Forgive the cliché heading; I’m still reeling from the reality of my NYSC deployment. In my call up letter, one of the paragraphs admonished all prospective corpers to ‘answer the clarion call’ and accept their place of deployment ‘in good faith’. What this phrase means is for one to obey a calling, or an instruction, as the case may be. It’s a sort of resignation to destiny; an unwillingness to tamper with the fates. This is an ideal I find to be worthwhile and which I endeavor to live by, until my state of deployment reads: ‘Adamawa State’.
Growing up in a Muslim home, I was taught from an early age the six articles of faith, one of which is belief in predestination. I think this is a common feature across most religious groups –a total submission to the will of God. Some people argue that one’s destiny lies in their hands; and some even parade themselves as being able to change the natural course of life. Hence, the pop culture of the 21st century is scientific experiments, miracles, radical thinkers and babalawos.
It seems that for the better part of our lives, we are in a constant battle of individual versus ordained will. Right from birth, modern technology can now ‘bless’ a woman with fruit of the womb; determine the sex of the child and even fertilize one woman’s embryo in another’s body. Connections or ‘leg’ as we call it calls the shots in terms of admissions, employment and political ambition. It’s like a never ending tug of war game.
The extent of this conflict in ideologies came to me during a recent conversation with a cousin of mine. The Islamic belief of the end time is that all the dead souls will be raised on the Day of Judgment and they will converge at one point. Islamic history has this convergence point pegged at Al-Shaam (somewhere between modern day Syria and Palestine). My cousin then joked, “It would be my dying wish that I be buried in the Middle East”. I asked him why and he replied, “To reduce the distance I have to trek na. Imagine me going from Nigeria to Syria. I be fool?” Instead of eliciting laughter, this sent my brain wheels into commotion, as I realized that we never tire of this game, even in death.
Do we maintain the state in which we find ourselves and accept whatever is given to or destined for us? Or do we continue to struggle against every situation; striving for what we perceive as better for us? a.k.a. the greener pasture syndrome? Now please don’t get me wrong. There’s no crime in aiming for the best or wanting to be in a better position, because that’s how human beings are wired. It would defeat the purpose of creation if life happened on our terms.
I know that I will be dissatisfied with a lot of things and I will try to change them to what suits me. I also know that no matter how hard I try, or how many strings I pull, que sera sera (what will be, will be). It may be that what we think is beneficial to us actually isn’t. Or perhaps it is of benefit, but it isn’t the right time. I don’t believe that only good things come from God, because that would amount to apportioning a part of omniscient power to an entity other than God –and this is disbelief. So, when plan B, C, and D don’t work, be mentally prepared to accept the original plan….this is what I will tell myself come redeployment from Adamawa.
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Photograhy: Roquan Ojomo @roqan_ojomo
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