The end is often infinitely more important than the beginning. Sadly, this is an often ignored fact. We focus all our energies on the beginning and talk away the strength we could have used in finishing the project. Before I begin to veer off course, let me get to the point. Some years ago, I visited my father at the beginning of the year. We talked about sundry issues and at some point, I began to complain because things had not taken the turn I had expected. I was sorely displeased with myself because I had been unable to meet my obligations as a son. The old man listened patiently. He stared at me and wondered whether he had complained to me. I shook my head. He told me: ‘o saaju aiye o to nkan, igbeyin l’oju’. Roughly, that translates as, being first for now matters little, it is the end that really counts.
When we were children there was a man- a Jehovah’s witness- who used to come to our house to preach. Somehow, my father liked him and they would sit for hours talking and swapping anecdotes. He was the one who narrated this story to my father. It’s not in anyway fabricated. Let us call the man Mr. O. Like me, this man and his brothers were sad because they were unable to take care of their father as they desired. Every ending of the year, these brothers would travel home to spend time with their father. The man who owned the building next to their father’s also had many sons. His sons, by every standard, were illustrious. They would travel from several parts of Europe and America to see their father. Nearly everyone looked forward to the arrival of these sons because food, drinks and money changed hands once you paid them a visit. Mr. O and his brothers would sit quietly with their father wondering why God blessed their neighbour’s household but choose to allow them wallow in misery. The old man always gave them his standard response for the first and the repeated time: ‘o saaju aye o to nkan, igbeyin’oju.’
This litany of complaints and needless comparisons continued year after year until the man died. His illustrious children came for the funeral rites. I think the rites lasted for three days or so. Of course, people had a swell time as they devoured plates of sumptuous meal and belched with satisfaction. The night before the day the man’s body was supposed to be interred, Esu took a hand in the matter. The hunters had kept gun powder somewhere in the house. It was customary, in that village, to usher great men to the ethereal world with gun salutes. That was what the gun powder was meant for. An unwary child, however, carried a lantern too close and the gun powder set the entire house ablaze. Mr O. told my father that more than ten houses also caught fire in solidarity. The dead man, his coffin and all other paraphernalia became ready tinder for the fire. His children, thoroughly ashamed, ran out of the village before sun up and never showed their faces in that part again. Mr.O’s father called his sons the next day and reminded them of his admonition that the end is far more important than the present. I suspect that’s something one says with a suppressed smile playing at the corners of one’s lips.
This year, as you set out in the pursuit of your dreams, don’t engage in needless competition. If anything at all, you should be so busy carrying your matter on your head like jerry curls that you have no time at all to peek into your neighbour’s seemingly lush garden. Simply put, mind your business! That somebody made his first million before you shouldn’t make you look down on yourself. Your race is different. When we compare, we compete. Then, we get petty and jealousy sets in. Years ago, I got lucky on my birthday. I got 5 lovely cakes. Out of sheer excitement, I told somebody. I noticed that with the passage of years, he would tell me: ‘ I got 7 cakes’ or sometimes 8. It took a while before I realized what was really happening. That shows you how petty people can get. Don’t be pressurized by people’s silly timelines of success. Don’t feel pushed by the beautiful pictures you see on Facebook. I’m sure you’ve noticed, people aren’t usually as fine as the pictures they splatter all over the social media. LOL
You can’t possibly carry an elephant on your head and still be mindful of an ant strutting by your feet. This year, as you set out to achieve your dreams, run your race, be diligent, don’t compete with anyone, help more people achieve their dreams and always remember the Divine. There’s absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t be your greatest year yet. Have a fabulous one! Hugs and kisses.