I saw this movie about a man who had faced many challenges in life. An African American who was determined to succeed back in the days when racial discrimination was very popular and rife in America. He had very few privileges growing up, his father died quite early and his mum was a domestic servant in a white man’s house. He saw how well the white masters children lived and this inspired him to do all he could to live a good life as well despite all odds.
With minimal education and few opportunities he worked very hard at odd jobs. He worked at a mining site, a construction site, as a cleaner at a gas station and a janitor at a mega size office complex. His dream was to raise enough money to open a barbing salon and make it the best and most outstanding in their Negro neighbourhood. He believed with hard work and dedication, he would have many branches of the salon and live the rest of his life in comfort and give his family the best he dreamt of.
Sadly, this was not to be as one horrible night, there was an attack on their neighbourhood by fellow black folks who were notorious gangsters. They burnt down his house and everything he had including all the money he had saved. This affected him badly and after a few weeks he took ill. The sickness was so bad it didn’t appear he would recover and after a few months, his wife; broke and tired of taking care of him abandoned him and left town never to be in touch again.
When he eventually recovered from his ailment he secured a job at a train station and he began to build and save again. Suddenly out of the blues he was arrested for stealing from his employers and he ended up in jail. He was innocent.
After about 3 years he was released from prison, by the time he was out, he had become very bitter, angry and negative about life.
He was angry at life, angry at the system, angry at all those who hurt and abandoned him and he refused to forgive and let go.
He became very temperamental and toxic, in words, deeds and behaviour, he kept hurting everyone who tried to be close or tried to help him. He wouldn’t trust anyone. A lady came into his life but he abused her emotionally and even hit her over very flimsy issues; she left him. The church in the neighbourhood tried to reach out to him but he was too nasty and caustic for their comfort, they eventually decided to pray for him from a distance.
Because of the very hard and bad situations he had gone through, he became destructive to everything and everyone, including himself unfortunately.
Consequently, after many days, one of the neighbours noticed he hadn’t been sitting outside on his porch at sunset as usual; cursing everyone and talking to himself. This neighbour called the police and when the police arrived at his house, they found him dead on the floor in the living room. He had been dead for a couple of days.
The burial at the cemetery was where the lesson was. An old woman in that same community had died and was being buried on the same day as this man. At her graveside were hundreds of people crying and lamenting and singing over the death or loss of a woman that was over 80 years old. She had touched everyone in the community with her generosity, encouragement and beautiful smile.
This great woman’s husband abandoned her when she was just 22 and he never returned, her two sons that she spent all her time raising and invested her life moulding had to join the army by coercion, went to the battel field and both of them never returned, she was in her mid-forties when her two sons died at war. A few years afterwards, she developed an ailment that confined her to a wheel chair permanently. Despite all her predicament, disappointments and setbacks in life, she was still full of love, care and concern for others. She wasn’t bitter at all, she was full of life and was of great inspiration to all in the community, she had an infectious way of laughing out loud at every situation and challenge, she was full of faith and was there for all whom she knew despite being confined to a wheel chair.
These two were being buried on the same day, the woman had hundreds of people at her graveside, the man however had only the undertakers and about two state officials conducting official duties and updating records.
Ladies and gentlemen, my question to you this morning is this, when that sure time of exit comes, who will bury you? If you pass on today, who will miss you?
Today, you may be unhappy about your life, not pleased with the system, may have been a victim of many issues and may have suffered so much loss. You may have very good reasons to be angry, bitter and disappointed in life and with people but more than all that, you need to love yourself enough to still give life your best. You must do all it takes to depart this world quite satisfied and glad you gave life your best shot.
You see, the whole essence of our being here on earth is to give not grab. You can never be truly happy or fulfilled if you’re only consumed by yourself.
Happiness does not come from what you get and acquire, that’s why very many superstars and rich popular people end up abusing drugs, end up depressed and some commit suicide. A life that gathers only unto itself may end up in self-destruction.
The escape from your disappointment, depression, anger, bitterness, heaviness of heart and animosity is to start looking beyond you and begin to consider the feelings and troubles of other people you know.
Shift your mind and focus to the needs and pain of others. Assume a self-appointed role of a care giver. Never look at people or chose to relate with people on the account of what you can get. Always make friends from the perspective of how you can give and make the person better and happier. That person may appear better or luckier but believe me, looks can be very deceptive.
Giving is not always about cash or material things, you have so much you can give if you really search within. You can give love, care, attention, support, presence, a voice, a listening ear, a compliment, inspiration, motivation or just an embrace. Many people including the rich who chose to end their lives may probable be alive today if someone cared enough to give any of these.
In this life, money hardly make you important. Your money only makes you important to those who benefit from it. To others, you’re a “nobody”.
Look beyond yourself this morning, look around and for once see the needs of others. The sick, the physically challenged, the destitute, the orphan, the abused, the violated, teenage mothers, the divorced, the heartbroken and lonely.
What is your advocacy? What kind of people are you fighting for or advocating support for? What injustice are you fighting against? What discrimination are you campaigning against? Can your community of society feel you or you’re too consumed in your own need and security you don’t care about other people around you?
When you exit who will bury you? There are different kinds of burials in this regard, there is family burial, village burial, state burial and even global burial. It’s all about what you give and whom you touched with your kindness. How wide is your influence of care?
Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, MKO Abiola, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, ken saro wiwa will never be forgotten on the account of what they stood for and the cause they fought for.
The whole world buried Mandela and the whole world just buried Mohammed Ali. Despite their personal problems and pains, they gave to humanity.
Ladies and gentlemen, some of you may begin to think this morning, who am I, who knows me, what can I do, what can I offer, how will I do it, how much can I give. Asking these questions and finding answers is a good place to start. Make your life count, whatever you gather and accumulate you will eventually leave behind, it’s only what you sow in the life and situations of others that would live after you.
All dead bodies are equal, it is their deeds when still alive that differentiates the glory of the corpse.
Dear friend, how will you exit?