Lands of our Fathers

The Nigerian Civil war also known as the biafran war began on the 6th of July 1967 and ended on the 15th of January 1970…No, I wasn’t born then, But my GrandPa was…
I remember many years ago, At his feet we’d seat in awe of his Biafran tales of war, and he’d tell tales of Guns, shrapnel, Bombs going off and how he was thrown off his bike by a bomb blast and he’d go on and on about air-raids, and people eloping, and we’d laugh when he got to the part about scarcity of salt, can you imagine Salt Scarce??..and people eating lizards, the absurdity of it all, we’d laugh cos it was super-funny!, we never got tired of those stories, and even now i see him, seated clad in a T-shirt and a wrapper, hands behind his head, eyes closed in reminiscence, straight faced.

I remember it all now like it was yesterday, not once during those ‘Funny story sessions’ did he break to smile, I recall now the pain, agony and anguish he went thru everytime we’d ask him to tell us those tales, asking him to relieve those horrific moments all over again detail by detail, he never turned us down, but we were kids..what did we know?, I can hear him now, getting to the part of his tale when they heard over the radio that the war was over and people came out from hiding in their numbers, Only for the shelling and air raids to begin again, people were massacred and livelihoods lost, Now I wish I had understood all those years ago the underlying lessons of life he was teaching us, the essence of life and the opportunity of having it, the grace of being born in lands not torn by war and the hope of never witnessing one, but we were kids..what did we know?, I understand now the horrors he went thru reliving those tales at the expense of more pleasurable ones.

I wish, I could look him squarely in the eyes and let him know those stories have impacted my life and improved my understanding of Life, its essence. Grand Pa passed on before I got the chance to say those words to him, I understand now that a part of him never really Came back from the Biafran war, I understand now that a part of him was lost in it forever, he had gladly stayed trapped in those memories to see his Grandchildren walk free of it. My Grand father was a mechanic during the Biafran war, He was a hero, But we were kids..what did we know?

(If you’re looking down at me somewhere in those skies, I hope this makes you smile and you’re happy with my life)

– based on a true life story

– In Memory of Late Pa John Egbuna

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Whose Life am I living?

Today, Shola, woke to the realization that time was the biggest illusion, he had turned 46, with a buzzing career, a cheating wife and an estranged son, he had missed even his own fathers burial, working a 8am – 7pm job 6 days/week, somewhere across the sands of time he had lost sight of his dreams, he had begun writing a book at the age of 20 and 26 years later the book had not gone past its 70th page.

Shola was innovative, creative, spontaneous, risk-taking and great with people, He had two dreams. The first, was to become a writer, The second, was travelling the world and helping the poor and homeless. At age 20, saving every dime he could from allowances, in between holidays, he traveled through states in Nigeria visiting places and helping out where he could, he had a small camera and he captured some of the most beautiful moments, he made it to Ghana in his final year and it was bliss. He planned to do much more traveling and adventuring, maybe all of Asia, then Europe, then America, when he had made some more money. Fast forward To date after another promotion, Shola is well placed on a six figure paying job, but has still only Traveled as far as Ghana.

“I needed to be stable. I needed to take that graduate job, which would dictate my whole life” he said. Shola devoted his entire life to an 8-7pm job. “What was I thinking?” “How could I LIVE, when the job was my life?” After coming home, he would eat dinner and prepare for work the following day, and sleep at 10pm, to wake up at 5am. Today, Shola woke to a question, “Whose life am I living?”, he finally realized he had been living someone else’ life for 26 years, If Shola has been living someone else’ life for 26 years, then who has been living Shola’s life?, Bear in mind, Shola stopped living his own life at 20.

Time is the biggest Illusion, One moment you’re on the beach with friends, aged 25 and gazing silently upon the sunrise thinking forward to life unlived, the next moment on a reclining chair, on the front porch of an empty house, you’re gazing upon the sunset, thinking backward to life lived. So the question is whose life are you living? One of the words that has almost become extinct is “Lifetime” its one word but people prefer to pick it apart, “Lifetime” is the amount of time spent ‘living’ – Not existing- but ‘living’, in Shola’s case he has spent 46 years on earth, but has only lived 20 years of his lifetime. Time on its own, cannot be stopped but “lifetime” can.

If you’re reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave your dreams for later, Relish in your energy, your passions. Don’t be afraid to fail, after all whats the worse that could happen?, If you are waiting for the clouds to open and a trumpet to blow, and then a Morgan Freeman-like voice to speak to you,  then i am afraid you’re in for very long wait. truth is the stars will never align  at the center, you’ll never have all the money and all the time you need to start living, but you just have to start. theres no blueprint or template to help you live your life, after all you are the first and only one who’ll be living it, so make your own mistakes and learn from them, not everyone will ever understand your visions and Ideas, you don’t need everyone, just the few or the one who believe(s) in you.

Shola ended his story with this quote: “I realised I let procrastination and money stop me from pursuing my passions when I was younger, and now I am dead inside, old and tired.”

– based on a true life story.