FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, November 22, 2022
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A LIVING DOG BETTER THAN A DEAD LION

dog is a wild as well as a domestic animal. It has four legs and skin covered with furs. Its tail is very sensible and wags it often to show pleasure or aggression. Its dental formula makes it carnivorous. The domesticated ones live with human beings at home and they are kept for security purposes. Among the white people overseas dogs serve as companions at their homes. Dogs bark and bite intruders. The wild dogs live in forests and they hunt in groups. They are highly carnivorous.

A lion is the king of all animals by might. It is a ferocious wild animal. It descends on preys with its furs. It bites deeply and sucks the blood of its prey before tearing and consuming the flesh. It is merciless. Both domestic and other wild animals are subject to its superior power. Only giant elephants are above its power. But when a lion is dead, it becomes powerless. Here comes the idiomatic expression that a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Now let us delve into the crux of the matter at hand. Human life belongs to God the Creator. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Only God has prerogative over life and death. Therefore, no human being has the right to terminate one's life or the life of others. Human life must be valued and preserved at every stage from conception to death. Frustration, depression and despair often lead to suicide.

Few days ago, a young beautiful lady and staff of the Department of State Services (DSS), by name Adetutu Adedokun, took away her precious life by jumping into the Lagos lagoon. She boarded a taxi cab and was heading towards her destination. As she sat comfortably behind the driver, she received a phone call from her fiancé. Along the line, a heated argument arose between the two love birds. Her temper rose so high. As a result she asked the driver to halt. Hurriedly she opened the cab's door and came down. In a twinkling of an eye, she climbed the rails of the lagoon and plunged herself headlong into the deep lagoon. The cab driver and passersby wondered what might have pushed her into taking such an irredeemable risk. Tongues were wagging since then. Was she under a spell? What might have led the fiancé and fiancée into the heated phone argument? Could it be that her lover disappointed her by cancelling their proposed marriage? Or did he liquidate the fiancé financially and disappeared into oblivion? Even if he did so, was he her only hope? Being so beautiful and employed, other men might have been eager to ask her hand in marriage. No matter the reason for the abrupt taking away of her own life, it is never justifiable. There should have been a way forward, because where there is a will, there is a way. I am highly convinced that there is always hope in hopelessness, since a black hen can lay white eggs. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Adetutu ended her earthly life in the lagoon without thinking twice and confiding in someone. Was she aware that death is not the end of human life, but the end of a new beginning? Death is a transition from mortality to immortality. It is a passage from temporality to eternity. Divine judgment comes after death. What would Adetutu tell God at the judgment seat? She might be wailing and regretting: "Had I known!" The answer she would hear is: "But it is too late."

About three years ago, a brilliant medical doctor, Dr. Allwell, also plunged into the same lagoon after receiving phone call while on transit in his private car with his driver at the steering. He took his own life while his patients were waiting for him to return to his hospital for routine ward-round. Could it be that there is an evil spirit invoking them from the lagoon to be used as sacrifice to demons? If I were a professional diver, I will proceed to the lagoon and dive into it in order to exorcize the evil spirit and chase him away from there. If there is marriage in the world beyond, I hereby recommend that Adetutu and Allwell should tie the knot of matrimony because they are birds of the same feather. The commander-in-chief of evil forces will receive their consent and apportion them a place of dwelling. However, may the merciful God temper justice with mercy on the duo, in case they were out of their senses when they committed the suicide in the lagoon!

A patient dog eats fleshy bones. My Igbo people say, "Kama tabiri jaghee eze, si chere ka o juo oyi." This means that instead of eating hot food and gasping for cool air, it is better to wait for it to cool down. An English adage states that the downfall of a man is not the end of his life. When one door closes, another one opens. The bedbug advised her little ones to exercise patience because what is hot must eventually cool down. Do we not hear that every disappointment is a blessing?

In a letter of appreciation for obtaining spiritual and financial support during his critical health challenge, my secondary school classmate wrote: "Fellow 83 class, please before I go to the place from which I shall not return, let us be prepared always and to be candidates of heaven at last for we are glorified pieces of decorated dust in this strange land (earth planet). We must live our daily lives as if it is our last day on earth because death is a graduation to heaven or gyration to hell. Though the sea still a bit rough for the son of man, but a living dog is better than a dead lion. Finally, thank you all for your brotherly loving kindness of God to me before, now and always." These few statements are weighty and rich food for thought for every mortal. They motivated me into choosing and dwelling on today's pathetic topic. My classmate in question is still battling to survive, yet he understands that human life is not a bed of roses. In the Preface of Requiem Mass, it is categorically stated, "Life (human) is changed but not ended."

As long as we are living in this imperfect world, we should pass through the vicissitudes of life. No condition is permanent. In marriage, couples promise themselves fidelity in good times and in bad times. The same is applicable in our daily living. You can be smiling today while tomorrow sadness becomes your portion. Suffering is part and parcel of humanity. We can never run away from it. Those who say that suffering is not their portion are dreamers. It is my portion and your portion, whether we like it or not. Some pastors preach only the Gospel of prosperity. For them, suffering is a taboo. Jesus Christ the Redeemer saved sinful humanity by his Passion, Crucifixion and Death on the Cross. In other words, he suffered to save us. He made suffering an indispensable condition of being his disciple (Luke 9:23). Let us not despair when the storm of human life kicks against us. Prayer, Patience and Perseverance are the three key words that will keep us going. Suicide is not the answer. God is greater than every problem. Trust in God and confide in someone. A problem shared is a problem halved.

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