Earlier today, I went from Ibadan, Nigeria with my wife on a journey to the Redemption Camp on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. While we were trying to navigate the rotary at Iwo road, heading toward the freeway that leads to Lagos, a heavy truck, on the road in from of me overtook our own vehicle and I could not but notice the man in the passenger seat with his hands stretched out of the window, holding something in position. I looked closely and, to my uttermost shock, he was holding a gallon of diesel fuel, with a hose connecting it to the engine of the tuck in front! I thought only old rickety vehicles that ply remote roads have such gallon in their trunk to limit how much fuel they use while the vehicle is loaned for few hours. For God’s sake, trucks now use five-liter gallons to control and manage fuel too?!
As always, the act is merely the after-effect of a way of thinking. For me, I am mostly drawn to the thought process that produced each action.
It is evident that the driver, using the vehicle, within that hour, does not want to buy too much or too little fuel for the hours within which the vehicle is loaned to him/her. So, he creates an alternative tank, one that is smaller and within his control; he can easily remove it and keep his remaining fuel since he would not like someone else to benefit from his own purchase of fuel, especially since the vehicle does not belong to him or the other drivers who may be using it later. Is this not the same thought process behind what has become our reality in almost every sphere of life? Instead of working together to make the system work well for us all, as designed, in safety and convenience, we would rather retreat to our private tents, in disrupted patterns, with much safety concerns and far from convenient for us.
When we should work together to make our nations great, some would steal commonwealth and secure financial safety for their household elsewhere, while watching the rest of the people suffering the consequences of their actions. When our community facilities should be corporately upgraded, some would prefer to buy SUVs that can navigate the bad roads; sink borehole water systems for their private residences; invest in power generators to power their homes alone, considerate ones would buy sound-proof ones otherwise, they would just pollute the neighborhood with noise without regret. Afterall, these things are government’s responsibilities . . .
The world is full of unfaithful people; so, it is understandable when people find it hard to put their confidence in the prospect of true community. Like a friend recently wrote on his blog, we seem to be comfortable with destroying true community and replacing them with pseudo-communities that are established to serve selfish and personal interests. Still, how much can we possibly achieve in our ‘private tents’?
There would always be covenant-breakers and people who do not understand honor. At the slightest convenience, most people would bypass constituted authority and take laws into their own hands. At the slightest provocation, people will circumvent viable and constructive processes and put everyone else at risk.
So, before you put out your heart on your sleeve, be sure you are dealing with those who understand the delicacy of your heart, who would treat you with value and not just extract value from you. Choose your friends wisely!
We have to come out from our private tents and work together if we must stand against what is coming . . . Our children and posterity are at risk if we would not give up our private sanctuaries for the glory of our cities. In a progressive, perpetual and persuasive way, we must bring down the walls that insecurity and fear have built between us and replace them with bridges of opportunity.
To protect ourselves from what is outside, as a people, we must rebuild our true community walls, seal all the breaches in the wall against incursions; and re-establish the gates that have been broken and burnt down by personal ambition and agenda. We cannot afford to have walls between us, with everyone living in self-imposed ‘prisons’ called homes.
Peace to the righteous.