He is bent over the engine of his “danfo”, one of those ancient Mitsubishi buses which feature the engine in the trunk of the vehicle. Sweat is dripping down his face to his neck, and onto his once white singlet. His forearms are busy fiddling with some component or another.
“Won’t you get out of there with your jalopy!“, one man screams from the shiny BMW. He is the picture of rage.
“Oga, you no sabi drive? Wetin dey worry your motor?” This from the touts loitering by the side of the road.
The driver doesn’t utter even a peep. I’m wondering if he can’t hear the slowly rising ruckus and the sneering comments. He’s completely focused on getting the bus to work again, after it stopped suddenly and without warning.
“All these stupid drivers”, hisses a girl angrily. She’s sitting right behind me in the bus. “They charge high fares”, she continues, “yet they’ll never buy enough fuel. Mscheew!” She hisses again long and hard. For a second there i imagine shes a snake girl. Some other passengers are murmuring impatiently. I’m also eager to get home. I’m hot and sweaty and tired and cranky. And hungry. But I’m as silent as the driver, who is now covering the engine and approaching his seat. He starts the engine and it rumbles to life, amidst cheers from the same passengers who were complaining not quite two minutes ago. I turn to look at the girl behind me, and she’s smiling. “I knew nothing was wrong”, she says.
As we pull away, en route our various destinations, the bus gets quiet, as the passengers settle down. That’s when my head begins to buzz with questions.
Isn’t this quite like real life?. Actually it’s just like real life.
We are all on a journey. The journey that’s called life. Like every journey, sojourners through life will encounter pit-stops, unexpected blips and bumps along the way. At these times, other sojourners are bound to comment, most of the comments negative. You’ll get the harsh ones, you’ll get the sneers, and there will also be the mockery. But perhaps the most damaging ones are the ones made by people who mean well.
So they’ll ask you, “are you sure you know what you’re doing?” “Isn’t this pit-stop a sign that you should stop while you still can?” “How many people have you met who successfully went this route?” “Please, we love you, stop now.” And they do love you! But they don’t understand the passion fuelling your decisions, your actions. They can’t see what you see. Don’t know why this journey means so much to you. No, make it everything to you. For its everything to you, how did Jeremiah put it?” “It’s like fire shut up in my bones.” He couldn’t stop even if he wanted to. Someone else, was it Jesus himself, was said to have been eaten up by the zeal of the house of the Lord. Even I am burning up just penning this down.
Anyway, it is at these times that one has got to be resilient in resolve. Dogged in the face of opposition. Solid and immovable, like Gibraltar. Draw strength from the reserve within you. And when that’s depleted you will always get more from the source of all strength – the Great I Am. The one and the only, who never falls short or disappoints. And when you have that strength, you can maintain equilibrium, and like that driver, be silent yet undeterred, knowing full well what to do to get moving again. For trust me, if it’s a life purpose, and it ha mankind’s best interests at heart, you will get moving again, for success lies at the end of that journey. Definitely, most assuredly.
And when you reach the finish-line, sweating and weather beaten, like a general wearing his stars, you’ll also be sporting the scars from your stops. And you’ll stand tall and proud, chest puffed out at the lives who are better as a result of your journey. At this point, all the money in the world won’t matter, for you will have found the essence of fulfillment, something which many have no idea about.
And then, all the commentators, both well-meaning and otherwise, will give their cheers of commendation. They will all tell that lie, “I knew you would make it”, and they will mean it. But you’ll know, because you remember but you’ll simply smile, with your eyes and your heart, while you remain silent. For even now, there are no words for them, not ones they will understand anyway. You’ll simply smile at the cheering crowd.
And me? I will smile with you, silently too. For I know your journey.
What’s your story? The story of your journey? If you identify with this piece, please comment and share your journey with me.