Yes, I write this to you, yes you who are reading this. And I write this presently thinking of you as you read this. I wish to speak to you, to your heart, to the very recesses of your being. But to begin I would like to ask a favor of you, only do not refuse me. Pause for a moment and think, how many more years do you have on the surface of this earth? Rather, how many years do you think you have to live? Or better still, how many do you want to live?
A priest had asked this question at a mass I attended in the cool of the evening at a Parish outside my school. Since then that question has left a deep impression upon me. When I was invited to speak to my fellow students from other departments in Church, I did put this question to them as well. This is because in as much as the question sounds so simple it is a very important question that carries on with it deep and very moving thoughts. Thoughts about life itself, about its meaning, about its purpose, about me, about you, and about everyone we see, have seen and will see during the course of this said time. It carries with it a kind of fear, of uncertainty, and more so because what happens after our stay on earth is something entirely not within our grasp. For so long we have been in control only to reach a point where we will not be in control anymore, a point so uncertain that we are not even in control of whether we will still be in control of our existence or not.
Each and every one of us is aware of this thought, no one is oblivious of it. Many of us have tried to run away from it while many of us have embraced it with false hope, at least one that is enough to keep us going. In fact, if you look at the world today, you would see that the generality of people now live in such a way as can be said that they are in flight, a flight from the reality that stirs all of us in the face. People are born before our eyes and people die before our eyes. As we observe this cycle we are constantly reminded that our own lives are headed somewhere, for something that looks like the same fate.
But the truth, dearest friend is that this reality which we face can indeed be one that does not stifle our joy and one where we indeed would enjoy happiness forever. The question is, are you ready to be happy? Are you ready to experience joy? Are you willing to accept love? To ask this question and receive the first answer is to eclipse the true value of its depth. For to come to know joy and happiness while faced with the reality of our being is to realize that we need to cease to be in control, and leave the worries alone. We need to in a way, be in the world, but not of the world. We need to stop being afraid to step into the floorless room that the mystery of reality continually offers us every day. It might look like I am saying difficult things but pause for a moment and ask yourself why exactly you are sad and worried, what care of this world will you carry with you when you leave it that you allow it to starve you of the joy and happiness that each day brings? It was Pope Francis who showed me that the passage of Sirach 14:11, 14 existed in the Bible, that God Our Loving Daddy says to you and to me, ‘My Child, treat yourself as well as you can, don’t deny yourself a single day’s happiness’… more so He goes on to tell us, ‘If there is something you want to do and it is lawful, go ahead!’
To accept love, joy and happiness is to cease to be in control of our lives… I remember he said, ‘whoever loses his life, will find it’ (Matthew 10:39). It is not just to cease to be in control and leave it without control, but to leave the work of that control, that active decision to the one who is love itself, who is over and above all that we can think of and dream of, who is over and above our fears and in whom life itself finds meaning for it is from him that it springs. It sounds so easy but it is indeed a mystery. My priest once told me, that it is like stepping into a floorless room, where we shouldn’t be afraid of falling, because there is no floor, rather like an adventure. To do this, to allow God to love us, to be like Children in this world, where everything that happens, to our pleasure or not, is rather like an adventure, that does not stifle our joy, is really to find the kingdom of God. To be able to wonder and not worry, to be able to live a life that is based upon a surrender to the infinite, to mystery, to God, is to find meaning, is to find happiness, is to stare death in the face and smile, and even laugh. It is not to be afraid to be happy with someone you love, to express your love to someone, to say nice things and not hold them back because of pride, it is to talk freely to people you meet and get to know without hesitation, it is to find fun in working and in stress, because for you, life is so much bigger and is the work of someone who loves you. We should dare to be happy people, that’s what Daddy will be pleased with. There is much to say but I’ll stop here for now…I guess turning 21 two days ago had got to mean something.
From your friend and brother Chibuzor F. Ogamba