“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving” – Albert Einstein
For the last two weeks, I have not only been in a roller coaster of emotions enhanced by the unpredictability of Myoclonus but had to shake off the feeling of being a dilettante and bestir myself from the bleakness of the present and focus on the beauty at the end of the tunnel and I must apologize for the short break from writing. Talking about the very things that constantly and endlessly swirl through my brain, which is one of the effects of insomnia, I choose again to make my life of some meaning whilst I yet trudge through this solitary journey, enjoying the company of the very few that God has placed in my path. In the last fourteen days, I have terminated some relationships, renewed some, re-birthed some and made a few new ones. For the very journey we all engage in would be as desolate as the cemetery without the presence of the variety of individuals we all come across – the good, the bad, the ugly and the different.
A couple of Fridays ago, I was opportune to attend the Old Students meeting of my alma mater, and expectedly it was a beautiful reunion; meeting with individuals after 2 decades and some odd years ago. Many had passed through before me, and ironically I was the baby of the group however there is nothing like a fora where you get to mingle with individuals, some of whom had left legacies or feats of daring and probably stupid acts. And as Pope John XXIII stated “Men (and women) are like wine – some turn to vinegar, the best improve with age”, it was a stunning display of truth as we all mingled and regaled ourselves with old tales. Generations mingling with generations without the limitations of the dictates of high school. I was fortunate to attend one of the best Unity High Schools back in the days, of course with the usual mix of tyrants, bullies, the fair, the weirdos, the geeks, the beauties and the hotties. Unsurprisingly, each of us had some story to share and it was a beauty to see many who have distinguished themselves in their chosen paths.
Unerringly, tales swirled around experiences back then, the lives of those who had passed on and the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with some who we had received a few slaps from, with those who had meted out corporate and non-corporate punishment. Standing with those whose names back then was enough to send us scuttling for safety. I recall vividly a couple of chaps who I felt were personally assigned to make my life a living hell, and also recalled the privilege of walking the same paths with the progression of years as those who had before us. I recall that as newbies, we were forbidden to walk on the pavement in front of the classes belonging to those in Upper Six (someone had aptly painted it red, so twas the red carpet for us and woe betide you if you had the boldness to step on the red carpet). We looked upon some as though they were giants and adored the likes of those who were remarkable enough to overcome the predilection for juvenile delinquencies and grasp the opportunity to positively impact the lives of those below them. Looking at schools today, one can weep because in our bid to give our kids what we didn’t have as kids, we have absolutely forgotten to also balance it with what we did get as kids – as a society, we are hopelessly shirking our responsibility as parents and as generations pass by, the kids have become the parents and we have devoted ourselves to doing their bidding.
One of my greatest appreciations is the years I spent in my alma mater and even though, back then it seemed as though it was horrendous especially in the early years but as the years progressed, I realized that without the experiences received back in the years, I just may not be who I have become today. And that is exactly what life does to us, sometimes it seemed as though we were (and are) being continually and persistently punished for just being there but guess what, our cores were being formed and just like I always say, we were making choices to be who we wanted to be regardless of the birthing pains of character development. Life is a process! I made friends, many I have lost contact with but the few who I am in touch with constantly sing the same tune – what a privilege it was to attend Federal Government College, Warri. What an association of brotherhood (and sisterhood) has been formed, one that with the years, forges bonds that are so strong but can yet be stronger. Scattered all over the globe, are individuals who were thrust through the furnace of FGCW and have emerged stronger and better. some more vile, a few departed but alas we are still a result of our choices.
Primolevi says “In modern times, it is only by the power of association that men of any calling exercise their due influence in the community” One truth rings clear, we must exercise our due influence in our community but the question that always go unanswered especially when men and women gather is what does our community really care about – how much we know or how much we care?
An old Swedish proverb that once hung down the rafters of ‘Ye Old Tavern’ Ronneby, Sweden says that ‘happiness when shared is double happiness, and sorrow when shared is half sorrow’. Looking around, we are witnesses to so much sorrow borne by ourselves and others and whilst some of us are capable of handling theirs, many around us are almost consumed and overwhelmed by their portion of sorrow – be it physical, emotional or spiritual. There can be no clearer appreciation of the labors of other men in our lives if we choose to turn a blind eye to those who are in dire need of a shoulder to lean on. There are needs to be met, and it takes a supreme effort and a clear understanding of our purpose on earth to go beyond just asking ‘what is wrong with you?’ and actually do something. Yesterday, as I shakily boarded the bus, Madge (the driver) bellowed several times “Can someone please give this disabled man a seat?’ and as I made my way to the vacated seat, I cringed at the obvious term but I have refused to allow that becloud my ability to convert the little I know into expressions of care. Associating with my family of strangers, be it for a few stops or a few minutes, to let them know that I will not succumb to Myoclonus and there is enough joy to go round the world……if only they make the right choices.
Despite my struggles with Myoclonus, OCD et al, I choose to do what I can with the little I have in making that one life just a little bit more bearable because I know that my core is and will always be strengthened by The One who alone can be relied upon. It is my core that remains unflinching in the face of all the bleakness, and whilst my body tries to adapt to these unpredictable bouts of incessant painful changes and weaknesses, my core remains strong in Christ alone and I can boldly tell you that regardless of what you are passing through ; Andrea, Shannon and the rest of us who are battling this, realize that I associate because I truly care. Putting aside my own troubles and pain and tremors, to share some humor and care to as many as I come across. I do not need good luck because I know that my end is pre-determined and there is only one outcome – no white flag is ever gonna hang from my door.
Remember that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Make a choice to live for something worth dying for. Do not be a dead sea!
lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו
2 thoughts on “Associating with knowledge……”
I really wonder what their parents could’ve said or done to some of those prefects back in high school that made act like the spawn of the devil!!! I sure did have fun times though, for sure! 🙂
Another well-written piece! Tres bien Monsieur Ryan!
Thanks dear. Life does prepare us with some of these experiences cos without a core, there can be no character xxx