Uncle Adam, you ate the apple! – 2

George Washington Carver was born to slave parents in Missouri USA, shortly before slavery was abolished in 1865. The name of his parents’ owner was Moses Carver; a surname he was to later adopt. After the abolition of slavery, Moses and his wife raised George as their own son and encouraged him to get some education.

Against all odds and the entrenched prejudice in the system, the former slave boy became educated and went ahead to become one of the most reputable scientists and environmentalists of the 20th century. He is reputed to have given the world over three hundred uses for the peanut. His grass to grace story is an epic proof of the truism that your background must never be a reason for your back to remain on the ground. In his words, “99% of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”

For someone who sprang up from the dehumanizing abyss of slavery to become an accomplished inventor, scientist and environmentalist as well as perhaps the first black American and former slave to be inducted into the prestigious membership of the British Royal School of Arts, he should know!

As she sat before me, the lady tearfully regaled me with stories of woe about how her marriage crashed. She left the marriage with her three children whom she, over a period of several years raised alone without any input or contact with their father. She made sure that she severed every relationship with him and his family. The children were still very young then and only one of them seemed to have a faint recollection of what their father looked like.

When he was in the third year of secondary school, the boy among them suddenly became uncontrollable and openly rebellious. His mother was heartbroken and she needed a way out. That was when her friend asked her to talk to me. After she finished speaking, I calmed her down and gave her what must have been the greatest shocker of her life. Obviously expecting that I would go into a protracted prayer session or prescribe a fast, I simply looked straight into her eyes and said, “Madam, you are responsible for what that boy has become. When you take responsibility and do the needful by letting him know that you are not both father and mother to him, you will see the change you seek.” I simply told her to go and look for her children’s father whichever way she could – she was insistent on the impossibility of doing that and I let her know it was the only way out! – and reconcile him to his children.

She resented the idea and I simply told her to weigh her options. The dejection and disappointment on her face as she left was palpable. I never saw her again. However, a few weeks later, I saw her friend who brought her to me. Her face was lit with excitement as she burst out, “What on earth did you tell my friend to do sir? She wasn’t too happy about it but she did it. Guess what? The boy’s life has witnessed a complete, radical and positive transformation!”

As a pastor and human capital development consultant, I have seen and intervened in several cases of marital crises. Divorce rates are going through the roof than at any other time in human history. In every marital crisis that I have had cause to mediate in, the first person to bring the report always appears to be the victim, even if you later discover that he/she is actually the aggressor or agent provocateur.

Are there areas of your life where you are suffering defeat or feel depressed especially because of outcomes you do not exactly desire? Every single case of depression, with the exception of depression induced by the lack of the “feel-good hormones” dopamine and oxytocin in the system, is product of the sufferer’s response to certain external stimuli viz; events, actions, circumstances, relationship, professional or economic crisis. What many fail to realize is that what happens to you is never as important as what happens IN you. It was neither the crisis nor the relationship that hit the rocks that produced your depression. It was YOUR response to it!

Far too many people are crippled by the bend in the journey that they hardly focus on the end of the journey. When you make the bend the end of the road, weariness sets in, zeal wanes and energy is depleted. You are a victim, not because of what people did to you or refused to do for you but because you are a captive of your own unbridled emotional rollercoaster. You shut yourself in that prison and expect the rest of the world to come in there and give you “support” by bowing before the altar of your ego and roiling with you through what you call “sympathizing with my plight”. When they don’t oblige you, you shut yourself further in. And when they do, you are momentarily happy until they have to leave. Then you revert to status quo ante.

Healing begins when you take RESPONSIBILITY for your emotions and tell yourself that the change you need will not begin with your spouse, your economic circumstance or your social status. It begins IN YOU!

Before my wife’s demise late last year, we had been together in courtship and marriage for a total of 35 years. People who knew us together saw us as friends and a five and six. What many did not know was that the first four or five years of the marriage were very stormy! Either of us could have walked away with adequate justification but for the fact that we both made a commitment at the beginning that we would do whatever it would take to make it work. Growing up in a tumultuous polygamous setting, I made up my mind at an early age that divorce or a broken marriage was not an option I was willing to ever consider. Her background was very similar to mine. So her resolution wasn’t any different. But then, after we got married, we never seemed to agree on anything. It didn’t look like what either of us bargained for. We didn’t do physical violence but we inflicted plenty of emotional violence on each other. We traded blames a lot. Neither of us was willing to admit that he/she was in error. However, we never reported ourselves to anyone, not even our pastor.

I had a habit of quoting the scriptures to make her see my point – and I was being sincere – while she saw it as my copout. “I am sorry” was not a regular feature of our lexicon!

This went on for a protracted period until God directed me to a scripture that changed the course of our marriage forever and turned what started as a cat and mouse marriage to what it was till my wife passed on. I am sure you want to know what that scripture is. Make sure you are on this page next Monday! … continued.

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!


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