By Michael Benjamin
Of man’s entire inventions Facebook, a social networking website, is undoubtedly the most ingenious. Ever since interacting on this site I have reunited with long lost friends in every corner of the globe and we were able to relive certain facets of our lives at various stages that were remotely hidden in the furthermost recesses.
Sadly, I have also learnt of the deaths of some very good friends whose whereabouts had remained a mystery prior to the birth of this social phenomenon.
For some time now I have made it a habit of emulating my friends and posting inspirational messages on my page with an aim of starting their day on a bright note. And so it was a few days ago, after an especially rewarding experience I posted this message, “Sometimes we experience suffering and lament over our bad luck. Over the past week I had such an experience only to discover that God was preparing me for a greater achievement. I discovered that success has this annoying way of hiding inside tribulations and stress. Thank you father for another eye opener!”
This statement elicited varying responses from many of my Face book friends and even though their coinage of words varied, they all bore a common message, “Faith moves mountains.”
After perusing the missive, a friend called and further strengthened the view that “Life is 10 per cent what happens to a person and 90 per cent how they respond to the experience.
When I was a young man my mother insisted that I attend Sunday school and no amount of prefabricated excuses could have let me off the hook. Every Sunday morning she would dress me up with shirt neatly tucked into ‘ankle breezers’ (trousers that barely reached the ankle line) and with a New Testament and a hymnal.
Later on, left to my own devices, I attended one of the community crusades organized by the Seventh Day Adventists. In those days Pastor Reynold Howell, the late Brother Vincent Hall and Samuel Pyle were the key persons that contributed to the inculcation of my early spiritual values.
I was later baptized at the Central Seventh Day Adventist Church, Church Street, in 1977. Later on, consumed by the vagaries of life, I slipped along a different path that contradicted the initial socialization process.
Notwithstanding that decision, I nevertheless have a strong Christian foundation supported by the values learnt during my active days in the church.
Life is fraught with dangers and while no one is in total control of his/her destiny, every person has some amount of control over his life and to some extent, the way situations pan out. I have adumbrated before on the profundity of the view that even amidst the concept of egalitarianism is the reality of inequality by dint of functionality.
Therefore, within any societal structure one is likely to be confronted with bosses, and bosses’ bosses etc. Amidst it all, God is the chief boss of bosses.
Dealing with life’s vicissitudes is no cakewalk especially when one does so devoid of a spiritual grounding. And so it was that over the past months I found myself battling with my spirituality and debilitating circumstances that ballooned into frightening proportions by the minute. Yet amidst such experiences, my close friend urged me to view these experiences from a philosophical perspective.
Anyone that shares my experience of living in close proximity of a mechanic shop will immediately identify with my problem. The trench just in front of my home is saturated with waste oil, discarded oil filters, food boxes and a host of waste that poses serious health risks.
On a daily basis I am compelled to argue for the right to enter my yard as my entrance is oft time blocked by vehicles. Derelict vehicles also dot my parapet and pose risks to my safety. Only last year, gun toting marauders hid behind one of these vehicles and shot and injured two men just in front of my premises and my vehicle suffered extensive damage. Kaieteur News had carried an extensive report on this issue in an earlier publication.
I lodged a complaint and several police officers visited the scene and ordered the individual responsible for the presence of the vehicle to have it removed. He complied but now that the situation is less volatile, the vehicle has returned.
Just recently, I had to seek the intervention of the courts to rule on a situation where I was forced to wait for more than forty minutes while lumber was being offloaded and the truck that spanned the entire road, impeded my path. Since this matter is still in the courts I am constrained to elaborate.
As any law abiding citizen, I sought and did receive assistance from the police and one week after the incident, a vanload of officers from the impact squad detained an individual while the other ran away. Less than half an hour after I had returned home from the Police Station, a hail of stones broke several louvre panes on my house sending me back to the station.
The situation abated for another week before I received another visit. This time intruders carted off my water pump. The police returned but the suspect has disappeared once again. Anyone would have become angry by such an ugly fate.
Ironically, I am grateful to these intruders for the perpetration of such despicable and wicked acts.
I called in the plumber who immediately set about repairing the damage. Midway into the job he asked me to observe as he emptied one of the tanks. I was astounded by the muck and sediments that he managed to extricate.
Coupled with that, he pointed out how easy it would have been for someone to lace that tank of water with a poisonous substance. The thief’s greed over-rode his malice and allowed me to make the necessary adjustments. That water pump was merely a few thousand dollars; the lesson invaluable.
Coupled with that (and this is even though there was no trial and/or conviction of the perpetrators), I am sure that the money accrued from the sale of the pump would have already exchanged hands with some cocaine seller and the thief is none the richer.
Recently, while attending to some business at the Revenue office, one of the officers extricated me from the crowd and volunteered to assist. I felt warm under the collar when he reminded me of my contribution to this country.
He then said to me, “Mike I am a Christian and I believe that because you are a public figure with the power in your pen, you should use the opportunity to spread the word of God.”
He further reminded me of my near death experience during which an accident has left me devoid of the full capability of my leg.
Thinking of his words I realized that I owe it to myself, my people and most of all, my creator to broaden my influence in my endeavor to make this world a better place. My lesson today is profound—”Trust in God with all your heart and he shall direct thy path.”
As my mother used to say, “Once God brings you to a situation he will take you through it. It is my profound wish that everyone reading this article aspire to evaluate their ‘misfortunes’ through spiritual lenses in order to accrue maximum benefits even amidst life’s debilitating vicissitudes. Have a blessed Christ filled day readers!
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