned the teacher and gave her query over the unfortunate incident. Also he suspended the funny pupil for two weeks. That's the end of the episode.
Everything that has a beginning must have an end. Only God has no beginning and end. He was. He is. He will continue to be. But human beings have a beginning and an end. The life of every man or woman begins at conception, when the sperm from the man fertilizes the egg in the woman's ovary. At that moment, God infuses the soul. Thus, a human being is made up of soul and body. The soul is spiritual while the body is material. The former is mortal while the latter is immortal. The soul is the life of the body. The body shelters the soul. None is complete without the other. Death is the biological end of human life. However it is the end of a new beginning. At death the body decomposes while the soul goes back to the Creator. On the resurrection day, the body will rise again from the dust of the earth and reunite with the soul. The risen body will be incapable of corruption. In essence we can deduce from the above clarifications that biologically speaking, death is the end of human earthly life. On the other hand, death is the beginning of human eternal life. Are you with me? Do not worry. When you pass through these processes you will understand everything.
Animals and plants share the same biological processes with human beings. The difference is that human life is transitional, but animal's or plant's life ends automatically at death. This is because they have no souls. Hence it will be foolish at the death of an animal or a plant to say, “May it rest in peace.” Their lives can only end in the grave or in human belly. Once upon a time, a widow was weeping over the death of her lovely dog. She went to a priest and pleaded with him in tears to come and bury the dog so that it can rest in peace. The priest removed his eye-glasses and looked at the woman doubtfully. He asked the widow, “Are you alright? Don't you know that a dog has no soul? Its life is ended at death.” The widow with tears replied, “Father, since the death of my husband, I took the dog as a replacement. It was so lovely like my husband and behaved like a human being. That's why I believe it has a soul and will go to heaven and rest with my late husband.” The priest exclaimed, “It seems that you are mentally deranged! Let's go to the chapel for your deliverance!” The widow left with weeping and sighs.
Night begins at dusk and ends at dawn. The night is long, but sleep makes it short, especially if you are having sweet dreams. Have you ever suffered from insomnia? If you have been sleepless throughout the night, you will know how long the night is. You will be tumbling on your bed, waiting aimlessly for the end of the night. During such times, it seems that the hands of the clock do not move. When eventually the night ends at dawn, you will smile and dance for joy despite your horrible experience.
The year begins on 1st January and ends on 31st December. On the last day of the year we are excited and look forward to the New Year. In those old good days, you dispose all utensils in your kitchen at the end of the year and buy new ones. Economic hardship has compelled us to discard that idea in this era. In those days, food cooked on 31st December was not eaten on 1st January. If you throw away old utensils or old food away today, you will see people rejoicing and thanking God for feeding them with manna from heaven.
Once we enter into the 'ember' months, it becomes very obvious that the year is about to end. Count them: September, October, November, December! During these 'ember' months, the aroma of Christmas will be flying in the air. On 25th December we commemorate the Birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is the beginning and the End (Alpha and Omega).
Hence, in each calendar year, we look forward with joy to the celebration of Christmas. It marks the end of the year and the beginning of the New Year. Jesus Christ is the bridge between the Beginning and the End. Our lives begin in Christ and ends in Christ. In other words, without Christ we are lifeless. Is Jesus Christ born in my life and in your life? Christmas calls for sober reflection.
As the year 2018 comes to an end, Nigerians at home and in diaspora pray for the success of the 2019 General Elections starting in February. Thank God the presidential candidates and party chieftains have signed the peace pact for non violent polls. The elections will come and go, but Nigeria will remain. We pray to remain in peace and not in pieces. Election should not be a do-or-die affair. Leadership is service to God and humanity. It is not for self aggrandizement. It is unfortunate that President Buhari vetoed the 2018 Amended Electoral Bill passed to him by the National Assembly. Will the National Assembly override his decision or will the President make a u-turn? May the Word-Made-Flesh whom we celebrate at Christmas intervene in the uncertainties before us and help Nigeria to move forward. Our prayer is to have free, fair, credible, transparent and peaceful elections, come 2019.
In the moral sphere, we look forward to a virtuous end. In other words, the means justifies the end. It is immoral for the end to justify the means. If you must achieve something, you ought to get it through just means. You do not become rich through theft, armed robbery, kidnapping, bribery, corruption. You cannot become a mother by child trafficking. You become legal parents through birth or legal adoption of children. A good student must pass through rigorous examinations to become useful to society. If a student achieves success via examination malpractices, he or she poses great danger to the lives of others. Those students who sit for their papers in special centers are academic rogues. One cannot become a medical doctor or pharmacist through quackery. Likewise you cannot become a priest, lawyer, soldier, policeman, etc by impersonation. No sane politician can justly become president, governor, senator, representative, chairman or councilor through election rigging, vote buying and electoral violence. The means must justify the end. Therefore we appeal to our politicians to play by the rules of the game. The people you want to serve must be alive and happy to enjoy your services.
All said and done, let us always bear in mind that this world will surely come to an end some day. Three things await us: Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell. All mortals must die. After death comes God judgment. Saint Paul puts it this way: “Each and every one of us must give account to God about his or her life” (Romans 14:12). A steward renders account to his master. After the account comes reward or punishment. The religious leaders and political leaders will render the account of their services on earth. All men, women, youths and children will do likewise. Christians, Moslems, Pagans, Atheists and Animists will stand before God's judgment seat after death. So, after giving the account of our stewardship on earth we shall be rewarded or punished. Heaven remains open for those who lived well on earth. Those who lived bad lives on earth will proceed to hell fire.
Finally, whatever we do, let's remember the end. The end should radiate joy. No one prays for a sad end. A film or literature that ends well is known as Comedy. But if it ends badly, it is called Tragedy. It is better to be a comedian than a sadist. The following quotations are food for thought: “A moment's beginning ends in a moment (Munia Khan). The future can never lie about the past. In the end, you will see the beginning (Michael Bassey Johnson). Don't be afraid of an endless road, but the road with an end (Mehmet Murat Idan). Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it's not, it's not the end (Volksweisheit). All stories end when they have returned to their beginnings (Justin Cronin). Happiness is not the victory, success or accomplishment; it is what happens at the end of the day (M. F. Moonzajer). In the end, the world returns to a grain (Dejan Stojanovic). End is not the End, in fact, E. N. D means 'Effort Never Dies' (Jerhia). The truest end of life is to know the life that never ends (William Penn).
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abraham Lincoln). It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end (Ursula K. Le Guin). Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter (Martin Luther King jnr).”
It is very sad that at the end of 2018, world statistics show that Nigeria is the worst country devastated by poverty. Secondly, Nigeria is the third most terrorist country. Thirdly, Nigeria is the 15th most dangerous country. God save us! Despite these, I wish all Nigerians merry Christmas and prosperous New Year! Let us be prayerful and shine our eyes as we cast our votes in 2019 general elections.