THE BURDEN

I usually have a hard time coming up with titles, because I write first then think about the title later, which is harder than writing. I know, title has to be catchy, but it’s hard work. So enough said, dig in.

He walks with a smile on his face but out of sight is this burden that threatens to send him under.
What can he do? Who can he run to? Who will understand and give a listening ear?
He, who is the life beat of a party, the supposed ‘happening guy’.
How does he explain that it’s just a facade, a means to hide a pain so deep it consumes him.
He is on the very brink of insanity; peace eludes him.
He knows what madness feels like, not the running in the street kind.
It was the kind that left you bereft of words, it snuck up on you and left you helpless.
The despair follows him into his dreams and sleep offers no comfort.
Life to him has become an endless maze with myriad of twists and turns.
He moves ahead only to meet a brick wall and he questions himself.
What more can he do that he hasn’t done?
Life holds no joy for him and everyday is an up hill battle;
yet he must smile and walk tall with his head, shoulders straight like He has no care in the world for that’s what society expects.
But he is tired of living a lie, a sham.
Pain is etched into his very being.
Every time he remembers, the pain becomes a physical ache and it hurts and yet he smiles.
From where does he begin to explain?
How does he put them into words, when he cannot find a name to give this feeling he feels.
He labours and toils, but there is nothing to show for it.
He has peripheral success but there is no fulfilment, no sense of achievement.
He feels stuck in one place and he thinks to himself that if he were superstitious he would have said someone in his village or his enemies were at work.
He had no enemies to speak of, he was everyone’s go-to guy.
If someone had asked him, he would have said he was loved by all.
Yet there was no one out of the multitude he could talk to, no one that could see beyond the smiles and ‘I am fine’ to a deeper problem.
He has thought of taking his life so many times, simply putting an end to this sham of an existence, something painless and quick.
He thinks of using a gun but his whole being abhorred violence.
May be drugs would do but still he couldn’t bring himself to take that last step.
Thinking of death makes him remember his parents.
Could he do this to them? Could he bring himself to throw their lives into turmoil?
How would they survive? He was their only child.
How would they feel about their son, the apple of their eyes committing suicide.
He could imagine the whisperings of people as they passed by: ” Don’t you know that woman, it was her son that took his own life, he used drugs.”
But damn society, it’s demand for keeping up appearance had brought him to this place where he no longer had an identity.
He could imagine the pain his mother would have to go through. more
Although he knew others had worse problems, he couldn’t bring himself to care.
Empathy had no taste in his mouth.
Death would be better.
He tries to imagine how committing the suicide would look like but something stops him in his track.
He thinks: “where would yonder future find him?”
It’s been ages he last prayed; he couldn’t remember the last time he stepped foot in a church.
He had forgotten God; Life and the pursuit of money had taken priority.
He remembers his mother and all she used to say; it seems a long time now.
She used to tell him of how God was close at hand; of how He was a refuge and a stronghold, a mighty bulwark where his people ran into and felt safe.
He didn’t know what safe meant any longer.
Life had left a sour taste in his mouth and all the booze couldn’t erase the taste.
He decided to give God one more try and pray.
The words sound rusty but he tries.
He says: “I know you listen and I know you see everything. I am weak from fighting this battle on my own. I am depressed and despair has become my middle name. Life has no meaning for me and I think death would be a more preferable fate because I cannot call this thing I am living a life. I move from day to day without hope. I work and toil with nothing to show it. I question why you made me, why you out me in this world and left me to my own devices?”
He wants to speak more but his throat is clogged with tears; tears he had held back for as long as he could remember. He has been too strong for too long and it was finally time to lay it down at the feet of the master.
He picked up a bible and started reading and sees how God asks his people to trust him completely; that he was their healer and strength; that all they needed was the faith of a mustard seed.
He didn’t he could do it; this letting go, this total submission to the will of another. That was what faith demanded of him.
He had tried it his own way for too long and it had gotten him no where. He considered the pros and the cons and decided he really didn’t have much to lose by letting go.
He decided to take a leap of faith and hand over everything to his creator, the one who formed in his mother’s womb and knew him through and through.
Once that decision was made, he felt years lighter. He knew he had made the best decision of his life. He knew he could finally trust Him whose love is forever abundant.

Say NO to insurgency and Yes to a peaceful Nigeria.