For some reason I woke up around 6:00am that Sunday morning. Church wasn’t till later but I knew I had to go out to look for fuel. The heat of the previous day without electricity was almost unbearable and I couldn’t afford a repeat.
Driving around a bit, I finally found a filling station with about 3 cars on the queue. The catch? Well, they were not selling fuel…yet. A tanker had come to discharge fuel and they wouldn’t start selling fuel until it was done. Did you know discharging takes over an hour? Well, now I know.
Rather than sitting in the car doing nothing, I decided to go strike up conversation with those discharging the fuel. As I walked down to the tanks, I couldn’t help but notice the jerrycan queue which was probably longer than the queue for cars. “Oh well, I will leave here one day“, I thought to myself.
I walked up to the tanker and I met Ayobami (got to know his name later) fixing something with the batteries; he was the one who drove the tanker. We struck up conversation, first about the fuel situation and then about life. Out of the blue, Ayobami said to me [in Yoruba], “To become someone great in this life is very difficult“. The default response in my head was, “With God all things are possible” but I didn’t get a chance to say that as our conversation was disrupted by something he had to go attend to.
When he came back, I asked him, “So why did you say that becoming someone great in this life is difficult“? He basically shook his head alluding to the fact that I can’t understand because I was born with a silver spoon*. He said, “People are suffering in this life.” He went on to give me an example, “Do you know there are families in this life, husband, wife, and four children, and all that comes to them in a day is 200 Naira?” 200 Naira? My wife bought 2 packs of plantain chips for 200 Naira on our way to Church that morning. He continued, “For those people, fuel is not even on their mind seeing they can’t afford a generator.”
And then I thought to myself, “Here I am complaining about not having fuel when some people do not even have enough to eat“. It reminded me to give thanks to God, not because I am not those people, but because I am not in the situation those people [currently] are. You see, people are not their situations because situations change. As Pastor Sam Adeyemi will say, the world will try to define you by what you are going through but you are who God says you are irrespective of your present circumstance.
Ayobami reminded me of the things I have to be thankful for but more importantly, he opened my eyes to the suffering around me and fired in me a willingness to help. So today, don’t just be thankful for where you are but also lend a helping hand to someone in need.
* Ayobami assumed that I was born rich because of my present situation. We make such mistakes about people a lot. It may or may not be true but we don’t know the road people have walked so let’s try not to assume.